The Secret to Smoking the Perfect Whole Chicken

Have you tried smoking a whole chicken only to have it turn out dry and lacking that "wow" factor?  Fear not as Stittsworth Meats has the secret to successfully smoke a whole chicken that is absolutely mouth watering!  If you're starting with a frozen chicken make sure to let it thaw and rest prior to placing it on the smoker.  Season the chicken with whatever seasoning fits your flavor preference and head to the smoker to get that ready.  Make sure the hopper for the smoker is filled(keep any eye on this throughout the process to make certain you don't run out of pellets)  and start your smoker on the "smoke" setting and let it fire up.  After you get a good amount of smoke rolling out place the chicken on the smoker and shut the door to let it bathe in the smoke adding a little extra flavor.  Now is the secret key that will get you the ultimate moist and tender chicken.  When placing the chicken on the smoker make sure that you smoke it breast down.  That's right folks, smoking the chicken breast down allows the juices to run through the chicken and gather in the breast keeping the most desired part of the chicken tender and flavorful.  The second part to the secret is the cook time and temp.  Frequently "low and slow" is a good go-to when dealing with meat but when it comes to chicken we take a different route.  You will still achieve delicious tender and moist meat when cooking a whole chicken on a lower temp for a longer period but the trouble is the skin.  On lower heat with a longer cook time the skin becomes quite difficult to deal with as it tends to be chewy and tough.  We like to crank the temp right to 350 degrees and  let the chicken cook until it reaches an internal temp of 155-160 which will leave you with the perfect combo of tender meat as well as a nice crispy skin.  This normally takes anywhere from 2.5 to 3 hours at 350 so its not a bad idea to be checking internal temp around the 2 hour mark.  After reaching the safe internal temp, pop that baby off the grill and let it rest for another 5-10 minutes allowing it to finish the cook cycle and reach a more comfortable eating temp.
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