A smoked whole chicken without sugar! I've never done a whole chicken recipe on the site but seeing as it's one of our family staples, I figured it was about time I share one. Cooking your own whole chicken is fantastic for keto; the carbs are low, the ingredients are up to you, and it's always delish. Whether you're planning to serve it family dinner style or as an extra tasty meal prep, smoked whole chicken is going to change the way you feel about picking up a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken.
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Is rotisserie chicken ok for keto?
Yes! And no! Okay, it depends. Many, dare I say most, pre-cooked rotisserie chickens found at the supermarket are cooked with sugars and starches. Just check the label. There are exceptions, like Whole Paycheck, that have options without these additives.
But even my beloved Costco rotisserie chicken (you know, the ones that are only five bucks!?) have an interesting ingredient list that includes: food starch, sugar, and dextrose to name a few.
There are far worse choices you could make for a ketogenic diet. If you are avoiding added sugar, be sure to read the ingredients on the label first. If not, then, by all means, have at it! I've personally been going out of my way to avoid added sugars, but in a pinch, I would still chow down on a Costco rotisserie chicken. Call the keto police!
The Smoked Whole Chicken Recipe
By now, you may have seen where I was going with this: it's always best to cook your own food at home! I know my website is goofy AF, but if there's one serious message I hope to get across it's just that. Cooking for yourself is the way to go.
Pick up a whole chicken or two. Now brine that bad boy in a salt bath. Brining your meat is key to keeping the chicken meat moist during the smoking process. You can get fancy with brines by adding different herbs and flavors, but I keep it simple with salt. You really can't go wrong with a salt water brine. If you're in a hurry, you can brine for as little as 1 hour, but most folks recommend keeping it in for much longer. Overnight is preferred. Brining is worth the extra effort, it's the difference between dried out and tender and juicy.
Once you remove the chicken from the brine, pat it dry and apply the rub of your choice. You already know, I make my own rub. Yellow mustard coats the entire chicken, then a combo of dry spices is applied right on top of that: paprika, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Let it hang out in the spices while you get your smoker ready.
We've been using hickory wood chips for pretty much everything we smoke lately. I love the flavor, but you can choose any wood that you prefer. Maple, cedar, pecan, cherry, apple, peach, oak, hickory, mesquite, you name it. If it was once a tree, chances are you can smoke it, and your food will taste better for it.
Now get your chicken in the smoker, close it up and let the magic happen. Once an hour, I baste the chicken with a mixture of coconut aminos, yellow mustard, and garlic. At 225 degrees Fahrenheit, it usually takes us about 2.5 to 3 hours to get our chicken up to temp. You want the internal temperature of the chicken to be 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the bird. Once it gets there, remove it from the heat and let it rest at least ten minutes before cutting into it. Now enjoy your smoked whole chicken!
Check out my other keto-friendly recipes for your smoker:
- Smoked keto chicken wings
- Smoked pork tenderloin
- Smoked bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers
- Smoked pork spare ribs
Don't have a smoker? Try my keto fried chicken recipe out instead!
Smoked Whole Chicken Recipe
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 gallon water room temperature
- ¾ cup salt
- In a large stockpot or storage container, prepare brine by combining water and salt. Place whole chicken in the brine and allow it to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. You may choose to brine the chicken for 1-2 days in the refrigerator if you have room.
- Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. Coat the outside of the chicken with yellow mustard.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine paprika, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Coat the entire outside of the chicken with the spice mixture. Allow your chicken to rest for 30-45 minutes while you prepare your smoker.
- Prepare your smoker with hickory wood chips to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine coconut aminos, yellow mustard, and garlic in small mixing bowl and reserve for basting throughout the smoking process.
- Place the chicken on the smoker rack, cover, and smoke for 2.5 to 3 hours, or until the internal temperature of the bird reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Baste the chicken with the sauce once every hour.
- Remove the chicken from the smoker and allow it to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes prior to cutting into the meat to serve.
Hi, I'm Tasha–nutritionist, recipe developer, and multi-published cookbook author.