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Chinese Smoked Chicken (Instant Pot)

Marinade the chicken overnight or up to 2 days. Pressure steaming the chicken prior to smoking ensures tender meat.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 12 hours 40 minutes
Servings 6


  • 4 pound whole chicken
  • 4 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup hickory chips
  • 2 tablespoons black tea leaves I used oolong
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil


Marinating Chicken

  1. Brown salt and peppercorns in a dry skillet until peppercorns are fragrant; cool.

    Rub salt peppercorn mixture all over chicken, outside and inside.

    Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.

Steaming Chicken (Instant Pot Method)

  1. Pour 1 cup water in bottom of Instant Pot. Place steam rack in pot and put chicken on top. 

  2. Steam on high pressure for 25 minutes. Let pressure naturally release for 15 minutes; release remaining pressure. Remove chicken and let cool. You can proceed with smoking the chicken at this point or refrigerate and smoke later.

Wok-Smoking Chicken

  1. Line inside of wok and wok cover with foil. Place hickory chips and tea leaves in bottom of foil-lined wok.

  2. Place oiled rack in wok; place steamed chicken on top of rack. Cover wok with foil-lined wok cover, and smoke over medium heat for 15 minutes.

  3. Turn off heat and let stand for 5 minutes to allow smoke to dissipate.

  4. Remove chicken and brush with sesame oil. 

  5. Cut chicken into small pieces and serve.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Florence Lin's Chinese Regional Cookbook