Easy Smoked Chicken Breast

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Because chicken breast is a lean cut of meat, it may be challenging to maintain moist and soft while cooking.

Low and slow smoking is an excellent way for tenderizing tough and fatty types of meat, but how well does it work for lean chicken breast?Exceptionally good.

In this recipe, I’ll go over the finest way as well as some fantastic recommendations for keeping your smoked chicken breast juicy.

Large chicken breasts work best for smoking

Getting the appropriate cut for the dish is the first step in any meal preparation.

Larger chicken breasts are preferable. Small chicken breast slices are not appropriate for smoking. Because chicken breasts are inherently lean, the smaller they are, the more they tend to dry out.

Choose the largest chicken breasts you can find, and if you’re smoking several breasts, get them all as near to the same size as possible. This ensures that they are all properly cooked at the same time.

The four breasts used in this recipe weighted around 0.8 pounds apiece.

Aside from size, choose the greatest quality chicken you can afford. If possible, I try to purchase free-range. You can’t go wrong with Porter Road’s boneless chicken breasts.

How long does it take to smoke chicken breast?

When smoking any cut of chicken, it is critical to ensure that it is thoroughly cooked.

Most cuts of meat should be checked for doneness by feel when smoked.

Chicken is the polar opposite, and you must ensure that the inside temperature is within a safe eating range to prevent major food illness.

I usually use an instant-read thermometer, such as the Thermapen ONE, to check the interior temperature of each breast at the conclusion of the cook; it just takes a second.

The following items will assist you in cooking these chicken breasts:

  • A Smoker (I used a Weber Smokey Mountain)
  • A Chimney Starter
  • Lump Charcoal
  • A thermometer with many probes (I used a Thermoworks Smoke X4)
  • Instant read thermometer
  • Rub shaker

How to smoke chicken breasts

1. Prepping the chicken

If you bought skinless and boneless chicken breast fillets, you shouldn’t have much cutting to do. If they have a little excess fat on the edges, just clip them off using a sharp kitchen knife.

If you can’t locate skinless breasts, the skin peels off easily.

Because chicken breast is a relatively lean cut that is prone to drying up, brining it is a terrific method that always results in a juicier end product.

There are two options: dry brine or wet brine. I like a moist brine for chicken breasts since it has a stronger flavor. If it were a full chicken, I’d go with the dry brine.

A wet brine is basically salty water to which sugars are added to balance out the saltiness. The brine may then be flavored with other ingredients. Anything you think would complement the protein being brined, in this example chicken, so citrus, garlic, and a bit chilli is usually a good combination.

The goal of your brine is to introduce as much moisture into the breast as possible when smoking it, as well as to offer some additional flavor.

It’s great if you can brine the chicken overnight in the fridge, or at least for four hours.

2. Setting up your smoker

You will need to prepare a smoker for indirect low and slow cooking.

For this dish, I utilized a 22 Weber Smokey Mountain. They are a simple bullet type smoker, and adjusting the temperature is simple. Once you’ve chosen your preferred temperature, they’ll remain there until the fuel runs out.

So 275°F is a wonderful suggested temperature for chicken. If you smoke at a lower temperature of 225F to 250F, you will have to keep the chicken in for longer, and the possibilities of it drying out will rise.

Begin by filling the charcoal ring halfway with unlit lump charcoal, then halfway filling and igniting a chimney starter with lump charcoal.

Place the completely alighted charcoal in the center of the unlit charcoal, along with a couple of bits of cherry wood for smoke.

Begin building the smoker by placing a foil pan under the cooking grate to capture the drippings.

Adjust the bowl vents, leave the lid vent open, or leave the exhaust vent open to stabilize the temperature.

3. Seasoning the chicken

While your smoker is heating up, start preparing your seasoning.

It took me a bit to find a nice chicken rub that I liked. Something that works well on a variety of birds.

As you can see, I apply this rub on my Christmas turkey.

It’s become a really popular custom that my family looks forward to, so I’ve started using it on chicken as well. Mostly because something this delicious shouldn’t have to be available just once a year.

It’s as simple as weighing out the items below and placing them in a rub shaker if you have one. Before applying it, give it a thorough shake to combine everything together.

The rub will keep fresh in a closed container for around 2 months. I’ve never had a batch survive that long since we use it so often in my home.

Remove the chicken from the wet brine after it has been brining overnight. Pat it dry with paper towels. It is not necessary to rinse it with water.

Once dry, shake the bottle with the rub in it and start coating the chicken breasts all over from a height of roughly 12 inches, being careful not to miss the edges.

Applying the rub from a height of 12 ensures consistent coverage since the varied rub particles must split and distribute evenly, eliminating clumping. This will offer more uniform covering, ensuring that each mouthful tastes precisely the same.

Allow 30 minutes after coating the chicken breasts in the rub for the rub to bond to the chicken before placing them in the smoker.

4. Smoke the chicken breasts

Place the chicken breasts on the smoker’s top cooking rack, slide an internal meat probe into one of them, and set the temperature to 130F.

5. Glaze the chicken

At the conclusion of the cooking process, I prefer to glaze the chicken breasts. You may skip this step if you want to keep the tastes simple, but I strongly suggest trying the glaze.

set all of the glaze ingredients in a heatproof pot and set it in the smoker until the chicken reaches 130F. This will dissolve the sugars and enable the components to combine.

After an hour of smoking, the inside temperature should be 130F; at this time, remove the glaze from the smoker and leave aside.

The rub should be applied on the bird and should not be scraped off. Now, lay the chicken in a pan with 7oz of unsalted butter and cover with foil.

This will just guarantee that the chicken remains moist. Waiting until the rub has set before putting the chicken to the butter bath ensures that the rub remains on the chicken and does not wash off as the butter melts.

Return this to the smoker and adjust the internal temperature to 155F. The internal temperature will take 45 minutes to an hour to attain this depending on the size of the breasts.

When the internal temperature reaches 155°F, take the chicken from the foil-lined pan and lay it on a wire rack to cool.

Cover each breast with the glaze you created with a cup of the melted butter, working fast to get them back into the smoker.

Set an interior temperature alert for 162F. At this point in the cook, the internal temperature is steadily rising, and it will only take another 10 to 15 minutes to reach 162F.

Once they reach 162F, they may rest for 5 minutes under foil, during which time they will continue to cook and the internal temperature will climb to 165F, the ideal safe temperature for chicken breast.

More Smoked Chicken Recipes To Try

  • Spatchcock Chicken Smoked with Smokey Barbecue Sauce
  • Smoked Chicken Maryland
  • Smoked and Fried Buttermilk Chicken Thighs
  • Easy Chicken Wing Brine
  • Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich
  • Smoked Chicken Thighs
  • Rotisserie Chicken on a Charcoal Grill


How long does it take to smoke chicken breast at 225?

Smoke your chicken breast until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F at 225°F. This should take around one hour.

How long does it take to smoke chicken breasts?

How long should chicken breasts be smoked? It will take around 2-3 hours to smoke the chicken breasts, depending on their size. Smoke the chicken low and slow at 225° to allow the smoke to enter the meat and provide a smokey flavor. During the final hour of smoking, keep a tight eye on the chicken.

How do you keep chicken moist when smoking?

The secret to moist, supple, and juicy smoked chicken breasts is to cook them at a low temperature for an extended length of time. When it comes to smoking meat, the phrase “low and slow” is crucial. Keep the temperature as near to 225°F as feasible, but no higher than 250°F.

How to smoke chicken breast at 225?

Preheat. Preheat the smoker to 225°F using your preferred hardwood.
Season. Drizzle olive oil over the chicken breasts and massage to coat.
Smoke. Place the chicken breasts directly on the grill racks and cook for 1 hour.
Rest. Take the chicken out of the smoker.
Dig in.

Is it better to smoke a chicken at 225 or 250?

The ideal temperature for smoking chicken is about 225 degrees. To ensure uniform cooking, preheat your smoker.

Is it safe to smoke chicken at 250?

Place the chicken on the smoker to smoke. Close the pellet grill cover and cook the chicken at 250°F for approximately 3 hours, or until it reaches 165°F. Rest for 5-10 minutes and then enjoy!

Do you flip chicken breast when smoking?

No, since the smoke and heat surround the chicken (unlike grilled chicken breast, which has the heat source immediately underneath it), you do not need to turn them while smoking.

How do you smoke a chicken for beginners?

Buy a fresh chicken and prevent blood stains or injected flesh when smoking a whole chicken.
The bird should be washed.
A dry rub is used to season the chicken.
Preheat your grill to 225°F.
Smoke for 1 hour at 225°F.
Then, raise the heat to 350°F to crisp up the skin.
Cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Does smoking chicken breast dry it out?

At 150°, the flesh is completely white and somewhat harder. And it’s still very juicy. The flesh fibers continue to compress as the temperature of the chicken breast climbs to 155 degrees, squeezing out additional liquid. At 160 degrees Fahrenheit, the smoked chicken breast is on the verge of becoming dry and stringy.

Should I put oil on chicken before smoking?

Quick note: smoking may frequently result in leathery skin, so I use a generous coating of olive oil on the exterior of the chicken before applying the dry rub. The oil’s fat will keep the skin wet and prevent the smoke from drying it out. This skin will be soft rather than crispy.


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