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We’re going to talk about smoking chicken at a higher temperature, in this case between 350-375°F. The other aspect is how we cut the chicken. You’re probably familiar with a Spatchcock chicken. Remove the spine and butterfly the bird. This gives you a more consistent thickness for more even cooking. We’re going to add a quick step for easier handling, ending up with split chickens.
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs 45 mins
Course Cooking Technique, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 1 Whole Chicken
Calories 115 kcal


  • Smoker
  • Heavy bladed knife


  • 1 Whole Chicken
  • 6 Tablespoon tablespoons soft butter
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon sweet basil dried
  • 1 Teaspoon kosher salt
  • Rub


  • Using a heavy bladed knife, cut through the cartilage and split the breast.
  • Then lay the blade about 1/4” to the side of the spine and cut through the rib cage, and down the entire length of the spine. Repeat on the other side of the spine.
    chicken rib cage cutting
  • This will give you two nice halves to work with.
    split chicken for juicy smoked chicken recipe
  • Try one chicken with your favorite rub, cover with a generous coating. Let sit for about 30 minutes before cooking. This gives us time to prep another chicken that we are going to set up to self-baste while it cooks. We can start pre-heating the smoker to 375°F.
    applying rub on Smoked split chicken
  • In a bowl put 6 tablespoons soft butter, 1 Tablespoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon each dried sweet basil and kosher salt.
    baste for Smoked split chicken
  • Stir all together to make a paste
  • Take one fourth of the paste and slip it under the skin on each breast and each hind quarter. Coming from where the spine and back were removed should be easy to find a spot to put the butter mix inside with a long handled teaspoon.
  • Flatten the butter mix around under the skin by pressing gently on it.
    butter under the skin of Smoked split chicken
  • Place the chickens on your smoker rack spaced evenly.
  • Cook for 45-50 minutes depending on the size of your chickens, looking for an internal temperature of 160°F in the white sections and 170°F in the dark sections. Let rest a few minutes and serve.
Keyword beer chicken,, chicken, grilling