How To Get Crispy Skin On Smoked Chicken

The fun of smoked chicken fails when you can’t feel a crisp sound in its skin while taking a bite. Isn’t it? So, let’s get ready for our secret tips on how to get crispy skin on smoked chicken!

Chicken lovers like me always get worried and struggle to get crispy chicken skin. From the beginning of my grilling journey, I made a few attempts to get it in the right way. 

But the superb ideas also make my try go in vain and luckily, after so many experiments for a long time, I finally found some secret hacks which can solve this problem.

Every product is independently reviewed and selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

To make your chicken skin crispy, try out the following methods. But first, let’s get to know which is the key for perfectly crisp skin and I’ve described the reason behind the tough chicken skin on your smoked chicken below. Keep reading – 

How to Get Crispy Skin on Smoked Chicken-Make Your Next Smoked Chicken Crispy

Proper crispy skin mostly depends on how much the chicken is dry. The more you can make the chicken dry, the more crust you’ll find in the bite. 

Follow the process to get crispy skin more simply. 

  • Make Sure Chicken Is Dry
  • Uncovered In The Fridge
  • Carefully Salt Your Chicken
  • Make Sure Your Grill or Smoker Hot Enough
  • Set The Temperature For Smoking
  • Control The Heat Depending on Chicken
  • Cook Enough Time
  • Add a Few of Juices Before Grilling
  • Grill The Chicken After Smoking
  • Rest The Chicken for A Few Times
  • Enjoy Your desired Crispy Smoked Chicken

Unwrap the chicken from the packaging. Take a paper towel and press it on all sides of the chicken to remove the excess moisture as much as possible. Blot it dry until you’re not satisfied. But remember, you shouldn’t rub it.

Next, lay the chicken pieces on a sheet pan and keep them uncovered in the fridge for air-dry. You must let them air-dry for 3-4 hours. But if you can, 12 hours will be wise to make your chicken skin more crispy.

Have you ever noticed that after bathing in salt water, our skin becomes dry? The reason is that salt pulls out moisture from our skin. And we can apply this technique to chicken to remove its moisture inside the skin.

So take some salt and sprinkle it all over on chicken. But make sure you’re not using any table salt. Afterward, gently rub the chicken for a while. Give it enough time to penetrate the surface.

When you’re ready to start smoking the chicken, Take a paper towel and dab it on all sides of the chicken piece to remove the produced moisture.

Okay, after you prepare your chicken, now it’s time to prepare your grill or smoker. When it talks about smoking chicken, you should use an indirect cooking policy. 

But must remember to heat your grill/smoker at a high temperature before placing the chicken. If it’s not adequately heated, your chicken will turn tough and harder to bite. 

On top, some parts can remain undercooked, and the other parts end with dryness. When you’re assured, the smoker is hot enough to start smoking, then switch on indirect heat.

Start smoking with a low temperature between 225°-275°F. Low temperature and slow smoking allow you to get a well smokey flavor in your chicken. 

But of course, between this temperature, chicken skin can’t be crispy. Besides, you can’t start smoking at a high temperature because it’ll burn your chicken before it is adequately cooked.

Wait, don’t think about setting up the temperature; you can sit in peace because you’ve controlled the heat depending on the chicken. 

As we stated in the preceding step, below 300°F, chicken skin won’t be crispy. So raise your temperature over 325°F. If your whole chicken takes 3-4 hours to smoke, then you must keep it on high heat for at least one hour.

Cook enough time so that your chicken is cooked well inside and safe to eat. Use a digital thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the chicken. When you see it reaches 175°F, you can confirm it will finish cooking. 

Once you smoke the chicken, immediately put it on the grill and make sure to turn on high heat. Add some Vinegar spritz or a few juices just before grilling.

Apple juice or lime juice can work great. It works for moisture in the chicken along with crispy skin. Besides, you’ll get an incredible taste in every crisp bite. 

Smoking is a slow process with low temperature and slow smoke. You may wish to get a great smokey taste, but the crispness on the skin will go far.

This issue troubles me a lot because I always want to smoke chicken and crispy skin both together. But at that time, my smoker couldn’t get up from 325°F. So I came up with the idea to grill the chicken after smoking. 

As for your convenience, I’m telling you, after you finish smoking, put the chicken on the grill for 2-5 minutes. In the middle 5 minutes, your chicken skin should be crisp. And you can easily tear it with a fork or bite it up.

Resting the chicken allows in many ways to get crispy chicken skin. For the first time, you should rest it overnight, uncovered in the fridge, as it’ll help to remove extra moisture from chicken skin. 

Next, When you finish cooking the chicken in the oven or on the grill, let it get some rest before carving. Resting helps to reabsorb the juice it dried out and gives it moisture back. 

But do you like to hold the crust and softness together? If yes, first let your chicken rest for 20 minutes after finishing cooking on smoking and then heat up on the grill to make the skin crispy. 

Yes, finally you’re done finishing smoked chicken, and what’s the result? I can say without check; your chix must be your desired crispy smoked chicken. So why are you waiting? Enjoy the deliciousness of the chicken. 

Did You Know, Temperature Is The Key to Crispy Skin on Smoked Chicken

You must know to get crisp on chicken skin; there is no other alternative to smoking it in high heat. But the problem is that low and slow temperature is ideal for getting the authentic smokey flavor on your chicken

Along with this, your chicken skin will fail to crisp. To get rid of this problem, you’ve to maintain a proper balance in temperature. That’s why it’s called temperature is the key to crispy skin on smoked chicken. 

In some opinion, to adjust the temperature, you can start your cooking at around 225°F and then rise later at above 300°F. But remember to determine the duration of cooking in the rising temperature to save your chicken from drying out.

Why Is The Skin Tough On My Smoked Chicken- The Reason Behind Getting Tough Your Smoked Chicken

Well, this question can often come to your mind when you repeatedly see your smoked chicken skin is always tough. So, First, you should know the reason behind the problem to avoid next time. 

  • Skin Problem And Extra Fat

Chicken skin and rendering extra fat from it is a significant obstacle to getting a perfect crispy chicken. The skin became tough while producing excess fat in slow smoke temperature. And you can’t get crispy skin until using high heat. 

  • Low Temperature

Low temperature makes your cooking process for a more extended period than high temperature. As a result, the chicken skin overcooked and became rubbery instead of crisp. 

  • Slow Smoke 

Cooking at slow smoke also turns the chicken tough because the brunt of low smoke comes on the chicken skin for a long duration, making the skin tough and rubbery, plus the bad appetizing.

  • Moisture

Too much moisture on chicken skin is another culprit for making it tough. When too much moisture is produced from chicken skin, it resists the chicken to be crisp and makes it tough.

Be Aware of Flare-ups While Smoking with High-heat

Flare-up while smoking is a common issue which we often face. But they’re scary and even dangerous so you should be careful about that.

Significantly, the sudden flare-up scorches the food, also can burn the chicken. Do you want to prevent flare-ups? Having a look at it will save you from an unwanted disaster.

Things to Avoid For Getting Crispy Chicken Skin

Do you know what things resist you from getting crispy chicken? So I have made a list for you. Avoiding these things can give you victorious crispy chicken skin.

  • Don’t marinate the chicken if you want to save it from being soggy. Save this marinade process for skinless chicken or other meats.
  • Avoid low temperature and a longer smoking time to prevent rubbery chicken skin like a chew.
  • If you like to add baste to your chicken, avoid it very early. It would help if you used it a minute ago before taking the chicken off the grill.
  • Though BBQ sauces are your favorite, try to skip this for crispy skin. If you must want to use this, apply it just before finishing your cooking. 

With Skin VS Skinless- Which Is Better for Getting Crispy Smoked Chicken  

After reading for so long, this question can hit your mind with skin or without skin smoked chicken- which is better to be more crispy.

The main reason behind the smoked chicken is to get the natural smokey flavor in it. But here, the chicken skin stands as a barrier between meat and smoke. 

It prevents the smoke from absorbing well, which may give you a less smokey taste. But when you heat the chicken over 325°F, it renders fat from the chicken skin and lets it become more tender, thin, and crispy. 

On the other hand, you see the smoke cooking process continue at a low temperature; it took much time. During this time, skinless chicken without fatty layers makes the meat dry. 

So you end up with juiceless chicken and even rubbery. I think it’ll be better to smoke or grill with skin and on high heat to get the best crispy skin ever. 

Some Other Things to Consider for Better Result  

 There are some other things that you should consider for a fruitful result to get crispy chicken skin. So let’s jump to it.


Fuels for smoking are the determiner to control your whole smoking process evenly. A perfect balance of fuels makes your path easier to get well-tender skin. 

Wood chips touch the flavor in your skin, whereas charcoal works to control the heat and temperature. So maintaining a proper balance between them for a better result is essential.  

If you miss the right amount of charcoal, it will lead to a failure to heat the smoker. On the contrary, a small number of wood chips only give you a tiny amount of flavor. So to avoid this, make sure your fuel is on the right track for crispy chicken.


The type of smoker will also contribute to deciding whether it can help your chicken or not. Electric smokers such as  Masterbuilt Electric Smoker minimize your hassle for handling and monitoring the process. 

But I can’t assure you that the electric one can give you a solid smokey flavor like traditional. Speaking of traditional charcoal smokers, it’s the most favorite equipment for grill enthusiasts. 

Its fuel is incredible, creating a tremendous strong flavor on chickens. I’m pretty much sure you’re not going with another smoker if you use it for once.


And our last crucial determiner is the grill which also makes a huge difference for a better result. Smoking chicken on the grill is something like roasting the chicken. But the actual trick is here to keep the crispy skin after grilling. 

As for it, you should leave the chicken rest uncovered when you take it off the grill. If you covered the chicken while resting, it would remove that crispiness. 

What Type of Wood to Use for Smoking Crispy Chicken

Ask me about my favorite wood for smoking crispy chicken. My answer will be the fruitwood because its sweet smoke adds a lovely smokey flavor to the chicken piece. 

I specifically recommend cherry and applewood. Both are ideal for the taste along with the flavor of the smoked chicken. 

Otherwise, you can use any of the fruitwood. Fruit woods don’t change the flavor of chicken but touch it with a sweet smokiness. It can be said to be a perfect combination of taste. 

But are you fond of much stronger flavors? Then choose to use hickory. Otherwise, look for oak and mesquite to get the same intensive smoke flavor.

Final Thought 

At last, I hope you have got the answer to all questions hitting on your mind. Achieving a successful crispy chicken requires patience and the need to follow the tricks carefully. 

And next, it will be easier each time. We give you all the secrets about how to get crispy skin on smoked chicken. So now it’s up to you to make the proper use of them. We never know which tricks can do magic for us.

No matter how many times you fail to make the chicken crispy, don’t give up your hope. Learning never ends, and we chicken lovers love to experiment to discover new more hacks. Right?

 Let’s overcome the fear and cheer up your heart for the next try. 

Leave a Comment