This Cajun Smoked Chicken Recipe uses an electric smoker to slow cook dry rubbed chicken. No brine needed. Tender and perfectly cooked every time!
We got a smoker! My husband is in food heaven. He is pretty obsessed with BBQ meats and smoked foods and has been wanting a smoker for years. It is literally his new favorite cooking appliance and he wants to smoke everything.
When we first got it, we were determined to make a brisket but after talking it to death, we decided we should test it out on classic smoked chicken – sort of like the equivalent of mastering roasted chicken in the oven.
Then, it was brine or no brine? Dry rub or marinade? Cook directly on the rack or use a tray? So many decisions! Of course we tested a bunch of variations and this is our foolproof How To Smoke a Chicken tutorial for all of you who have or are considering getting an electric smoker. We got this one from Char-Broil and it has a remote control that alerts you when the desired temperature is reached. It’s handy, super hands-off and really easy to use!
So, some tips from our testing:
- You do not *need* to brine the chicken. You can but the difference in taste and texture is negligible compared to the mess and pre-planning needed to manage the brine.
- Dry rubs are a lot easier to manage. Marinades work but be prepared for a lot more cleanup (see a theme here?). I used Black Magic by Spiceologist. It is a Cajun spice rub and free from junk as well as sugar! It’s reaallllllyyyyyy good!
- Start with a more mild wood – we settled on Apple Wood Chips and it imparts a wonderful flavor without being overwhelming.
- Spatchcocking the chicken really saves time and renders a better finished product. I briefly explain How To Spatchcock a Chicken below in the recipe but if you want a more in-depth tutorial, I like this one by Jamie Oliver.
- Cook directly on the rack. Just be sure to remove any racks not in use to save them from getting drippings and needing to be cleaned.
- Don’t forget to fill the water bin! This helps keep the bird nice and juicy.
Alyssa Brantley | EverydayMaven
10 minPrep Time
4 hrCook Time
4 hr, 10 Total Time
- 1 (4 1/2 to 5 pound) whole chicken, spatchcocked
- 1 large handful cajun spice mix
- Kitchen Shears
- Apple wood chips
- Digital Electric Smoker
- Begin by grabbing the whole chicken, kitchen shears, paper towels and spice rub.
- Turn chicken over so breast side is down. Use kitchen shears to cut along each side of spine to remove backbone. Reserve backbone for making broth or stock.
- Turn chicken back over so that breast-side is up and press breasts until you hear wishbone crack so that the chicken is flat. Turn legs in.
- Use paper towels to blot the chicken dry.
- Grab a large handful of cajun spice mix and spread onto both sides of chicken until well coated. For reference, I used a small jar of Black Magic (which is a little over 1oz) and used about half of the jar.
- Place spiced chicken, breast side up, on smoker cooking rack. Insert thermometer into thickest part of chicken, taking care not to touch bone, and set inside of smoker.
- Fill wood chip holder with apple wood chips.
- Fill water container with water. Close door, lock and set to 165F. Cooking time is approximately 20 to 30 minutes per pound.
- Cook undisturbed until temperature alarm beeps on remote. Remove, allow to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Slice, serve and Enjoy!