How Long to Cook Whole Chicken on a Pellet Grill?

Are you a fan of juicy and flavorful chicken that falls off the bone? If so, cooking a whole chicken on a pellet grill may be just what you need. Pellet grills have become increasingly popular among enthusiasts due to their ease of use, consistent heat distribution, and smoky flavor.

But how long should you cook a whole chicken on a pellet grill? It’s a common question that can make or break your grilling experience. Cook the chicken for too long, and you’ll end up with dry and overcooked meat. Cook it for too little, and you risk undercooked chicken that can be unsafe to eat.

It takes less than one hour. Yes! You read that right, it takes less than one hour to prepare the pellet grill for cooking a whole chicken, and the actual time it takes to allow the chicken to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit is precisely 30-40 minutes.

That is because grilling chicken with pellet grills has become widespread, and this is mostly because of the ease and convenience that comes with smoking meat on the pellet grill, without the hassle and struggle to keep the flame at the required level, maintain a constant temperature; and come up with the perfect dish, without having your grill smoking up your whole yard.

Cooking whole chicken on a pellet grill/smoker only requires a little on your part, except seasoning and checking in after allocated minutes to flip over the chicken at intervals.

How can the internal temperature of the chicken be checked to ensure it is fully cooked?

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Cooking chicken can be a bit tricky, especially for beginners. One of the most important things to remember is to ensure the chicken is fully cooked before eating. Undercooked chicken can be dangerous as it may contain harmful bacteria like Salmonella.

To check the internal temperature of the chicken, you can use a meat thermometer. A meat thermometer is a kitchen tool used to measure the temperature of meat, poultry, and fish. It can be used to ensure that the chicken is cooked to a safe temperature.

Here are the steps to check the internal temperature of chicken using a meat thermometer:

Step 1: Choose the Right Meat Thermometer

There are different types of meat thermometers available in the market. Some common ones include analog thermometers, digital thermometers, and instant-read thermometers. Choose the one that suits your needs and budget. Make sure that the thermometer is calibrated and accurate.

Step 2: Insert the Thermometer

Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken. Make sure that the thermometer is not touching the bone. This is because the bone can give a false reading and may not accurately reflect the internal temperature of the chicken.

Step 3: Wait for the Temperature Reading

Wait for the temperature reading to stabilize. This usually takes a few seconds. Once the temperature reading stabilizes, take note of the temperature. The safe minimum internal temperature for chicken is 165°F (74°C).

Step 4: Check Different Parts of the Chicken

If you are cooking a whole chicken or a large piece of chicken, check the temperature in different parts of the chicken. This is because different parts of the chicken may cook at different rates. Check the temperature in the thickest part of the breast, thigh, and wing.

Step 5: Rest the Chicken

After checking the temperature, remove the chicken from the oven or grill and let it rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to settle and ensures the chicken is moist and tender.

What Are The Seasonings I can Use to Cook Whole Chicken on a Pellet?

Cooking a whole chicken on a pellet grill can be delicious and convenient meal preparation. However, if you’re new to cooking with a pellet grill, you may wonder what seasonings to use to give your chicken the best flavor possible.

1. Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper are one of the simplest yet most effective seasonings for a whole chicken. These two basic ingredients will enhance the natural flavors of the chicken without overpowering them.

Be sure to season both the inside and outside of the chicken, and don’t be afraid to be generous with the salt and pepper.

2. Garlic

Garlic is another versatile seasoning that pairs well with chicken. You can use fresh garlic cloves or garlic powder to add a savory flavor to your chicken. If using fresh garlic, slice it into thin pieces and insert it into the chicken’s skin or cavity. For garlic powder, sprinkle it on the chicken before cooking.

3. Paprika

Paprika is a spice that adds a rich, smoky flavor to your chicken. It also gives the chicken a beautiful, deep red color. Use a mild or sweet paprika if you prefer a milder flavor or a hot one if you like spicy chicken.

Sprinkle it on the chicken before cooking, or mix it with other seasonings for a custom blend.

4. Thyme

Thyme is an herb that adds a subtle, earthy flavor to the chicken. It pairs well with garlic and lemon and can be used fresh or dried. If using fresh thyme, sprinkle it on the chicken before cooking or add it to the cavity.

Mix dried thyme with other seasonings and rub it on the chicken before cooking.

5. Lemon

Lemon is a great way to add brightness and acidity to your chicken. You can use fresh lemon juice or lemon zest to add flavor. Rub the chicken with lemon juice or sprinkle lemon zest on the chicken before cooking. You can also add slices of lemon to the cavity for added flavor.

6. BBQ Rub

You can use a pre-made BBQ rub for a more complex flavor profile. These rubs typically include a variety of spices and herbs, such as paprika, garlic, onion powder, and cumin.

Be sure to read the label to ensure that the rub doesn’t contain any allergens or ingredients that you don’t like. Rub the chicken with the BBQ rub before cooking for a delicious and easy seasoning option.

When cooking a whole chicken on a pellet grill, it’s important to remember to season the chicken generously and to ensure that the seasoning is evenly distributed. You can use a dry rub or a marinade to flavor the chicken before cooking, or you can season the chicken right before cooking.

Would my Pellet Grill give my chicken a ‘smoke’ flavor?

Yes! Especially on low heat and with the smoking feature turned on. Your pellet grill is more than capable of infusing your meat with that unique smoke flavor.

How long do I leave the chicken after grilling before serving it?

Do not cut up your chicken immediately; remove it from the grill, cover it with tin foil, and let it cool down. This would allow the juicy flavor of the chicken to redistribute itself evenly through your chicken.

Does Pellet grill need electricity?

Yes, electricity is needed to power the drill, the controller, the induction fan, and the igniter. Electricity is what the grill runs on. It is why the pellet grill is unique and requires less stress.

Cooking Whole Chicken on a Pellet Grill Recipe

Course Main Course
Cuisine American


  • Pellet grill
  • Meat thermometer
  • Butcher's twine
  • Kitchen shears
  • Aluminum foil
  • Meat injector (optional)


  • Whole chicken (4-5 lbs)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Wood pellets (flavor of your choice)


  • Preheat the pellet grill to 350°F. This is the temperature you will be cooking the chicken at.
  • Rinse the chicken under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Remove the neck and giblets from inside the chicken.
  • Rub the chicken with olive oil. This will help the seasoning stick to the chicken.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Sprinkle this seasoning mix all over the chicken, making sure to get it on all sides.
  • Place the chicken on the pellet grill, breast-side up. Close the lid and cook the chicken for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature.
  • After 45 minutes of cooking, cover the chicken with aluminum foil. This will help prevent the skin from burning and keep the chicken moist.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pellet grill using tongs. Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.
  • Serve the chicken with your favorite sides, such as roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes.


Keyword grilling chicken, Pellet grills, smoking meat, whole chicken


No matter the method you pick when using the pellet grill, whether it be smoking, grilling, or even barbecuing, rest assured that it will deliver and that you will be left with a delicious chicken meal at the end of the process.

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