This Texas smoked chicken is made by rubbing whole chickens with an ancho and piloncillo spice rub and then slowly smoking them on your grill or smoker until tender and juicy. Easy and perfect for entertaining a crowd. Here’s how.
Juicy, tender, and subtly spiced, this Texas smoked chicken is as good as barbecue gets with its intriguing four-ingredient spice rub that beautifully melds heat with sweet and a traditional low-and-slow, hands-off spell over your favorite wood. The recipe is sized to feed a crowd with little effort although you can easily scale things down for a more modest family meal. Simply reduce the number of chickens as desired and adjust the amount of rub accordingly—or simply make the entire batch of rub and keep some on hand for next time. Because there will be a next time.–Jenny Howard
*NOTE: WHAT IS PILONCILLO AND HOW DO I USE IT?
The spice rub for this Texas smoked chicken features piloncillo, an unprocessed form of sugar that’s made simply by boiling down cane juice. As such, it retains its natural caramel color and rich, almost molasses-like taste. It’s akin to Mexican brown sugar and is typically sold in cone shapes at Mexican and Latin American markets and bodegas, where it may be labeled as panela. And, of course, you can order it online.
To measure piloncillo for recipes, place the cone in a resealable plastic bag (maybe double up on the bag) and pound it with a meat mallet or rolling pin (or, in a pinch, a hammer) to break it apart into relatively evenly sized granules until powdery.
Texas Smoked Chicken
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 4 H, 5 M
- Serves 20
IngredientsEmail Grocery List
Recipe Testers Reviews
“As far as smoked chicken goes, it's about as good as it gets." That's what one of our guests had to say about this chicken. Who am I to argue? The chicken turned out perfectly moist and juicy and the skin was nice and crisp.
The sweet rub softened the typical edge you get when smoking, which was a really nice change. Not too sweet, just right. No one asked for BBQ sauce! So again, as far as smoked chicken goes, it's as good as it gets! Although another tablespoon of ancho chili powder wouldn't have hurt!
I used hickory wood chips but didn't weigh them. I cooked two flyers for 4 hours at 225°F on our Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker.
It was tricky getting the piloncillo into a rub-ready state but persistence pays off big here.
Can't wait to try this rub on other proteins. First up, I'm thinking salmon.
This recipe made a juicy, tender smoked chicken that we all enjoyed. In fact, I had never seen my son eat so much chicken in one sitting.
The only thing I felt could have been better was more smoke. I used 3 chunks of pecan and added all of it at the beginning. There was terrific smoke but only for the first hour. It gave the chicken a lovely color and the cooked chicken smelled wonderfully smoky, but the actual taste was only mildly smoky. I think if I had added wood chunks continuously, there would have been a more pronounced smoke flavor.
I quartered the rub recipe and it still made a lot!
I served the smoked chicken with a Greek salad and biscuits. No leftovers!