How to Cook a Whole Chicken on a Pellet Grill - The Easy Way

The term pellet grill brings to mind images of glistening, conical-spiked grills that cook meat to perfection. In reality, the process for cooking foods using a pellet grill is much more complex than it appears on the surface. Pellets need to be lit in order to reach their maximum potential: this is called pre-charredness, and means that you need to put something burning until the pellets are ignited. Once they're ignited, they burn down and smoke permeates everything with temperatures ranging from well above 300 degrees F all the way down to 160 degrees F (66°C – 70°C). Reducing these temps not only reduces maintenance time and stress on your smoker, but it also creates better food with less ash. The best way to achieve perfect pre-charred conditions is with a pellet smoker that actively reduces these temps. Fortunately, grilling on a pellet smoker is easier than driving to an outdoor festival. Check out our quick guide on how to cook a whole chicken on a pellet grill.

 

What is the best pellet grill for cooking chicken?

The best pellet grill for cooking chicken is the one that best matches your cooking style. For example, if you’re a frequent purist who wants to cook her chicken without any style preferences, you might want to look at the charcoal only models. However, if you’re more of a convenience Grillery fan, the charcoal/bi-lam will do the trick, while the Goddess Gas Grill is an ideal choice for those who are always on the move.

 

How to cook a whole chicken on a pellet grill

Anytime you’re cooking for more than one person, you need to take into account how to cook a whole chicken on a pellet grill. This is easier said than done, but here are a few tips to get you started: The first thing to understand about cooking a whole chicken on a pellet grill is that it’s not only different but harder. The reason for this is that the chickens are cooking for themselves and need to be fed as well as smoking for you - same as with roasting veggies or pork loin. The type of pellet you use plays a big part in how well your chicken does. In general, hardwoods like hickory, mesquite, and cherry are great for smoking, and can produce moderate to high heat and plenty of smoke. Harder woods like juniper and hemlock produce less smoke and less heat, which means they’re best suited for sandwiches and pies. Another thing to keep in mind is the temperature control on pellet grills. With few exceptions, most pellet grills feature a temperature control that is either a fixed “low,” medium, or high setting. On a pellet grill, you can’t lower the temperature below 200 degrees F (91°C) and there’s no option but to keep cooking until the meat is no longer that pink in the middle. If you’re not a experienced cook who doesn’t have a griddle or aSpicy Apple Kuchen recipe you can’t make toscale, you’ll need to invest in a pellet smoker that can handle higher temperatures. Luckily, today’s smokers can reach temperatures above 500 degrees F (260°C) without the need for hardwood chips or charcoal.

 

How to smoke meat on a pellet smoker

Once you’ve created a great meat dish with your pellet grill, the next step is to smoke the meat. This is one of the best uses of pellet grills, and smoking meat on a pellet grill is easy, convenient, and can even be done in half an hour. Get your wood chip or pellet smoker ready by adding wood chunks, charcoal, or wood pellets to the hopper. When your smoker has reached the right temperature, light the pellets and smoke the meat. This is an ideal method for eating your smoked meats, or seasoning a sandwich when you’ve finished smoking the chicken or pork.

 

The best grate for grilling chicken on a pellet grill

Once you’ve found the perfect temperature and airflow spot on your pellet grill, the next step is to find the best grate to cook your bird on. Consistent cooking is the key to achieving perfect results, and a few different cooking techniques can help you get there. First, assess the thickness of your breast meat. For example, a thick-cut breast is better cooked on a thinner grate. This is because the thicker the meat, the more surface area that is exposed to the fire. Also, if you’re cooking a whole chicken, cut it into quarters and use the thinner cut. Next, think about the shape of your bird. For example, a loose-fitting bird like a chicken is better cooked on a thick-cut grate. A tight-fitting bird, like a turkey, is better cooked on a fine-mesh grate.

 

Make the most of your offset smoker with this simple cooking technique

To make the most of your offset smoker, try these four techniques: Build a smokehouse - Add wooden chips or pellets to the hopper to create a smokehouse for your meat. Place the smokehouse near the back of the grill to help with airflow. Use a rotisserie - Rotisseries have been around for a long time, so you can use them to pre-cook your meat. Place it at the back of the smoker where the heat is weakest, and use it to take the chicken or other birds to the finish line. Grill a whole chicken - Some people like to cook a whole chicken on the grill, and that’s perfectly fine too. The only thing you need to do is to place the chicken in a single layer on the grate and cover it with a single layer of aluminum foil. Make sure the foil has some give so the heat can pass through it, and don’t worry about overlapping the foil because it will burn. Once the chicken is done, take it off the grill and place in a single layer on a platter.

 

Summary

The best pellet grill for cooking chicken is the one that best matches your cooking style. For example, if you’re a frequent purist who wants to cook her chicken without any style preferences, you might want to look at the charcoal only models. 

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