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Apple Cider Smoked Chicken

Apple Cider Smoked Chicken is a delicious meal to make on the grill and easy to make ahead. Whole chickens are brined and then injected with our simple apple cider marinade before smoking with hickory for the most tender, juicy and flavorful chicken that you can make at home.

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Smoked chicken is one of our go-to recipes on the grill to meal prep for the week. It’s great just to slice and serve, make sandwiches, soups, casseroles and more. 

Apple Cider Smoked Chicken

Ingredients for Chicken Brine:

  • Water
  • Kosher Salt
  • Lemons
  • Rosemary
  • Peppercorns
  • Garlic Cloves

Ingredients for Apple Cider Marinade:

  • Apple Cider
  • Brown Sugar
  • Garlic Powder
  • Kosher Salt
  • Dry Mustard

How to Make Apple Cider Smoked Chicken:

Brining 3 chickens in a large bowl with lemons, rosemary and peppercorns

  • Mix brine and pour over chicken in a large bowl or dutch oven. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour and up to 4 hours.

Apple Cider Marinade in a jar for Smoked Chicken

Whole chickens in a colander

  • Drain chickens well and discard brine. 

Sheet pan with 3 raw chickens

  • Pat chickens dry with paper towels and place on a baking sheet.

Injecting apple cider marinade into a whole chicken

  • Use an injector to inject apple cider marinade down into the breast and meaty part of the thighs and also between the meat and the skin. 

whole chickens on a grill

  • Prepare a grill fire to about 300° with hickory wood for smoke flavor.
  • Cook chickens over indirect fire with the grill lid closed for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

2 smoked whole chickens on a grill

  • Use a digital thermometer to check the chicken in the thick part of the thigh, near the bone. Cook until it reaches 165°. 

2 Smoked whole chickens on a sheet pan

  • Remove to a sheet pan and allow to rest 15 minutes before slicing. 

How to Store and Reheat:

Whole chicken can be wrapped in several layers of plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 2 days. 

Remove meat from bones and store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 4 days. 

Freeze smoked chicken in a Vacuum Sealer  bags or 2 layers of plastic wrap and a layer of foil up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator.

To reheat chicken, add to a skillet with 1 tablespoon of chicken broth or water per cup of chicken. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally about 8 minutes.

2 smoked chickens on a blue platter with fresh rosemary garnish

What to Serve with Smoked Chicken:

Make the entire dinner on the grill by adding Garlic Rosemary Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus and our easy garlic bread to the menu. 

Recipe Ideas for Leftover Smoked Chicken:

Stir smoked chicken into your favorite soups and casseroles. Mix smoked chicken with homemade bbq sauce for an epic sandwich.  It makes an amazing 30 minute dinner in this Cajun Chicken Pasta.

We always say it’s just as easy to smoke 2 or 3 chickens as it is one. It makes dinner time so simple throughout the week. Smoked chicken is so versatile, so you won’t feel like you are eating leftovers. 

Make all of the chicken the same flavor or make 3 different flavors. The cooking time is the same and you’ll be glad to have the extra protein on hand when dinner time rolls around. 

overhead view of platter with 2 smoked chickens, rosemary garnish, meat fork and knife to the side

More Smoked Chicken Recipes:

Smoked Chicken with rosemary mustard bbq sauce has tons of flavor and is no ordinary, boring chicken dinner! is a savory and delicious whole chicken that is sure to please. It’s smoky, juicy and incredibly delicious.

Cajun Butter Smoked Chicken has tons of flavor from the homemade blackened seasoning and hickory smoke. A tried and true recipe to make again and again.

Lemon Rosemary Chicken is brined and injected with garlic butter, then sprinkled with lemon rosemary dry rub. A family favorite dinner that will have everyone running to the table.

BBQ Spatchcock Chicken is an alternative way to cook a whole chicken on the grill. It produces to a tender, juicy and delicious chicken that is sure to be a family favorite.

Close up of platter of 2 smoked chickens with fresh herb garnish

This apple cider smoked chicken turns out so flavorful and delicious, perfect for a fall dinner or special occasion. 


Apple Cider Smoked Chicken
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Apple Cider Smoked Chicken

Whole chickens are brined and injected with apple cider marinade and then smoked to perfection with hickory wood. A delicious fall dinner that is perfect for entertaining.
Prep Time1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time2 hours 40 minutes
Course: Chicken
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple cider chicken, brined chicken, fall dinner recipe, Smoked chicken
Servings: 2 chickens
Calories: 466kcal
Author: Milisa


for the brine:

  • 4 quarts warm water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced in half
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges

for the chicken


  • Prepare the brine by combining warm water and salt until dissolved. Pour over chickens in a large bowl or dutch oven.
  • Add lemons, peppercorns, garlic and rosemary.
  • Cover and refrigerate 1 - 4 hours.
  • Prepare the apple cider marinade and cool to room temperature.
  • Drain chickens well and pat dry with paper towels, place on a baking sheet.
  • Use an injector to inject marinade into breast and thighs and between skin and meat.
  • Prepare a grill fire to about 300° with hickory wood for smoke flavor.
  • Cook chickens over indirect heat with the grill closed 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until internal temperature in the thigh, near the bone reaches 165° using a digital thermometer.
  • Remove chickens from grill and allow to rest 15 minutes before slicing.


Store whole chicken wrapped in plastic wrap in refrigerator up to 2 days.
Remove chicken from bones and store meat in an airtight container up to 4 days.
Smoked chicken can be frozen in a vacuum seal bag or freezer bag up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator.
Reheat deboned chicken in a skillet with 1 tablespoon chicken broth or water per cup of chicken. Cook over medium heat, covered for about 8 minutes.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 466kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 132mg | Sodium: 14913mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g

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