What Temperature Do You Cook Chicken on a Pellet Grill?

What Temperature Do You Cook Chicken on a Pellet Grill?

By: Brisk It Culinary Team

What Temperature Do You Cook Chicken on a Pellet Grill?


Chicken; it's a classic American food. Baked, steamed, grilled, or fried, there are limitless ways to cook this versatile and delicious bird. But as every grill-enthusiasts and master chef knows, the best way to prepare a chicken is to smoke it on a wood pellet grill. This cooking method can produce some chef-quality results for even our newbie grillers. 

One thing everyone new to the grilling game asks is, “What temperature should I cook my chicken?” Based on how you’re preparing chicken on a grill or smoker, the answer might vary. Here’s your guide to preparing chicken on a wood pellet grill just in time for your next backyard barbecue.

Smoked Chicken On A Wood Pellet Grill: A Delicious Twist On A Barbecue Classic

If you've never done it before, smoking a whole chicken can feel a bit overwhelming. As a result, some may be tempted to fall back on tried-and-true methods like grilling or sautéing. But smoking is worth the extra effort. 

By cooking at a lower temperature for longer, smoking ensures your bird is juicy with rich layers of flavor from the wood smoke and your selection of delicious spices and seasonings. The smoke also creates a unique textural experience, with the crispy, highly seasoned skin contrasting with the tender, juicy interior. 

Grilling a chicken may be a bit faster for rushed last-minute meals. But with a bit of preparation, smoking can be just as easy and versatile as any method, and even more delicious.

What's the Best Temperature for Smoking a Whole Chicken?

As anyone who's ever cooked a chicken or turkey in the oven knows, parts of the breast are usually long past done by the time the dark meat on the legs and thighs reaches a safe and proper temperature. Because you're forced to stick with one temperature for all of the meat, the “doneness” of the bird can vary. 

In an attempt to prepare a perfectly smoked whole chicken, shoot for temperatures between 225 degrees Fahrenheit to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Some methods (including the Brisk It Grills smoked chicken recipe) start lower (225 or 250 degrees) and later raise the temperature to finish the bird and crisp the skin. If you're just smoking one part of the chicken (for example, legs, thighs, or breasts), try out our smoked chicken legs recipe, you can be more precise and tailor your temperature to your cut of meat. 

The most critical temperature is the one the chicken reaches before serving. This should be about 165 degrees Fahrenheit, which is considered safe from common foodborne illnesses.

How Long To Smoke a Whole Chicken on a Wood Pellet Grill?

Now that you've got your pellet grill up to temperature, you might be wondering exactly how long to smoke a whole chicken. This may vary a bit depending on the size of your chicken, but will generally take between two and three hours. The method of preparation also matters, with spatchcocked chickens (those with the backbone removed so they can lie flat) which cook faster than unaltered whole chickens. 

Most individual cuts of chicken will need slightly less time, with wings, breasts, and things potentially requiring as little as an hour to an hour and a half. Again, the most vital thing to consider is the internal temperature. No matter how long it's been on the grill or smoker, it's not safe to eat until it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit inside.

The Brisk It Smart Grill Is the Key to Perfect Smoked Chicken

There's no better way to cook smoked chicken than on a Brisk It pellet grill. With our smart grill technology, easily maintain the proper temperature throughout your entire cook. This is crucial to the quality of your chicken and also your safety, eliminating the risk of sickness from undercooked chicken. Just set the time and temperature, and let Brisk It do the work while you relax. After a couple of hours, you will return to your grill and within it a perfectly cooked yet still incredibly juicy chicken will be waiting for you.

For more recipes to test for your next cookout, check out our library of recipes for pellet grills. So, grab your thermometer, spatula, and a freshly seasoned whole chicken and get to grilling!