Smoked Maple Barbecue Chicken
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- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Smoker Temp: 250°F
- Meat Finish Temp: 165°F
- Recommended Wood: Pecan
- Whole chicken (1 chicken per 3 eaters)
- Maple syrup
- Jeff’s original rub
- Maple barbecue mop sauce (recipe below)
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.
Optional: with the outside of the chicken dried off, place it back in the fridge for 4 hours or even overnight to let the chicken skin dry and tighten up. This seems to help the smoked chicken skin to end up with a better texture. Often I will brine the evening before, remove and rinse before bedtime and place it back in the fridge to dry and tighten overnight. It’ll be ready to season and go on the smoker the next morning.
Pour maple syrup onto the chicken and use a brush to coat the chicken all over.
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.
Ready to go on the smoker now!
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.
Pellet smokers like the Camp Chef Woodwind, also do a great job on chicken.
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 such as the Smoke by ThermoWorks, 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 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
- 4 oz maple syrup
- 2 TBS of Jeff’s original rub
Heat the maple syrup in the microwave then add the rub. Mix well then continuously mix while using.
Simple yet so amazing!
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.
Cooking it hotter than 250°F will also help but you also take the risk of burning the rub and maple syrup.
Enjoy what might be the best chicken you’ve ever eaten!
Smoked Maple Barbecue Chicken
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!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 3 -4
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Hot Smoking
- Whole chicken (((1 chicken per 3 eaters)))
- Maple Syrup
- Jeff’s original rub recipe
- Maple barbecue mop sauce
Step 1: Brine Chicken (optional)
- 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.
- 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.
Step 2: Maple Syrup and Rub
- Pour maple syrup onto the chicken and use a brush to coat the chicken all over.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Make the Maple Barbecue Mop Sauce by mixing 4 oz of maple syrup with 2 heaping tablespoons of Jeff’s original rub.
- After the first hour, begin to apply the maple barbecue mop sauce every 20 minutes.
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.
Order Jeff’s Rubs and Barbecue Sauce!
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I made this recipe for the second time today. It’s a favorite!
Love the website. I have learned sooo much and have accrued some foodie fans along the way!
Hi Jeff, Chicken in the fridge being brined. Want to know how much maple syrup to use tomorrow. BTW I am the hostess with the mostest LOL using your recipes. Thanks for being so clever
Rosalie, I use about ¼ cup on the chicken initially and then another ¼ cup to make the mop sauce to brush on while it cooks. An 8 to 12 oz bottle should be plenty for the whole ordeal. Enjoy!
I will be doing this chicken recipe soon! I really enjoy reading your posts and apply the info to my smoking and grilling adventures. I would like to add comments regarding the brine recipe. We do a traditional stuffed turkey cooked breast-side down in a bag with wonderful results and comments. I have been brining our Thanksgiving turkeys for quite a few years and have to suggest a few additions. I use good warm water to dissolve the salt and brown sugar. I add peppercorns (2-3 Tbsp. for a medium turkey, 1 Tbsp. for a chicken), crushed garlic (as many cloves as you want but about 5-6 for turkey, 2 for a chicken), bay leaves (2-3 for turkey, 1+ for chicken) and thinly sliced onion (you decide, a couple slides for anything). I combine everything and then add water to cover the target. Then I add ice cubes to cool the whole thing down. I brine overnight. The results are wonderful with hints of seasonings penetrating our turkey but not overpowering it. I think the maple staple to glue Jeff’s rub will make a wonderful chicken!!
I will be trying this out very soon ,all of your receipes are fabulous.I look forward to all the receipes you share!
I’m smoking a spatchcocked chicken in Masterbuilt electric smoker using your Smoked Maple Barbecue Chicken recipe.Would this be smoked skin side down as mentioned in your fine recipe?
If spatchcocked, place it skin side UP on the smoker grate.
Love this sight and recipes. I use an old side fire box smoker and I’m wondering how long should I wait after I get heat started in the smoker before I put the meat on the smoker, because I seem to get a little of the creosote taste here recently. I use the minion method with basket and I usually wait til the temp drops to 250 or so,it takes a little longer in that smoker
I would think It needs to be hotter to not have that creosote taste. Don’t rush it
I made maple glazed chicken last weekend and it was amazing.Think it was the best chicken i have ever ate. Thanks 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!
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!
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!
Sounds like a great recipe. Just curious why you choose to cook it breast side down?
Need to install the cooking app , used to have it , have ordered recipes in past .
I’m going to try this on Saturday. Have you ever tried stuffing the chicken with anything?
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.
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.
Anytime I mention “my rub”, “Jeff’s rub”, “the rub” or the “original rub”, I am referring to the Jeff’s Naked Rib Rub. It is the main one and is good on just about everything.
The Jeff’s Texas style rub is also very good but is savory only (no sugar involved) and is best on beef and seafood.
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!
Do you have any info on smoking with corn cobs – I’m intrigued – thank you
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?
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
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?
I did this exact same recipe with a turkey this past Thanksgiving and it went over really well. You can see that recipe HERE