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Smoked Pulled Chicken Recipe

The day my wife and I arrived home from the hospital after she gave birth to our firstborn, she told me she had a craving for some chicken. I then put together this smoked pulled chicken recipe for her and she loved it.

smoked pulled chicken

Now, you don’t need to have your wife go into labor as a reason to prepare this. You can make this at any time your heart desires. Although, if you wife does go into labor, try making this as a nice little surprise for her. 

How To Make Smoked Pulled Chicken

In summary to make smoked pulled chicken, first you slice whole chicken in half. Prepare rub by combining brown sugar, salt, ground black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Season chicken generously on all side. Smoke chicken at 250F for about 2 hours or until meat temperature reaches 165F. Pull chicken apart with a fork and mix with your favorite BBQ sauce. Serve on a bun!

Exact measurements of ingredients and bonus tips are below in the recipe section. Check it out!

What temperature do you pull chicken?

165F. Pulling the chicken at this temperature ensures that the chicken is moist and full of flavor, not hard and bland. Once the chicken has been pulled from the smoker, it’s best to let it rest at room temperature for around 15 minutes.

How long do you smoke chicken?

Ideally, around 1.5 – 2 hours or until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165F. You can tell when the chicken has reached an internal temperature by using an instant-read thermometer. Some people like to feel the outside of the chicken using a fork in order to see if the chicken is ready, but using a thermometer is the safest and best way to find out if the chicken is finished.

Want to try other smoked chicken recipes? How about smoking chicken breast or my delicious smoked chicken thighs! Still want to smoke a whole chicken then try my tender and juicy smoked whole chicken recipe. Check out my easy smoked chicken wings perfect for gameday. 

pulled smoked chicken

What type of wood is best for smoking chicken?

It really depends on your personal preference. The type of wood you use can add a different flavor to the chicken. Personally, I like using applewood as it adds a mild but somewhat fruity taste to the chicken.

Some of the other woods people like to use is hickory, maple, peach, and cherry. Hickory adds a somewhat bacon flavor to the chicken. Again, I personally like the fruity flavor applewood adds the best.

how to smoke pulled chicken

What makes a good pulled chicken recipe?

The wood being used. Using the right wood can really add to the flavor of this recipe. That’s not to say that there is a wrong wood to use, but certain woods complement the flavor better than others.

Also, pulling the chicken out at the right time is extremely important. This is what determines if the chicken texture will be tender and juicy, or rubber and tough. So be sure to pull the chicken out after it’s been cooking for 1.5 – 2 hours or once the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165F.

smoked pulled chicken recipe

Smoked Pulled Chicken

Smoked chicken pulled apart for amazing pulled chicken sandwich.

Course Main Course
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings 4


  • 1 whole Chicken
  • BBQ Sauce (You can use any of your favorite BBQ sauce)


  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder


  1. Begin by preheating your smoker to 250F.

  2. Slice the whole chicken in half.

  3. Grab a bowl and proceed to combine all of the rub ingredients into the bowl. Once finished, rub both sides of the chicken with the seasoning blend.

  4. Place the chicken into the smoker and add in some wood chips. Applewood was the option I went with. Cook for 1.5 - 2 hours or until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165F. Use an instant-read thermometer to determine the internal temperature.

  5. Once the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165F remove the chicken from the smoker and cover it with aluminum foil. Let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

  6. Shred chicken apart and mix with your favorite BBQ sauce.

  7. Put the pulled chicken onto some sandwich buns and enjoy!

That’s all you have to do! This is a very simple recipe that anyone can make and more importantly, it’s delicious! Now. you don’t have to put the chicken onto sandwich buns. You can eat the chicken by itself and it will still be delicious.

This is just something I like to do as I love chicken sandwiches. With that being said, I do hope you enjoy this recipe as this is one of my favorites and hopefully it’s one of your favorites too!

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