Yup, you really can cook a whole chicken when you are camping!
Get ready for camping season! Or glamping season. Whatever your preference, I won’t judge. I’m all about the air mattress, myself. Or better yet, an air conditioned cabin and hot showers. But that’s just me. See, my favorite part about camping is the food!
Hence this campfire smoked rotisserie chicken recipe. 🙂
Cook this chicken at your campsite or right in your back yard!
This little campfire chicken experiment actually happened in our back yard. We don’t get to go camping as much these days with our two young ones and two full time jobs, so we just sort of turned our backyard into a campsite. Hey, if you ignore the fact that there is laundry inside the house, it’s almost like we’re on vacation. Kinda.
Anyway, point is, you can cook chicken over a campfire any where. Whether you’re actually camping, or “camping” in your backyard.
How do you cook chicken over a campfire?
You can easily smoke a chicken over a campfire, you just need a rotisserie style set up and some time.
We actually built our own rotisserie and by we I mean the Mr. There were some 4x4s lying around from the garden bed we had just dug up which made a perfect pair of stanchions for the spit. He cut two pieces, each 36″ tall then drilled holes towards the top, big enough for the spit to go through.
After that, he secured the boards along the bottom with a scrap piece of metal he had but said they were just for added measure and that you could probably get away with not doing that. The 4x4s were placed on either side of the firepit, far enough away from the fire itself of course, and we used the loose stones from our firepit to secure them in place. The actual spit he got from his sister who had it from an old grill.
What tools do you need to cook chicken over a campfire?
If you’re not wanting to go to the trouble of making your own spit, or would just find it more convenient to buy a spit, check out this Grizzly Spit Rotisserie that has great reviews and an electric rotator to help with even cooking.
Campfire Smoked Chicken: Tips for Success
A few notes from the Mr: The chickens should be about 30″ above your hot fire. Smoke is good and heat is good, flames are bad! Don’t let the flames touch your chicken.
A Few Words of Caution
Do not leave your slow-cooking chicken unattended. Be sure to check the internal temperature of your chicken to be sure it is fully cooked before consuming. Depending on the size, temperature of the fire and wind conditions, cook times may vary greatly.
Your best bet is to use a digital thermometer to check the chicken for doneness. The safe internal temperate for chicken is 165°F according to the FDA.
Campfire Corn on the Cobb!
Want an easy side dish to go with this campfire chicken, smoke some corn too! Throw some whole, husk-on, sweet corn into the hot embers while you let the chicken rest. They should cook in about 5 minutes and ideally you’ll want to soak them in water first so the husk doesn’t completely burn before they’re cooked. This also helps to sort of steam the corn inside.
Other Sides to Serve with the Campfire Chicken
Corn and chicken make a complete meal when you’re camping, right? But in case you want to step it up, here are some other ideas that would go well with the smokey flavor of this chicken:
And all this washes down nicely with our famous camping sangria.
For more camping recipes, check out my camping food Pinterest board!
Campfire Smoked Rotisserie Chicken
- 2 whole chickens
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup salt
- 1 gallon tap water
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 2 cups water or use beer for extra flavor
- Barbecue sauce to taste for serving
- Get your camp fire to a point where there are plenty of hot coals in the pit.
- Place two chickens in large stock pot. Add salt and sugar then fill pot with water to cover chickens. Let chicken sit in brine for at least 4 hours or overnight. (Refrigerate if letting sit overnight).
- Truss your chickens (Watch this video if you've never done this before) and skewer the chickens firmly onto the rotisserie spit over your campfire.
- Combine apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, white pepper and water or beer in a squirt bottle. Douse chicken with this mixture.
- Rotate spit every 20-30 mins (10-15 if your fire is roaring). Add wood to the fire as needed to keep fire nice and hot but don't let flames touch the meat. Douse chickens once an hour with brown sugar and vinegar mixture.
- Cook chickens for 4-8 hours depending on how hot your fire is. Chicken is done when thickest part of bird is 165˚. Let meat rest for 1020 minutes before carving. Top with barbecue sauce and serve.