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Easy Traeger Smoked Whole Chicken with Chili Lime Rub

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Tender, juicy, and smoked to perfection, this is one of the best Traeger smoker chicken recipes! Seasoned with a homemade chili-lime dry rub, this smoked whole chicken recipe is full of fresh and zesty flavors. This meal is simple to prep while your Traeger grill does all the cooking.

This is a whole chicken on a gray platter with lime slices and parsley.

When people think of smoked meats, they probably think of things like ribs or brisket, not leaner meats like chicken. But after you try this chicken, this is going to be one of your favorite smoked meats on the menu! It had the BEST smoky flavor and fresh, delicious spices. It’s juicy, tender, and the perfect punch of protein for dinner.

This is one of the BEST Traeger smoker chicken recipes I have ever had. And the best part? It’s the easiest thing in the world!

We make this easy recipe at least once a month. It is the most tender, moist, and juicy chicken with a perfect smoke flavor. 

It also makes a great dinner to bring to friends after they have a baby or are going through any major life event and could use a hand in the meal department.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This chicken is juicy, flavorful, and so easy to make. The combinations of flavors make for a satisfying meal that tastes like it was made by a BBQ joint while being super quick to whip together at home!

What is the Best Temp and Time to Smoke a Whole Chicken? 

The time it takes to smoke a whole chicken on a pellet smoker depends on the size of the chicken and the temperature.

The best temperature is a matter of preference!

For best results, I love smoking a whole chicken at a lower temperature because it gives the best smoky flavor. However, to crisp and brown the skin, it’s important to give it a little time at a higher temperature, too. I like to smoke the chicken for two hours at 225°F, then I turn the heat up to 375°F to crisp up the skin and give the chicken some color.

For some general information on the amount of time it takes to smoke a chicken based on temperature, check out the infographic below:

This is an infographic detailing the timing for a whole chicken smoked at various temperatures. The information on the infographic is detailed in the following paragraph.
  • For a 4-5 lb chicken cooked at a steady temp of 225F, it would take about 4 to 4.5 hours.
  • At a steady temperature of 250F, it would take approximately 3.5 to 4 hours.
  • For 275F, the cook time is about 2.5 to 3 hours.
  • At 300F, it takes close to 2 to 2.5 hours.
  • At 325F, it takes about 1.5 to 2 hours.
  • At 350F, it takes about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Remember, all of these times are estimations for planning purposes only. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F per the USDA and you should always cook to the proper temperature regardless of the time.

Ingredients

  • Whole Chicken – I like to use a 4-5 lb large chicken for this recipe. You can use a smaller chicken, too, just keep an eye on the internal temp as it cooks since it will cook faster.
  • Olive Oil – Use 1-2 tbsp olive oil to rub into the meat & skin.
  • Spices & Seasonings – sea salt, cumin, black pepper, chili powder, garlic powder
  • Lime – Use a large lime, or two small limes. We will zest the lime to add to the dry rub, and then slice the lime to stick under the skin of the chicken.
These are the ingredients for my Traeger smoker chicken recipes, including raw whole chicken with oil, spices, and a lime on a white marble background.

Instructions:

smoker temp

1. Preheat the Smoker

Turn on your Traeger or other pellet grill smoker per the manufacturer’s instructions and heat it to 225 degrees F.

These are hands zesting a lime into a glass bowl of spices on a wooden table.

2. Prep the Dry Rub

Add all of your spices and seasonings to a bowl. Wash and dry your lime and zest the whole lime into the bowl of seasonings. Whisk to combine. Slice your lime into 6 slices and set aside for step 3.

This is the seasoned raw chicken on a wood cutting board.

3. Prep Chicken

Next, place the chicken on a cutting board and dry it off with some paper towels, then pour about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over your chicken and rub it in with your hands.

Peel the skin up on the breasts and thighs and get a little oil under the skin directly onto the meat, too.

Then rub your dry rub all over the chicken, both on top of the skin and under the skin directly onto the meat.

Take the lime slices and slide them under the skin on top of both breasts and the thighs. Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.

This is the raw & seasoned chicken on the Traeger grates.

4. Smoke Chicken

Place your chicken right on the grill grates, breast side up. Close the lid on your grill and allow it to smoke for about 2 hours or until your chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

adjusting temperature knob on traeger

5. Turn Up the Heat

After two hours, turn the heat up to 375° F. Finish out the cook at this temp to crisp up the skin. When the chicken reaches 165 degrees F internally, pull it off the smoker. 

This is a whole chicken with lime slices on a platter.

6. Rest Chicken

Place chicken on a platter and let the chicken rest for 30 minutes before carving.

That’s it! This Traeger smoker chicken recipe is SO EASY, but it tastes incredible. Eat it as is or top it with your favorite hot sauce.

Quick Tips

You can tie the chicken’s feet together if you wish. It’s also fine if you don’t.

A digital meat thermometer is so important. Do not overcook! We use a Meater+ and it’s amazing! It is so easy to track your chicken’s temp at any time, anywhere right from your phone. It even gives you an estimated time for when it will be done so you can adjust the temp up or down as needed. It’s usually spot on!

Swaps & Variations

  • To add some heat to the rub, add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • Play around with your favorite rubs for this Traeger smoker chicken recipe! While I love this chili lime rub, you can totally use a pre-made jarred seasoning blend and follow the same cooking instructions.
  • You can also use your favorite Traeger chicken rub.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the chicken with a squeeze of lime juice for extra lime flavor or served with my spicy chimichurri with cilantro!

I recommend serving this amazing chicken with some great side dishes like my delicious air-fried sweet potato wedges! It also goes great with a kale salad or my orange-roasted brussels sprouts.

This is a carved whole chicken from our Traeger smoker chicken recipes on a platter with lime slices and parsley.

Nutritional Information

The following nutritional info is an estimate. Use your own calculations for the most accurate information for you.

For 1/6 of a 5-lb chicken, you get roughly 422 calories. This varies depending on light or dark meat, if you eat the skin, etc.

You get:

  • 34 grams of protein
  • 30 grams of fat (includes portion of the skin)
  • 3 grams of carbs

Other Chicken Recipes

Want some other delicious family chicken recipes?

Try our Healthy Ranch Chicken Poutine, our Cozy Autumn Wild Rice Soup Recipe, or my Roasted Plums & Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

You’ll also love my Moroccan Chicken Sheet Pan!

Other Traeger Smoker Recipes

Check out these other Traeger pellet grill recipes!

For more Traeger smoker chicken recipes, try my citrus-rubbed spatchcocked Traeger chicken and my Smoked Chicken Legs with Chimichurri.

For other healthy options, you’ll love my Glazed Grilled Salmon or my Smoked Boneless Pork Sirloin.

If you’re feeding a crowd, try my Traeger Smoked Spatchcock Turkey Recipe or my Pellet Grill Smoked Ham.

Recipe Notes

Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eat within 3-4 days.

Leftover chicken reheats well making this a great recipe for meal prepping. I recommend slicing the chicken before heating, and heating in short bursts in the microwave to prevent it from getting rubbery. Alternatively, but the chicken in a baking dish and cover it with foil and reheat it in the oven at 325 for 10-15 minutes or until it reaches your desired warmth.

You can also use the leftovers in my amazing healthy chicken salad recipe!

This is the final product photo of one of the best traeger smoker chicken recipes resting on a platter.

FAQ

How long does it take to smoke a chicken at 225?

It takes about 4 to 4.5 hours to smoke a 4-5 lb chicken at a low temperature of 225°F. I recommend turning the heat up to 375°F after two hours at 225° to speed up the cooking time and get crispy skin.

What types of wood chips or wood pellets should I use?

You can use a general blend of Traeger pellets, such as the signature blend. The BBQ select blend would also be a great choice!

Is smoked whole chicken healthy?

Chicken is a lean, healthy protein. Smoking chicken gives it an incredible flavor. Consuming home smoked meats in moderation is generally fine. When people suggest avoiding smoked meats, they’re usually referring to the processed meats with additives you buy at the store since most people don’t smoke their own meat. According to Cleveland Clinic, to make smoked meats healthier, you should cook with hardwood pellets and avoid burning the meat.

This is a smoked whole chicken with lime slices on a gray platter.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Traeger Smoked Whole Chicken with Chili Lime Rub

Tender, juicy, and smoked to perfection, this is the best Traeger smoker chicken recipe! Seasoned with a homemade chili-lime dry rub, this smoked whole chicken recipe is full of fresh and zesty flavors.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 35 minutes
Resting Time30 minutes
Total Time3 hours 15 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili lime smoked chicken, smoked whole chicken, traeger smoked whole chicken, traeger smoker chicken recipes
Servings: 6
Calories: 422kcal
Author: Holly Lee

Ingredients

  • 4-5 lb whole chicken giblets removed
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 large lime or 2 small

Instructions

  • Turn on your Traeger or other pellet grill smoker per the manufacturer's instructions and heat it to 225 degrees F.
  • Make your dry rub. Add all of your spices and seasonings to a bowl. Wash and dry your lime and zest the whole lime into the bowl of seasonings. Whisk to combine. Slice your lime into 6 slices and set the lime slices aside to stuff under the chicken skin.
  • Dry chicken off with paper towels, then pour about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over your chicken and rub it in with your hands. Peel the skin up on the breasts and thighs and get a little oil under the skin directly onto the meat, too.
  • Rub the dry rub all over the chicken, both on top of the skin and under the skin directly onto the meat. Take the lime slices and slide them under the skin on top of both breasts and the thighs. Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.
  • Place your chicken right on the grill grates, breast side up. Close the lid on your grill and allow it to smoke for about 2 hours or until your chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • After two hours, turn the heat up to 375° F. Finish out the cook at this temp to crisp up the skin. When the chicken reaches 165 degrees F internally, pull it off the smoker. 
  • Place chicken on a platter and let the chicken rest for 30 minutes before carving.

Notes

Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eat within 3-4 days.
Leftover chicken reheats well making this a great recipe for meal prepping. I recommend slicing the chicken before heating, and heating in short bursts in the microwave to prevent it from getting rubbery.
Alternatively, but the chicken in a baking dish and cover it with foil and reheat it in the oven at 325 for 10-15 minutes or until it reaches your desired warmth.

Nutrition

Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 925mg | Potassium: 397mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 661IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2mg

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    This Chicken was so flavorful and delicious, the process to cook was easy we will defiantly be making this again!

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