How To Cook A Whole Chicken On a Pellet Grill?

You’ve decided to invest in a pellet grill because you’ve heard all the hype about how flavorful the food is. It’s true, a pellet grill makes it so much easier than a regular grill, but it can be challenging, especially if you’ve never cooked on one. So, how do you cook a whole chicken on a pellet grill? Well, here’s everything you need to know. 

How to Cook a Whole Chicken on a Pellet Grill?

Are you ready to start your pellet grill and start cooking? Don’t waste any more time.

how to cook a whole chicken on a pellet grill

Here are some quick tips you can use to begin cooking. The best part is, you can save money by cooking your own whole chickens instead of buying them from Sam’s and Costco.

In about 2-3 hours you’ll be eating dinner or lunch!

  • Always check the grill to ensure you have enough wood pellets. If you run out while cooking, you’ll have to run through the priming procedure again, it will mess up your cook time.
  • Fill your grill with maple, hickory, or oak, as those flavors pair well with chicken. I’ll share which wood pellets we used below.
  • Preheat the temperature on your grill to 300-350℉.
  • Wash the chicken and dry it with a paper towel.
  • Coat the chicken with olive oil and season it with your favorite seasoning.
  • Spray the grill with a non-stick spray.
  • Place the chicken on the grill.
  • Monitor the temperature without opening the lid.

If you’re a beginner and this is your first time cooking on a pellet smoker, we’ll cover these steps in more detail below. These steps work for any pellet grill, regardless of brand. Be sure to check out our tutorial on how to cook a whole chicken on a Pit Boss if that’s what you have.

The Pellet Grill A Quick Overview

Most people don’t realize that a pellet grill is a giant convection oven. They’re not like the gas and charcoal grill you may have been cooking on. 

Instead, they work by utilizing electricity and wood pellets and are perfect for slow cooking or higher temperature cooking like other grills. If you’ve ever cooked a whole chicken in your convection oven, you’ll love how much easier a pellet grill makes it.

You not only have more room for the chicken, but the clean-up is so much easier! Not to mention the smoky flavor you won’t get from cooking a chicken in your oven or convection oven. 

The key is to use the proper temperature for the size of chicken you’re cooking. 

Tips For Smoking A Whole Chicken On A Pellet Grill

Using a pellet grill for the first time can be intimidating. What kind of pellets should I use? Where do I place the pellet grill? What temperature do I cook chicken at?

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about cooking a whole chicken on your pellet grill. By the end, you’ll love cooking a whole chicken, and you may want to consider cooking a beer can chicken. 

Well, let’s get into further detail. 

Get the Grill Ready

When it comes to prepping the grill for the chicken, there isn’t a lot to do. You may have to remove the top rack if your grill has one, as it may get in the way of the chicken. 

Other than that, the main thing that will affect the chicken is the settings on the grill. For instance, if you want a more smoky flavor, you may want to smoke the meat at a lower temperature before increasing the temperature. 

You could even opt to use pellets that will bring out the smokey flavor. This requires experimenting to see which ones provide the most smokey flavor. 

That said, some brands of pellet grills will produce more smoke flavor than others. So, it doesn’t always matter what pellets you use. 

Preheat the Grill

Preheat your grill to 275℉ or 300℉ to get crispier skin. If your pellet grill has a high smoke setting, you can turn it on. 

Season the Chicken

Season the chicken with kosher salt, black pepper, and olive oil. These are our favorite seasonings when we grill. 

That said, feel free to substitute your own seasoning mixture or your favorite chicken rub. 

Spray the Grill Grates

Ensure the grates are clean from your last cook. Spray the grates with a spray that will prevent the chicken from sticking. 

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a spray, something like Pam will work just fine. 

Place The Chicken on the Grill

Put the whole chicken directly on the grill, and smoke the chicken until it reaches an internal temperate of at least 165℉.

Use a Meat Thermometer

Most grills will come with a meat thermometer probe that makes it easy to monitor your cook without having to lift the lid. 

If your grill doesn’t have one, then you’ll want to use an instant thermometer to ensure you don’t overcook or undercook it. 

How to Tell if Chicken Is Cooked Without a Thermometer

*Note the USDA recommends chicken be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. This is a safe temperature that will kill harmful bacterias that can cause food poisoning. 

Remove The Chicken

Once the chicken has cooked, grab your grilling gloves and remove it from the grill. Take it inside the house and place it on a cutting board uncovered or under tented aluminum foil to retain heat. 

If you cover it tightly, it will sweat out all of its moisture rather than reabsorbing it. 

Different meats will have different resting periods, and a whole chicken should be allowed to rest for 10-20 minutes. 

The larger cut of meat, the more resting time it will require. A smaller piece like chicken breasts only needs 5-10 minutes. 

Which Wood Pellets are Best for Chicken on The Pellet Grill?

Unlike other meats, chicken is not a strongly flavored meat, so you may want to consider lighter pellets such as Cherry, Apple, or a competition blend. 

Whenever we cook chicken, we always use an apple-flavored blend as it has a soft fruity undertone that works great with chicken and seafood. 

If I don’t have any apple-flavored ones in storage, then I’ll use a competition blend. A competition blend consists of a blend of different hardwoods, which makes it perfect for any food. 

I know some people use chicken pellets whenever they cook chicken. Some people have said that Mesquite is too strong on chicken. 


I hope this guide shows you how easy it is to grill a chicken on a pellet grill. The next time you’re at the store, pick up a whole chicken and throw it on your smoker. 

If you still haven’t bought your pellet grill, I’ve rounded up some of the best pellet grills on the market that you can check out. 

Once you cook your first chicken on a pellet grill, you’ll never buy a pre-cooked one from Sam’s or Costco again!

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