Smoked Whole Chicken

Brine:

1 gallon water

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup kosher salt

3 bay leaves

Chicken:

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 lime, zested and juiced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder 

1 (4 to 5 pound) roasting chicken

 

To make the brine: fill a large pot with 1 gallon of warm water, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup kosher salt, and 3 bay leaves. Stir to dissolve. Allow the liquid to cool, then add the whole chicken. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours but up to 24 hours.

 

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lime zest, lemon zest, salt, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder. 

 

Pat the chicken completely dry inside and out, then rub the oil mixture all over the chicken, making sure to get under the skin and inside the cavity of the chicken. Tie the legs together using kitchen twine. Allow to rest in the rub at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, while the smoker preheats.

 

Preheat the smoker to 225°F, preferably using applewood chips. Place the chicken directly on the grill, breast side up, and tuck the wing tips under the chicken. 

 

For an extra smoky chicken: cook at 225°F for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until an internal thermometer reads 160°F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast.

 

For a lightly smoked chicken: cook at 225°F for 1 hour, then increase the heat to 375°F and continue cooking for about 1 hour, or until an internal thermometer reads 160°F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast. 

 

Transfer the chicken to a carving board and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.