How to Smoke Chicken in an Electric Smoker

Are you craving tender, smoky chicken that falls right off the bone? Look no further than your trusty electric smoker. In just a few simple steps, you can achieve the perfect balance of flavor and juiciness. Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a novice in the world of smoking, this article will guide you through the process with expert tips and tricks. Get ready to impress your friends and family with mouthwatering chicken that will make you feel like part of the BBQ aficionado club.

Choosing the Right Electric Smoker

When choosing the right electric smoker, you should look for one that has adjustable temperature settings and a large cooking capacity. These features are essential to ensure that your chicken is cooked perfectly every time. The adjustable temperature settings allow you to control the heat inside the smoker, ensuring that your chicken is cooked to perfection without drying it out or undercooking it. A large cooking capacity is also important as it allows you to smoke multiple chickens at once, which is great for gatherings or parties. Additionally, when choosing the best electric smoker, consider its durability and ease of use. Look for a smoker with easy-to-read controls and a sturdy construction that will last for years of delicious smoked chicken meals.

Preparing the Chicken for Smoking

When it comes to preparing the chicken for smoking, there are two key points you need to keep in mind: brining for flavor and trimming excess skin. Brining is a technique that involves soaking the chicken in a solution of water, salt, and other seasonings to enhance its taste and juiciness. Trimming excess skin not only improves the overall appearance of the smoked chicken but also helps prevent flare-ups during cooking.

Brining for Flavor

To enhance the flavor of your smoked chicken, try brining it in a flavorful mixture before cooking. Brining is a technique that involves soaking the chicken in a saltwater solution, which helps to tenderize the meat and infuse it with delicious flavors. There are various brining techniques you can use, depending on your preference and the flavors you want to impart. For example, you can create a basic brine using water, salt, sugar, and spices like garlic and black pepper. Alternatively, you can experiment with different brine flavors by adding ingredients such as herbs, citrus fruits, or even beer. The key is to let the chicken soak in the brine for at least a few hours or overnight to allow the flavors to penetrate deeply into the meat.

Trimming Excess Skin

If you want to remove any excess skin from your smoked chicken, start by trimming it off with a sharp knife. This step is important because excess skin can prevent the smoke and seasonings from penetrating the meat, resulting in an uneven flavor and texture. To ensure a smooth and even removal of the skin, follow these trimming techniques:

  1. Begin by locating the areas where there is an excessive amount of loose or flabby skin.
  2. Hold the chicken firmly with one hand while using the other hand to carefully slide the knife under the excess skin.
  3. Gently pull back on the skin as you slice through it, keeping your movements controlled and steady.
  4. Continue this process until all visible excess skin has been removed.

Brining the Chicken for Extra Flavor

When it comes to enhancing the flavor of your chicken, brining is the way to go. By soaking the chicken in a saltwater solution, you allow the flavors to penetrate deep into the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and moist end product. The benefits of chicken brining are numerous – from tenderizing the meat to adding extra juiciness, it’s a technique that every experienced cook should have in their arsenal.

Brining Enhances Chicken Flavor

Start by brining your chicken to enhance its flavor before smoking it in the electric smoker. Brining is a technique that involves soaking the chicken in a saltwater solution, which helps to infuse the meat with moisture and seasoning. There are different brining techniques you can try, each offering its own benefits:

  1. Wet Brine: This method involves submerging the chicken in a mixture of water, salt, sugar, and spices for several hours. It adds moisture and imparts flavors into the meat.

  2. Dry Brine: Instead of using a liquid solution, dry brining involves rubbing the chicken with a mixture of salt and spices and letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight. It draws out moisture while intensifying flavors.

  3. Injection Brine: This technique requires injecting a seasoned liquid directly into the chicken’s meat using a syringe-like tool. It ensures even distribution of flavors throughout.

  4. Buttermilk Brine: Soaking the chicken in buttermilk overnight tenderizes the meat while adding tanginess and depth to its taste.

Benefits of Chicken Brining

One of the benefits of brining your chicken is that it helps to infuse the meat with moisture and seasoning. By soaking your chicken in a mixture of salt, sugar, and water, you create an environment where the flavors can penetrate deep into the meat. This results in a juicier and more flavorful final product. Another advantage of brining is that it helps to tenderize tougher cuts of chicken, making them more enjoyable to eat. To achieve the best results when brining, it’s important to use the right technique. Start by dissolving salt and sugar in water until fully dissolved. Then submerge your chicken in the brine solution for a specific amount of time based on its size. This method ensures even distribution of flavors and moisture throughout the meat, guaranteeing a succulent and delicious outcome every time you smoke your chicken.

Seasoning the Chicken for Smoking

To get the best flavor, it’s important to properly season the chicken before smoking it in an electric smoker. Here are some seasoning techniques and marinating options that will elevate your smoked chicken game:

  1. Dry Rub: Create a flavorful blend of spices like paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Massage the dry rub into the chicken to infuse it with delicious flavors.

  2. Wet Marinade: Combine ingredients like soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, and spices to create a marinade. Let the chicken soak in this mixture for a few hours or overnight for maximum flavor penetration.

  3. Brine: Soaking the chicken in a brine solution of water, salt, sugar, and other aromatics helps to tenderize the meat while enhancing its natural juiciness.

  4. Injection: Use a marinade injector to inject flavors directly into the meat. This method ensures that every bite is bursting with deliciousness.

Preheating the Electric Smoker

Make sure you preheat your smoker to the desired temperature before placing the seasoned chicken inside. Preheating is a crucial step in achieving perfectly smoked chicken. To ensure even cooking and delicious flavor, it’s important to follow some preheating techniques. First, start by cleaning your electric smoker thoroughly, removing any leftover debris from previous use. Next, add the best wood chips for smoking chicken, such as apple or hickory, to enhance the taste. Once you’ve added the wood chips, set the temperature according to your recipe or preference. It’s recommended to preheat at around 225°F (107°C) for tender and juicy results. Give your smoker enough time to reach this temperature before adding the chicken. This will allow for consistent heat distribution throughout the cooking process and guarantee a mouthwatering outcome that everyone will love.

Smoking the Chicken at the Right Temperature

Now that your electric smoker is preheated and ready to go, it’s time to move on to the next step in achieving juicy, flavorful smoked chicken. Smoking the chicken at the right temperature is crucial for ensuring that it cooks evenly and retains its moisture. Here are some key tips for getting it just right:

  1. Set the temperature: Adjust your electric smoker’s temperature to around 225°F (107°C) for smoking chicken. This low and slow cooking method will allow the flavors to develop while keeping the meat tender.

  2. Use a thermometer: Invest in a good quality digital meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the chicken as it smokes. Aim for an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) at the thickest part of the meat.

  3. Maintain consistency: Throughout the smoking process, try to keep a consistent temperature inside your electric smoker by monitoring it regularly and making adjustments as needed.

  4. Consider adding wood chips: To enhance the smoky flavor, you can add soaked wood chips or chunks into your smoker box or tray. Experiment with different types of woods like hickory, applewood, or mesquite for unique flavors.

Adding Wood Chips for Smoky Flavor

Don’t forget to add soaked wood chips or chunks to your smoker box for a smoky flavor. When it comes to smoking chicken in an electric smoker, the type of wood chip you choose can make all the difference. There are various wood chip varieties available, each offering its own unique flavor profile. Popular options include hickory, apple, cherry, and mesquite. Soaking your wood chips before using them is crucial for achieving that perfect smoky taste. By soaking the chips in water for at least 30 minutes prior to smoking, you ensure that they burn slowly and release a steady stream of flavorful smoke throughout the cooking process. Remember, when it comes to smoking chicken, the right choice of wood chips and proper soaking technique can elevate your dish from ordinary to extraordinary.

Monitoring and Testing the Chicken for Doneness

To ensure your chicken is cooked to perfection, you’ll want to use a meat thermometer to monitor its internal temperature. Testing doneness is crucial in achieving juicy and safe-to-eat smoked chicken. Here are four steps to follow when using a meat thermometer:

  1. Insert the probe: Gently insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken without touching the bone.
  2. Wait for accurate reading: Leave the thermometer in place for a few seconds until it stabilizes and provides an accurate temperature reading.
  3. Check for doneness: The USDA recommends cooking poultry, including chicken, to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure it is safe to eat.
  4. Test multiple areas: To ensure all parts of the chicken are cooked evenly, test different areas with the meat thermometer.


You’ve successfully smoked your chicken in an electric smoker! Congratulations on a job well done. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ve achieved a mouthwatering and flavorful result. The aroma of smoky goodness that filled your kitchen was simply irresistible. Your taste buds will explode with joy as you take that first succulent bite. You are now a master at smoking chicken, ready to impress your friends and family with your culinary expertise. Enjoy the deliciousness and revel in your newfound skills!

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