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Herb Butter Smoked Chicken

Herb Butter Smoked Chicken is one of the most flavorful and delicious meals you can make on the grill! We brined a whole chicken and then rubbed it down with garlic and herb butter then grilled it to perfection! Great for a weeknight dinner or to make ahead for meal prep. 

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Herb Butter Smoked Chicken

Once we figured out how to brine and smoke a whole chicken, I have not bought another rotisserie chicken from the deli. It’s so simple to smoke whole chickens on the grill and we love to do them two at a time. The chicken turns out tender, juicy and so flavorful. 

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Herb Butter Smoked Chicken

How to Grill Herb Butter Smoked Chicken:

Brine for whole chicken

  • Add about 4 quarts of warm water to a deep pan. Stir in kosher salt, sliced garlic cloves, peppercorns and about 1/2 of a lemon. 
  • Place chicken in brine and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 3 hours. 
  • Drain well and pat dry with paper towels, inside and out. 
  • Prepare a grill fire to about 300° with oak, hickory or pecan for smoke flavor. We used oak this time. 

Butter, garlic, rosemary for smoked chicken

  • Mix herb butter together by combining softened butter, dijon mustard, minced garlic, rosemary,  brown sugar and salt.

Herb Butter rubbed whole chicken

  • Carefully separate the skin from the breast and rub about 1 tablespoon of butter mixture under the skin. Rub another tablespoon into the cavity. 
  • Melt the herb butter in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Brush all over outside of the chicken. 
  • Tie the legs together with butcher twine. 

How to grill a whole chicken

  • Place chicken over indirect fire and close the grill lid. 

Whole Smoked Chicken

  • Cook for about an hour to hour and a half until internal temperature reaches 165°near the thickest part of the the thigh but not touching the bone. 

Whole Smoked chicken with lemon and rosemary

  • Let chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving. 

We served this herb butter smoked chicken with a simple Rice Pilaf and a green salad. We had a bit leftover and made chicken salads out of them the next day and it was just as delicious.

Sliced smoked chicken with rice pilaf

Why Smoke a Whole Chicken?

This is my absolute favorite way to cook whole chickens. It is seriously just as easy to cook two as it is one. You have the fire built and there’s plenty of room on the grill for two. 

It is a great way to meal prep for the week. There’s limitless recipes you can make with a whole chicken so it won’t seem like you are eating leftovers. Just think of it the same way you would a rotisserie chicken from the store – just way more delicious!

Whole chickens make a budget friendly dinner. I find them on sale regularly and buy a couple at a time to have in the freezer. I usually thaw them in the refrigerator for a day or two before we plan to grill. 

Smoked Butter & Herb Chicken

You might also like this Grilled Italian Chicken made with boneless, skinless chicken breasts that are stuffed with bacon!

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Tips for Smoking Chicken:

  • Brining the chicken makes a huge difference in keeping the chicken tender and juicy while grilling. It’s worth the extra step, even if it’s just for an hour. I find that going longer than 4 hours makes the chicken a little salty. 
  • Pat the chicken as dry as you can so that the herb butter will adhere to the chicken before grilling. 
  • Use a digital thermometer to test the internal temperature so that you can be sure your chicken is thoroughly cooked but not over cooked and dry.
  • Save your chicken carcass to make homemade stock. It’s so simple and is easy to store in the freezer, plus it’s great for stretching your grocery budget!

How to Store and Reheat:

  • If you are making an extra chicken or have leftovers, place chicken on a pie plate or small baking pan and wrap tight with plastic wrap. 
  • You can also remove all of the meat from the bones and store in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 

Must Try Grilled Chicken Recipes

Must try grilled chicken recipes for any night of the week. Family favorite dinner ideas that you can make on your back yard grill.

Serve your smoked chicken with Rice Pilaf, Bean and Barley Salad or creamy mashed potatoes. My kids love this Bacon White Cheddar Corn and you can always add an easy green salad and garlic bread to complete your dinner. 

Sliced butter & herb chicken over rice pilaf

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Yield: 6 servings

Herb Butter Smoked Chicken

Herb Butter Smoked Chicken

Herb Butter Smoked Chicken is one of the most flavorful and delicious meals you can make on the grill! We brined a whole chicken and then rubbed it down with garlic and herb butter then grilled it to perfection! Great for a weeknight dinner or to make ahead for meal prep. 

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 2 hours 2 seconds
Total Time 3 hours 2 seconds

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken

for the brine:

  • 4 quarts warm water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced

for the herb butter:

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Mix brine by combining warm water, salt, peppercorns, garlic and lemons.
    Submerge chicken in water. Cover and refrigerate 1 - 3 hours.
  2. Drain chicken well and pat completely dry with paper towels on the inside and out.
  3. Prepare a grill fire to 300° with oak, hickory or pecan for smoke flavor.
  4. Mix herb butter together by combining softened butter, dijon mustard, rosemary, garlic and salt.
  5. Carefully rub about a tablespoon of herb butter under the skin and over the breast. Rub a tablespoon up into the cavity.
  6. Melt the remaining herb butter and brush all over chicken skin.
  7. Place chicken over indirect fire and close the grill lid.
  8. Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until internal temperature reaches 165° near the thickest part of the thigh but not touching the bone.
  9. Allow chicken to rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Notes

Double recipe to make 2 chickens.

Store leftovers wrapped tightly in plastic wrap up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 316Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 302mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 28g

Nutritional calculations are estimated and may not be accurate.

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4 Comments

  1. Try the dry brine method also. Liberally sprinkle Kosher Salt all over the bird and under the skin. I put the bird in the fridge all night and the next day I rinse off the bird. Pat dry, coat the chicken with a light coat of Olive Oil so your favored spices will stick. Set aside and let the chicken reach room temp…I personally spatchcock my chicken, put on smoker skin side up. I’ve never tried the above recipe but I am sure it’s good.

    1. Hi Jessica,
      Total cooking time will vary due to the size of the chicken and the smoker you are using. I always use the cooking time we experience along with using a digital thermometer to cook until 165° for chickens.
      ~ Milisa

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