Chicken is a familiar ingredient, but many cooks like to brush up on the basics before firing up the grill. Here are some answers to the most common questions we’ve been asked about cooking chicken on a Traeger.
Generally, a one-half pound of chicken per person should be plenty, though those with bigger appetites may want a three-quarter pound serving. That comes to about one chicken breast, a thigh and leg, or 4 to 6 whole wings.
A whole chicken is usually divided into four pieces: breast, wings, thigh, and legs. Every part of the chicken is ideal for grilling or smoking. We recommend smoking a whole, bone-in, skin-on chicken for added flavor and moisture.
There are hundreds of chicken breeds, but the breed rarely affects how you’ll cook your chicken. The most commonly cooked breeds of chicken include Bresse, Cornish (aka Indian Game), Ixworth, and Jersey Giant.
Spatchcocking a chicken is easier than it sounds and is a great way to speed up the cooking process. You’ll want to have some shears to slice out the backbone, but a large knife will work if you don’t have kitchen shears.
Many Traeger users start with chicken, and for good reason -- it’s fast, easy, and tastes great! Here are a few of our favorite chicken recipes including from easy, early grilling recipes to more advanced flavor combinations.
Chicken is a versatile meat that can handle almost any flavor you throw at it. Whether you’re looking for spicy Nashville-style heat, classic barbecue, or curry flavors, chicken can take those flavors without having to worry too much about the natural flavor of the meat clashing with its seasonings.
Ensuring your chicken is healthy and fresh makes all the difference in your meal. Look for a chicken whose skin appears white and milky and doesn’t have many blood spots. These are the signs of healthy, well-fed chickens who didn’t endure too much stress in life. Chickens that appear gray or have a lot of blood spots will likely have unpleasantly tough or spongy meat.
One of the reasons we like cooking chicken is that it doesn’t take a lot of prep time. When you’re cooking a whole chicken, the main steps are to pat the bird dry (don’t rinse it as that can spread germs throughout your kitchen), apply your seasoning of choice, and cook it to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cooking a chicken should take about an hour at 375 degrees, but it can vary depending on the size of the chicken, the outside temperature, and more. You should ensure that your chicken cooks to at least 165 degrees in its thickest part. Ideally, breast meat will be cooked to exactly 165 degrees as it dries out quickly when cooked to a higher temperature.
Leftover chicken should be refrigerated immediately and consumed within 3 to 4 days of cooking. The leftover meat could be incorporated into soups, tacos, and sandwiches.
Do you learn better from watching the experts? Check out our video where pitmaster Matt Pittman walks us through every step of cooking a whole chicken on a Traeger.