what to spray on chicken while smoking

Last Updated on: 8th November 2023, 10:32 am

Are you ready to elevate your smoked chicken to new heights of flavor? Discover the secret ingredient that can take your culinary creations to the next level.

In this informative blog post, we unravel the mystery of what to spray on chicken while smoking, ensuring your meat remains moist, tender, and bursting with mouthwatering flavors.

Get ready to tantalize your taste buds and impress your guests as we delve into the art of perfectly smoked chicken.

Are you curious to unlock the secrets of exceptional smoky goodness? Let’s dive in!

In short, the answer lies in a homemade spritz packed with flavor-enhancing ingredients.

A simple mixture of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, herbs, spices, and citrus juice creates a delectable spray that not only keeps your chicken moist during the smoking process but also adds an irresistible depth of taste.

The acidity of the vinegar tenderizes the meat, while the oil and citrus juice contribute to beautifully golden and crispy skin.

With our expert recipe and tips, you’ll have the power to transform your smoked chicken into a culinary masterpiece.

But wait, there’s more to discover! In this article, we explore a variety of flavor combinations and marinade options that will leave your taste buds dancing with delight.

Get ready to unlock the full potential of your smoked chicken and create a culinary experience that will have your guests begging for seconds.

So, let’s embark on this flavor adventure together and take your smoked chicken to new heights of culinary excellence!

As per general rule, you can use any liquid for spritzing chicken as long as it can pass through the spray bottle and you are satisfied with it’s flavor.

To prevent it from drying out, different people use different liquids to add moisture.

Although whether you need to spritz it or not is another debate, you still need to admit that it helps to keep the chicken soft and tender throughout the process.

Spritzing is a complex topic and there are hundreds of options out there to use.

But having too many choices also makes it overwhelming.

So a a lot of beginners wonder what to spray on meat while smoking.

We are going to discuss it in detail in this blog post.

But if you dive towards perfection, then there are several ifs and buts involved.

we have been asked about spritzing liquid several times and today we are going to explain it in detail.

we have also published a guide on What to spray on meat when smoking. you can check that out.

Let’s get started.

Best liquids to spray on chicken while smoking

There are several options when determining what to spray on chicken when smoking.

Any liquid that possesses these three characteristics may be used.

  • First and foremost, it must be of high food quality. It is the most significant feature of the spritzing liquid since it will affect the quality of the smoked chicken if it is not palatable.
  • The substance should not be combustible as well.

    Although the chicken won’t come into touch with the flames directly when smoking, the temperature may occasionally overshoot or the smoker may experience abrupt flare-ups.
    Therefore, the liquid used for spraying should not ignite.
  • Finally, it must be thin enough to pass through the nozzle of the spray bottle.

    Furthermore, it is critical because viscous liquids cannot be spritzed since the spray bottle cannot accept them. If you want to use a heavy liquid solution, consider mopping.
spray bottle

There are a variety of solutions that may be sprayed on chicken to prevent drying it out when smoking.

However, you must make your decision based on how it will impact the flavor and look of the chicken being smoked.

The most popular liquids for spritzing chicken are listed below.


i know it sounds funny when you come searching for what to spray on chicken while smoking and get the answer :WATER!

but Water is the most often used liquid for spraying chicken during smoking.

It is often preferred over other liquids because it retains moisture while keeping the natural flavor of the chicken and spices.

water on table

You must be cautious when spritzing water because too much water may wash away the rub that has been applied to the surface of the smoked chicken, even though it does not influence the taste of the chicken.

Water is your best choice if you merely need to retain moisture and don’t want to dive into the complexities of flavor maintenance.

Because of its simple structure, it has long been used for spritzing.

apple cider

Another liquid typically used to spray poultry while smoking is apple cider vinegar.

When you want to improve the flavor of chicken while still keeping the moisture throughout the smoking process, it is typically utilized.

Smoked chicken benefits from adding apple cider vinegar to improve both flavor and appearance.

It can react with the spices in the rub when combined with alcohol, helping to produce a darker and thicker bark.

apple juice

Another typical beverage for spritzing birds is apple juice.

When spritzing, apple juice is a great replacement for water since it may increase the taste of the chicken while also keeping it from drying out.

apple juice on table

When using apple juice as a spritzing agent, take in mind that the flavor of the chicken may become somewhat sweeter or more understated.

The obvious explanation for this is that apple juice complements other fruit liquids and can enhance the flavor of the chicken.

Apple juice may change the chicken’s look in addition to flavor.

Apple juice’s sugar content can caramelize during smoking and give the chicken a brownish hue, which is the cause.

Due to its taste, it is still one of the most popular spritzing liquids.


Although butter is seldom used to spray chicken during smoking, it is one of the finest methods to keep the chicken moist.

However, since butter is often delivered in a solid condition, you must thin it down so that it may pass through the nozzle of a spray bottle.

To use the butter for spritzing, you must first lower its viscosity.

To do this, you first have to melt the butter so that it becomes liquid.

To ensure that it can readily travel through the spray bottle, add additional water after that.

Spray IngredientPurposeRecommended Usage
Apple Cider VinegarAdds flavor and helps tenderize the chickenSpray every 30 minutes during smoking
Olive OilHelps retain moisture and enhances the textureSpray before and during smoking as needed
Fruit Juice (e.g., orange, pineapple)Adds sweetness and helps with caramelizationSpray during the last hour of smoking

The addition of butter to the chicken is fantastic. being smoked because it can keep the chicken’s moisture while also softening the texture.

You must be careful not to apply it excessively because doing so might make the chicken seem untidy.


Last but not least, bone broth is an excellent addition to your barbecue toolset since it keeps the chicken juicy without boosting the sugar level.

It is an excellent option if you are spritzing chicken for the first time.

The technique of spraying chicken while it is being smoked may seem intimidating at first owing to the difficulty in choosing the appropriate liquid.

Because additional liquids might alter the appearance of the chicken and apple juice has more sugar,

However, since broth is a flavorless liquid that does not affect the flavor or appearance of chicken, using it for spritzing is a safe bet for inexperienced pitmasters.

However, before using it, you must first establish its makeup.

It usually simply comprises salt and apple cider, although it may also contain other substances.

frequently asked questions

let’s discuss some common FAQs regarding what to spray on chicken while smoking and what not to.

When to spritz chicken while smoking

You’ll need to decide which liquid to spray on the chicken while it smokes, as well as when to do so.
Spraying the chicken too quickly might result in a sloppy mess.

While waiting too long to apply will be ineffective since the chicken will have dried out.
In general, you should start pouring liquid over the chicken after it has been smoking for 90 minutes and produced bark.

After that, spray the chicken every 30 to 45 minutes to keep it soft throughout the smoking process.
After 90 to 2 hours, begin dripping liquid over the chicken.

After two hours, the bulk of the inside moisture will have evaporated, and spritzing will keep you from drying out.
When deciding whether to spray chicken, consider the bark as well, particularly if you are smoking soft chicken or did not check the time for any reason.

If the bark has already developed, spray the bird to keep it from hardening or darkening.
After you start spritzing, consider repeating the procedure in 30-45 minutes.

It’s a good way to prevent messy overspraying of chicken.
Furthermore, excessive lid opening may result in heat loss.

Why do we spray chicken as it’s being smoked

Spraying liquid over smoked chicken is nothing new.
The primary purpose for spritzing chicken is to keep it moist on the inside and prevent it from drying out.

A time-consuming task like smoking might take hours.
During the first several hours, the chicken’s moisture content evaporates, causing it to harden and dry.

To remedy this problem, chicken is spritzed with different liquids.
Spraying may also assist chicken by causing smoke to attach to the surface of the meat.

If the surface of the chicken is still wet and chilly, it will be able to absorb more smoke, contributing to a delicious smokey taste.
Spritzing also assists in the production of high-quality bark.

The bark is an important component of well-prepared chicken that adds to its appetizing appearance.
Spraying may help absorb more smoke and accelerate the oxidation of spices in rubs, improving the flavor of the bark.

Finally, but not least, spritzing helps to create a smoke ring on top of smoked chicken.
Chicken myoglobin allows myoglobin-reacting gases to cling more firmly to the surface of chilled chicken.

This reaction results in the formation of a smoke ring.


You can several liquids for spritzing chicken but the most prominent of them are water, butter, apple cider vinegar, and apple juice.

While choosing a liquid to spritz chicken, you should make sure it is food-grade and non-flammable.

if you want to read more then consider checking our guide on What to spray on the ribs while smoking

Jakob miller