Here’s my debut smoked chicken in the pellet smoker. I’ve roasted chicken in the oven or charcoal grill but never like this. The chicken cooks so evenly and gives the skin a crisp texture that tastes so good. I made a spice rub mixed with red chile, spices and lime olive oil to make a paste that I rubbed all over this bird. I also loosened the outer skin around the breast, legs and thighs, then rubbed the paste between the meat and skin. I learned this trick from Chef Paul Prudhomme. Adding the spice rub under the skin absorbs into the meat as it cooks, adding flavor. We made some fajitas with chicken, roasted veggies, salsa and guacamole. I could tell you how much we enjoyed this meal, however I think the pictures will describe the deliciousness better than my words. At least I hope so!
My spice blend includes Ancho Chile, Guajullo Chile, Green Chile Powder, Kosher Salt, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, ground Coriander, and Chile de Arbol.
This is the infused olive oil I used. You can find it at most Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar stores.
Whisk it together until it forms a paste.
Time to prep the chicken. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Pry the skin away from the meat. You may need a sharp knife or use kitchen shears to snip some of the connective tissue between the skin and the breast, legs and thighs. Yes, your hands will get messy applying the spice rub under the skin but it will be worth it.
The skin appears translucent with the spice paste showing through.
Applying the rub on the outside is much easier that under the skin. I added the rub and placed in the refrigerator overnight. The next day I set the chicken out to room temperature for an hour before hitting the smoker.
Having a temperature probe is necessary when smoking meats. I set the pellet smoker to 225 degrees and when it’s ready I lay the chicken breast side up and insert the temperature probe into the thickest part of the breast. I need to let it smoke low until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. That will take approximately 2 1/2 – 3 hours.
I checked the chicken every hour just to see how it’s doing. Starting to get a few juices dripping on the drip pan underneath.
When the internal temperature hits 145 degrees, turn the smoker temperature to 325 degrees and let it finish cooking as well as crisp the outer skin. You’re final internal temperature needs to reach 165 degrees. This can take 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours depending on your smoker.
I let the chicken rest 20 minutes while I assembled the roasted veggies, salsa and guacamole.
Red Chile and Lime Smoked Chicken
1 whole Chicken 4 – 5 pounds
3 tablespoons Lime Olive Oil
Red Chile Seasoning Rub
1 tablespoon Ancho Chile, ground
1 tablespoon Guajillo Chile, ground
1 1/2 teaspoons Green Chile Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Onion Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Coriander
3/4 teaspoon Chile de Arbol, ground
Day 1: Rinse the chicken with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Loosen the skin around the breast, legs and thighs. If needed use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to snip the connective tissue so that you can pry the skin away from the meat.
Combine the seasoning rub ingredients into a bowl and stir well. Measure out 2 tablespoons of the rub and add approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a small bowl. Stir to make a paste. Apply the paste under the skin around the breast, leg and thigh areas of the chicken. Combine the remaining rub and olive oil to make a paste to apply to the outside of the chicken over the entire body. Place in a baking pan, cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
Day 2: Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 1 hour prior to smoking. Set up the smoker with pellets and set temperature to 225 degrees 20 minutes prior to smoking. Place a temperature probe in the thickest part of the breast and lay the chicken on the smoker grill breast side up. Allow the chicken to smoke until it reaches 145 degrees internally(approximately 2 1/2 -3 hours. When it reaches 145 degrees, raise the temperature on the smoker to 325 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. This will take approximately 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from smoker and let rest 20 minutes.
Smoke time: 4 – 4 1/2 hours
Serves 5 – 6