Many of you raved about the smoked maple barbecue bird from this past November.. now, to wow you again, we are using a similar process on a whole smoked chicken. This smoked maple barbecue chicken is amazing beyond words!

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Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 250°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 165°F
  • Recommended Wood: Pecan
What You'll Need

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recipe-ad-rubAs with many of my recipes, the original rub is the main character in creating the amazing flavor on the outside of this chicken. Maple syrup is used to help the rub to stick to the chicken before it goes on the smoker. Additionally, the rub is mixed with some maple syrup and used as a basting sauce while the chicken is cooking on the smoker for that perfect finish that you have come to expect from my recipes.

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Step 1: Brine Chicken (optional)

Brining the chicken is completely optional but it's easy to do if you want to ensure that the finished product is flavorful and as juicy and moist as it can be.

Brining is simply soaking the meat in a saltwater solution for x amount of hours. During this time the salt is drawn into the meat along with some of the flavor that is in the water.

The ratio of salt to water that I recommend is 1 cup coarse kosher salt  to 1 gallon of water.

A typical recipe for 1 gallon of brine would be as follows:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 cup of coarse kosher salt
  • 1 cup of brown sugar

Add the salt to the water and stir until the salt is dissolved and the water returns to clear. Add the brown sugar and stir to mix it into the water.

Place the chicken into a food safe plastic or glass bowl and pour the brine over the chicken to cover. You can also use a large zip top bag.

Close or cover the container and place it in the fridge for about 4 hours.

After the brining has finished, rinse the outside of the chicken with cold water to remove any residual salt.

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Step 2: Maple Syrup and Rub

Pour maple syrup onto the chicken and use a brush to coat the chicken all over.

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Sprinkle Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) all over the top, sides and bottom of the chicken making sure to get the rub down in all of the hard to reach spots.

It is also a good idea to get some of the maple syrup and rub down under the skin wherever you can.

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Ready to go on the smoker now!

Step 3: Smoke the Chicken

Set up your smoker for cooking at 250°F if possible. Some smokers will not cook this hot so a lower temperature will work but it will require a longer cook time for the chicken to get done.

Be sure to set up non-conventional smokers such as Kamado, Charcoal/Gas grills, fire pits, etc. for indirect cooking. This just means to make sure the heat is not directly under the meat.

In a 3-burner gas grill you might turn on a burner on each side and place the chicken over the middle (unlit) burner. In a charcoal grill or fire pit, you would place the charcoal on one side or on both sides and leave an area in the center open with no charcoal.

Most Kamado cookers have a way to make them indirect. The Big Green Egg, for instance, uses a place setter to force the heat to come up the sides of the cooker.

Regardless of what you  have to do to create that indirect cooking method, this setup is important for all meat smoking. Most conventional electric, gas, charcoal and wood smokers are already set up this way by design.

Once the smoker is ready, place the chicken on the grate breast side down.

In gas, electric, charcoal and non-conventional cookers, apply smoke (I recommend pecan for this recipe) for the entire time the chicken is cooking. The skin does a great job of protecting the meat from the smoke and just enough gets through to make it deliciously smoky.

My 4 lb chicken took about 2 hours and 10 minutes to reach 165°F. Times will vary from cooker to cooker so be sure to let the internal temperature of the chicken decide when it's done.

Use a digital probe meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh or breast to monitor the meat temperature while it cooks. You can also check the temperature with a super fast Thermapan when you baste. With the Thermapen, you can get an accurate reading in around 2-3 seconds.

After the first hour, begin to apply the maple barbecue mop sauce every 20 minutes (recipe below):

Maple Barbecue Mop Sauce

Heat the maple syrup in the microwave then add the rub. Mix well then continuously mix while using.

Simple yet so amazing!

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Step 4: Finished

Once the chicken reaches 165°F it is done cooking and should be removed from the smoker. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes or so before carving to allow the juices to cool down a little and redistribute throughout the meat.

Cooking the chicken at 250°F, the chicken skin should have decent bite through but it will not be crispy like fried chicken.

To help the skin to end up with better bite through, you can sit the chicken uncovered in the fridge for a couple of hours after brining and before seasoning. This allows the skin to dry out before placing it in the smoker.

Cooking it hotter than 250°F will also help but you also take the risk of burning the rub and maple syrup.

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Enjoy what might be the best chicken you've ever eaten!

Get the Digital Recipes for Jeff's Rub and Sauce
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***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!

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Read these recent testimonies:

"Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well!" ~Peter S.
"I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while." ~Darwyn B.
"Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future!" ~Michelle M.

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Printable Recipe

5.0 from 2 reviews
Smoked Maple Barbecue Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Many of you raved about the smoked maple barbecue bird from this past November.. now, to wow you again, we are using a similar process on a whole smoked chicken. This smoked maple barbecue chicken is amazing beyond words!
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Hot Smoking
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
Instructions
Step 1: Brine Chicken (optional)
  1. Add 1 cup of coarse kosher salt to 1 gallon of water and stir until the salt is dissolved and the water returns to clear. Add 1 cup of brown sugar and stir to mix it into the water.
  2. Place the chicken into a food safe plastic or glass bowl and pour the brine over the chicken to cover. You can also use a large zip top bag.
  3. Close or cover the container and place it in the fridge for about 4 hours.
  4. After the brining has finished, rinse the outside of the chicken with cold water to remove any residual salt.
Step 2: Maple Syrup and Rub
  1. Pour maple syrup onto the chicken and use a brush to coat the chicken all over.
  2. Sprinkle Jeff’s original rub all over the top, sides and bottom of the chicken making sure to get the rub down in all of the hard to reach spots. It is also a good idea to get some of the maple syrup and rub down under the skin wherever you can.
Step 3: Smoke the Chicken
  1. Set up your smoker for cooking at 250°F if possible. Some smokers will not cook this hot so a lower temperature will work but it will require a longer cook time for the chicken to get done.
  2. Once the smoker is ready, place the chicken on the grate breast side down.
  3. In gas, electric, charcoal and non-conventional cookers, apply smoke (I recommend pecan for this recipe) for the entire time the chicken is cooking. The skin does a great job of protecting the meat from the smoke and just enough gets through to make it deliciously smoky.
  4. My 4 lb chicken took about 2 hours and 10 minutes to reach 165°F. Times will vary from cooker to cooker so be sure to let the internal temperature of the chicken decide when it’s done.
  5. Use a digital probe meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh or breast to monitor the meat temperature while it cooks. You can also check the temperature with a super fast Thermapan when you baste. With the Thermapen, you can get an accurate reading in around 2-3 seconds.
  6. Make the Maple Barbecue Mop Sauce by mixing 4 oz of maple syrup with 2 heaping tablespoons of Jeff's original rub.
  7. After the first hour, begin to apply the maple barbecue mop sauce every 20 minutes.
Step 4: Finished
  1. Once the chicken reaches 165°F it is done cooking and should be removed from the smoker. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes or so before carving to allow the juices to cool down a little and redistribute throughout the meat.
 

About the Author

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!

15 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Tim January 15, 2017 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    Jeff,
    Love the site and just purchased the recipes for the best rub ever! I tried the smoked maple BBQ chicken today and struggled to keep my egg below 265-70. With that said I assumed the cook would have been shorter since I was up near 280-85 at times…. but ended up at over 3 hours with 4lb chicken. The end result was still amazing and the best chicken I’ve ever had. I brined for 4 hours as well. Any idea as to why my cook was over 3 hours? I am using an XL green egg.

    Thanks for the great recipes!

  2. Jeff November 27, 2016 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Just finished enjoying this recipe. Really was the best chicken I have ever had. The family also agreed. Follow Jeff’s tip to let the chicken sit uncovered in the fridge to let the skin dry. I skipped this part and that was the only thing that kept this from being a perfect cook. Skin just needed a little bit more crisp to it. Weber Smokey Mountain 18″ did this cook right at 2 hours maintaining the 250 temp. Keep up the great work Jeff. I’m sending as many folks to you as I can!

  3. cg August 14, 2016 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    I’ve tried stuff from other websites, but yours has always been right on time. I tried this Smoked Maple BBQ Chicken a couple of weeks ago and my family & I couldn’t stop lickin’ out fingers. I tweeked the brine and the rub (added ghost pepper salt in addition to a couple of other things) and added a little heat and cane sugar syrup to the baste. Also did it with a small rack of lamb. Outstanding!. You have a follower for life. Looking forward to trying your other recipes!

  4. Dale August 11, 2016 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    Sounds like a great recipe. Just curious why you choose to cook it breast side down?

  5. Larry thornton July 4, 2016 at 9:08 am - Reply

    Need to install the cooking app , used to have it , have ordered recipes in past .

  6. Carl80 June 21, 2016 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    I’m going to try this on Saturday. Have you ever tried stuffing the chicken with anything?

    • Jeff Phillips June 21, 2016 at 8:17 pm - Reply

      I have used small onions, carrots, apples herbs, etc. but you want to make sure that the heat and smoke can get into the cavity so it can cook from the inside as well as the outside. In low temperature cooking, this is important.

  7. Elaine October 14, 2015 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    I just bought the rub and sauce recipes and was wondering which rub do you mean when you say original. Is it the rib rub or the Texas rub. I want to make the Maple Chicken.

    Thanks,
    Elaine

  8. John August 24, 2015 at 6:57 am - Reply

    Jeff,
    I received an electric smoker for Father’s day last year and immediately started following you. Love the rubs, and the incredible insight, tips, and recipes. The Maple Chicken was incredible! I brined it for a day and a half along with thighs and drumsticks, and tried a variety of rubs on those pieces. All turned out great! The Maple chicken stayed moist as leftovers for four days. As I write this, I’m trying my very first 9 lbs. Brisket. Hoping for the best!
    Thanks for what you do!
    John
    In Minnesota!

  9. Danny July 10, 2015 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Do you have any info on smoking with corn cobs – I’m intrigued – thank you

  10. Chris Gretschel July 9, 2015 at 9:16 am - Reply

    Thanks Jeff. This looks great. If I’m smoking these birds on a Weber Smokey Mountain, should I fill the water bowl or leave it empty?

    • sr smokesalote June 2, 2016 at 1:19 pm - Reply

      How ever you really want,try both see which you prefer best imo, it’ll be easier to keep temps down with water in. I personally on my wsm use lil bit of water to start off low and slow like supposedly tru BBQ style,then like half way thru i crank up the heat/helps crisp skin and cuts down on time,water and fats usally are all evaporated or close to by time meats are done meats done. But then again that’s just me, after some yrs of smoking that’s my usual route and what works for my family and I. You can also use other things besides water if you’d like but that’s a story for another day… Good luck and don’t forget to wrap your chicken with aluminum or put into the smallest pot it can fit into covered and try wait at least 20 min before carving the bird starts to cool off around 40 min

  11. Linda July 9, 2015 at 7:45 am - Reply

    I have watched your site grow for several years. Enjoy it yummm. Now the maple smoked chicken is kick’n. Have you tried this with a turkey? Not sure how long it would take to smoke?

    • Jeff Phillips July 10, 2015 at 11:09 am - Reply

      I did this exact same recipe with a turkey this past Thanksgiving and it went over really well. You can see that recipe HERE

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