Free Shipping on Cookers. SHOP NOW

Chicken or Cornish Game Hen Whole/Halves 101

Smoked whole or halved chickens are easy and delicious in the Barrel House Cooker. Follow these instructions for the best results.

Chicken Whole/Halves

Items Needed

  • Seasoning
  • Cook Time: 2-2.5 hours
  • Meat Internal Temp: 165-175°F (breast)
Print Friendly and PDF



It is important to follow the easy lighting instructions. When the cooker is lit correctly, it operates at the correct temperature for the entire cook.

We highly recommend the use of a digital instant read thermometer, such as the Javelin Instant Read Thermometer, to check the internal temp of food for doneness. This quickly ensures perfectly cooked food to your preferred level of doneness (e.g. rare vs. well done).

Chickens Hanging with the EZ-Load System

Chickens stacked on the optional EZ-Load Turkey Plus Kit.

  1. Prepare the chicken(s) for cooking. If using hooks, it is recommended to halve the chicken(s) for easier cooking. If using the EZ-Load Turkey Plus Kit, leave the chicken(s) whole.
  2. Generously coat chicken with a seasoning of your choice.
  3. If using hooks, insert the hook through the thickest part of the breast, under the bone, about 2-3" from the end with the wings and leg pointing down. Make sure the hook is all the way through and the point is pointing up.
    1. If hooking a whole chicken, use two hooks. Enter through the neck cavity, one through the thickest part of each breast bone with the legs pointing down. The points of the hooks should be facing up and slightly away from each other.
    2. If using the EZ-Load Turkey Plus Kit, insert the long hook through the neck cavity so that the hook is at the top of the neck and the pointed end is down by the legs. If only cooking one chicken, thread a Cross Bar on either the second or third level depending on the size of the chicken. If cooking two chickens, get the first chicken as high up as possible on the bar and place a Cross Bar under it, then place the second chicken below it with another Cross Bar underneath. The order should be hook, chicken, Cross Bar, chicken, Cross Bar.
  4. Once the cooker is lit according to the instructions, hang the chicken(s) on the top level of the cooker with either the H-Frame or EZ-Load Turkey Plus Kit. Close the lid.
  5. Cooking Temperature: When properly started, the temperature inside the barrel will be 275-315°F; however, the thermometer will typically read between 220-260°F. The lid thermometer shows a lower temperature than where the food is cooking because it is affected by the exhaust.
  6. Let the chicken cook for approximately 2 hours or until the breast meat internal temperature has reached a minimum of 165°F. Poultry is not safe to consume at any temperature less than 165°F.
  7. Remove the chicken from the Barrel House Cooker and unhook it.
  8. You're now ready to enjoy juicy, flavorful chicken!

Don't have a Barrel House Cooker?

Try it risk-free for 30 days!

Learn More
Shop Now