Recipe: Apple Wood Smoked Chicken on the Grill

Story by Jim McGrody, photo by Sharyn Morrow.

Cary, NC – To all you backyard chefs out there – summer is closing in on us and your grill is calling your name.

What could be better then a fresh grilled hamburger on your very own grill? Well, actually, lots of things.

How about beef brisket with an Ancho Chili rub or maybe tea smoked chicken served with charred corn on the cob? How about cedar plank smoked salmon with a Cajun remoulade or even a hickory smoked pork loin with a grilled peach salsa?

Does this sound hard to do? Actually, it is not.

Great Food in Your Own Backyard

This summer, I want to challenge readers of CaryCitizen to go beyond the burgers, hotdogs, bratwurst and – when you feel real adventurous – the flat iron steak or NY strip steak. These are all great but you can do so much more with your grill! So break out those tongs and spatulas, grab a cold beer and head on out to discover the possibilities of great food in your own back yard.

Recipe: Apple Wood Smoked Chicken on the Grill

As I am writing this, I am actually smoking two whole chickens over apple wood on my grill by the pool. I have rubbed them with a black peppercorn, rosemary, sea salt  sage and garlic rub. Using whole chickens is an economical way to feed your family. When you buy a whole chicken you save money by the pound. Another great benefit is when roasted or smoked the skin and the bones help retain moisture, leaving a succulent bird for your whole family to enjoy.

Let me walk you through this easy recipe…after this you will think twice about hamburgers and hot dogs.


You will need:

  • 1 whole roaster chicken (remove giblets)
  • ¼ cup fresh rosemary… don’t even think about using dry rosemary!
  • 2 Tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbs black pepper coarse grind
  • ¼ Tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tsp dry mustard
  • 1 Tsp fresh oregano, chopped fine
  • 1 Tsp chopped garlic. Fresh.
  • Apple wood or hickory chips

Cooking Directions

Mix all ingredients together and rub all over the chicken, making sure to get some in the cavity.

Place chicken over indirect heat in a charcoal grill. Add apple wood chips and smoke for approx. 1.5 hours, depending on heat of grill. Watch closely and add charcoal as needed.

Cook until internal temp of 165 degrees has been reached.  Allow to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.


Jim McGrody is Director of Food and Nutrition at Rex Healthcare in Raleigh. His website is