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Smoked Balsamic Chicken

Smoked Balsamic Chicken is perfect for weekend grilling. Whole chickens are soaked in a quick salt water brine and then coated with a delicious balsamic glaze under the skin before they go onto the grill with hickory wood for a smoky, flavorful and delicious dinner. 

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Smoked chicken is one of my favorite comfort food meals and I promise once you try this easy method, you’ll never want another oven roasted chicken! We love this method for Meal Prep Chicken for a budget friendly way to get dinner on the table.

Grilling whole chickens with balsamic glaze


Smoked Balsamic Chicken

Salt Water Chicken Brine:

  • Warm Water
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Lemon
  • Fresh Garlic

Ingredients for Balsamic Chicken:

Bowls of ingredients for Balsamic Chicken Glaze

  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Rosemary
  • Brown Sugar
  • Granulated Garlic
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper
  • Whole Chickens

How to Salt Water Brine Whole Chicken:

2 chickens brined in salt water with rosemary, fresh lemons and garlic

  • Prepare Brine by combining warm water and salt, mixing until salt is dissolved. 
  • Place chickens in a large bowl or pan and pour salt water over chickens, completely submerging the chickens. 
  • Add fresh rosemary, garlic and wedges of fresh lemon. Cover and refrigerate for 1 – 2 hours. 

2 whole chickens on paper towels

  • Remove chicken from brine and discard.
  • Place chickens on a sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels. 

Brining the chicken will helps flavor the chicken and keeps it juicy as you smoke and grill it. It really makes a difference and it’s worth the time and effort. 

How To Make Smoked Balsamic Chicken:

  • Prepare a grill fire to about 325° with hickory wood for smoke flavor.

Bowl with melted butter, balsamic vinegar and spices

  • In a bowl, add the balsamic glaze by combining: melted butter, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, rosemary, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. 

Balsamic Marinade for chicken in a bowl blue check towel on a wood surface

  • Mix until well combined. 

Injecting glaze under whole chicken skin

  • Use a meat injector or a turkey baster to squirt the glaze between the skin and the meat. 

Pouring glaze over whole chicken

  • Rub remaining glaze on outer chicken skin. 

2 whole chickens on a grill

  • Place chickens over indirect fire and cook with the grill lid closed for about 1 hour. 

2 smoked chickens on the grill

  • Check internal temperature of chickens in the thigh, near the bone and continue to cook until it reaches 165°. Depending on the size of the chicken, usually 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes to cook a whole chicken. 

2 whole smoked chickens on a sheet pan

  • Remove chicken from the grill and allow to rest for 15 minutes under a foil tent before slicing and serving. 

Platter of smoked chicken, sliced and legs with rosemary sprig garnish

How to Store and Reheat:

To store a whole smoked chicken, wrap in 2 layers of plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days. I recommend cutting the chicken before reheating so that it doesn’t dry out. 

Store sliced or cut up chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. 

Reheat chicken slices or pieces in a skillet with a bit of water or chicken broth. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 5- 10 minutes. 

Save the chicken carcasses and make homemade stock. It can be refrigerated for a few days or it’s easy to freeze and use when you are ready. 

What to Serve with Smoked Balsamic Chicken:

smoked chicken on a platter, board with garlic bread slices and bowl of potato wedges

Grilled Potato Wedges are simple and delicious along with Grilled Corn on the Cob and Garlic Bread are great side dishes for any chicken dinner. Make your entire meal on the grill and enjoy the easy cleanup!

We also like to make BBQ Spatchcock Chicken with whole chickens. It cooks quicker than the traditional method with amazing taste and texture. This Spicy Chicken Brine is also a great way to get a flavorful and juicy whole chicken on the grill.

More Grilled Chicken Recipes to Try

Plate of smoked chicken with potato wedges and garlic bread

Smoked chicken makes a great Sunday supper and is also easy to double and have leftovers for making sandwiches, casseroles and soups to enjoy throughout the week. This balsamic glaze adds so much flavor to the smoked chicken, I’m sure it is going to be a big hit for anyone that tries it!




Smoked whole chicken on the grill
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Smoked Balsamic Chicken

Tender and juicy smoked chicken with amazing flavor from a simple balsamic glaze. Our tried and true salt water brine method keeps the chicken juicy and the hickory smoke flavors the meat through and through for the best tasting chicken ever!
Prep Time1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time2 hours 40 minutes
Course: Chicken
Cuisine: American
Keyword: balsamic chicken, salt water brine for chicken, Smoked chicken
Servings: 2 whole chickens
Calories: 497kcal
Author: Milisa


For the Salt Water Brine

  • 4 - 5 quarts warm water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • ½ lemon cut into quarters
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced
  • 2 whole chickens 3 to 5 pounds each

For the Balsamic Glaze

  • ¼ cup butter melted
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup minced rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • Prepare the salt water brine by combining warm water with kosher salt, whisking until salt is dissolved.
  • Place chickens in a large bowl or deep pan and pour salt water over to completely submerge. Add fresh rosemary sprigs, lemon wedges and garlic cloves.
  • Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.
  • Remove chickens from brine and discard brine.
  • Place chickens on a baking sheet and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Prepare a 325° grill fire with hickory wood for smoke flavor.
  • Mix marinade by combining melted butter, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, brown sugar, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
  • Use a turkey baster or meat injector to squirt the glaze between the chicken skin and the meat. Massage gently to spread it around.
  • Any remaining glaze can be rubbed over the outside of the chicken skin.
  • Cook chickens over indirect fire with the grill closed for about an hour. Use a digital thermometer to check the temperature in the thigh, near the bone. Cook until chicken reaches 165°.
  • Remove from grill and tent with foil. Rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


Store leftover chicken wrapped in several layers of plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reheat chicken pieces or slices in a covered skillet with a bit of water for about 8 -10 minutes.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 497kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 437mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g

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