Hanging Complete Smoked Hen: Thermal Rules and Juicy Meat

There’s nothing fairly like an entire roasted hen for a great dinner. There’s no want for a celebration or something fancy; roast hen is sweet sufficient for a pleasant event, but humble sufficient for a no-stress weeknight. And what might make it even higher? Smoke! Smoked complete hen is a pure delight, particularly when you prepare dinner it appropriately. And one enjoyable approach to try this is in a barrel cooker. We checked out this recipe from Jeff Phillips of SmokingMeat.com for an entire hanging hen, and beloved the thermal ideas at play, so we thought we’d cross it on to you. Examine why it really works and do it beneath!

Chicken on a cutting board with thermometers

Why smoke a hen hanging in a barrel?

Earlier than we get to how, let’s speak for a second about why we predict this methodology is especially good. As from studying this weblog is the previous (until you’re new right here—during which case, welcome!) totally different elements of the hen are greatest when cooked to totally different temperatures. Breast is greatest if not cooked above 160°F (71°F), however thigh and leg meat isn’t even excellent in any respect till it’s over 170°F (77°C). (If the concept of hen cooked beneath 160°F scares you, you must learn our put up about hen inside temperatures. Juicier hen awaits!)

close-up of roasted smoked chicken

After all, this could make cooking a hen correctly considerably tough—however that desired differential is what makes the barrel an ideal place to prepare dinner your hen. See, when you cling your hen with a hook by the breast, it should cling in order that the thighs are pointed extra straight on the fireplace. They’ll take in extra direct warmth than the breasts as a result of they’re nearer to and dealing with the coals. The breasts, in the meantime, is not going to get the radiative warmth, and thus will prepare dinner extra slowly.

So within the time that it takes to get your breasts to 157°F (69°C), your thighs have a a lot better shot of getting as much as 175°F (79°C), the place they actually begin to get good.

You’ll need to monitor the breast meat’s temperature in the course of the prepare dinner. Breast meat has a really small window of doneness between unsafe and dry, in order that’s the place you need to put your probes for monitoring. We used our Smoke X2™ to observe each the pit temp and our hen temp whereas we cooked, then verified the breast temp with our Thermapen® ONE and checked the thigh temp to see the place it had landed—precisely the place we wished it to! Juicy breasts, tender thighs and legs—perfection.

temping a chicken on a cutting board

How you can smoke a dangling hen

To ensure our hen pores and skin is crisper and tastier than typical for smoked birds, we’re upping the temp a bit bit. Get your barrel operating at 275°F (135°C). To observe that temp, cling your Smoke X2’s Professional-Collection® air probe over one of many bars in order that it’s about as removed from the coals as your hen might be. This provides you with a extra correct studying of what your hen is experiencing.

coals in the bottom of a pit barrel cooker

Season your hen effectively, then impale it on a hook inserted into the neck cavity and thru the ribcage up by one of many breasts. Impaling the entrance of the chook will assist level the thighs in direction of the coals, like we wish. Insert a probe (this an incredible use case for the two.5″ needle probe) into the thermal middle (deepest half) of 1 breast, and set the high-temp alarm for 157°F (69°C).

As we stated above, you’ll prepare dinner till that high-temp alarm goes off, then confirm the temps together with your Thermapen ONE. The outcomes are smoky, tender, juicy, and scrumptious.

This smoked complete hen is a no-fuss, dish that delivers large on taste and tastiness. Pair it with potatoes, rice, pasta, even, and it turns into an entire meal that impresses. And with the reassurance you get from Smoke X2 that you simply’ve cooked it at the precise temperature and to the precise temperature, you may know you’re feeding your loved ones meals that’s as secure as it’s tasty. Warmth up the barrel, give it a attempt, and revel in! Completely happy cooking!

Smoked chicken on cutting board with thermometers


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Smoke-roasted whole chicken

Hanging Complete Smoked Hen recipe

  • 1 complete hen
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 23 Tbsp your favourite poultry rub (or mixture thereof)


  • Preheat your barrel smoker to 275°F (135°C). Cling the air probe to your Smoke X2 within the pit on the stage your hen might be. Set the high-temp alarm for 300°F (149°C) and your low-temp alarm for 250°F (121°C). Add a piece of your required smoking wooden to the coals. 

The air probe in its place

  • Whereas the barrel heats, pat the hen dry with paper towels and rub it throughout with oil. 
  • Liberally season the chook throughout together with your desired rub(s). 

Seasoning the chicken

  • Stick a hook into the neck gap and thru one breast, going between the bones of the ribcage. 
  • Insert a probe into the thickest a part of the breast and cling the chook within the smoker from one of many horizontal bars. 

Hanging the chicken in the smoker

  • Set the high-temp alarm in your Smoke X2 to 157°F (69°C).
  • Shut the smoker lid and prepare dinner. You’ll be able to take the receiver from the Smoke X2 into the home with you; it should proceed to speak. 
  • When the high-temp alarm sounds on the hen, verify the temperature together with your Thermapen ONE. Should you don’t discover something decrease than 157°F (69°C), the hen is finished!

Temping the chicken

  • Take away the chook from the smoker and let it relaxation for 10 minutes earlier than carving. 
  • Slice in and revel in!

Smoked chicken with thermometers

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