Tender Smoked Chicken Breast Recipe
In just a couple of hours, you can make this tender and juicy smoked chicken breast recipe that’s satisfying for any meal! This is one of the best easy recipes for the most flavorful chicken breast! Use smoked chicken breasts for easy meal prep in salads, wraps, sandwiches, chicken tacos, on their own for an easy chicken dinner, or as the star of any pot luck.
Learn how to transform boneless chicken breasts (or a whole chicken) into the most flavorful and tender smoked chicken breast! Cooked perfectly at a lower temperature till it reaches 165°F. This chicken breast is loaded with smoky flavor and it’s the perfect juicy smoked breast for any meal!
How Do You Keep Chicken Breast Moist When Smoking?
There are a couple of common problems with most smoked chicken breast… It can become dry and rubbery with tough skin. However, I’m going to show you how to get the best results and avoid common pitfalls with… Brining! Chicken breast gets pretty dry when smoked to 165F. So, in our cooking process, we brine breasts to add moisture and remove them from the grill at 160°F, then tent the meat with aluminum foil for 5-10 minutes. Internal temp will rise to 165°F and then it will rest so the juices inside can redistribute before you cut into it!
Brining adds moisture but it also adds so much extra flavor to your chicken breasts!
How To Brine Chicken Breasts
Brine in a non-reactive bowl or pot: Glass, porcelain, crockery, plastic, and stainless steel are all good. (Not wood, copper or aluminum)
In a large bowl or pot combine:
- 1-quart cold water
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
Boil 1 quart of the water, salt, and sugar. And stir until salt and sugar are totally dissolved.
Remove from heat, add seasonings if desired, cover, and cool completely. Add another 1/2 gallon of water. Refrigerate to below 40 degrees F, Then add chicken breast.
Keep the chicken submerged with a heavy plate on top of the chicken in the brine bowl or pot.
Place your brining chicken breasts in the fridge.
Brine boneless skinless chicken breasts for 30-60 minutes!
After brining chicken breasts, rinse them well in cool water, and pat them dry with paper towels or napkins.
How To Make Smoked Chicken Breast Recipe
This recipe is for 4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts.
Mix chicken rub seasonings in a small bowl. You can use your favorite rub, chicken seasoning, or use this one for so much flavor!
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp kosher coarse salt
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- *Optional (if you like sweet flavor add 1 tablespoon brown sugar)
- *Optional, fresh herbs thyme and sage are wonderful on smoked chicken breast too! Just chop a tablespoon of each and mix then into your seasonings!
Instructions for Smoking Process
- Brine 4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts.
- Load your pellet grill or electric smoker with pellets or soaked wood chips wood and preheat it to 225° degrees F..
- If you’re like me and your smoker does not have a thermometer, use an oven thermometer on the grill grate to see the temperature.
- Place a water pan on the lower rack of your smoker, under where the chicken breast will go.
- Combine the seasoning in a bowl mix till blended.
- While your smoker is heating up, generously rub your chicken breasts with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and then the seasoning blend on both sides.
- Insert your instant read thermometer probe into the middle of the thickest chicken breast to see when it’s done according to the internal temperature of the meat.
- When the smoker comes up to temperature, place your chicken breasts on the smoker, then close the lid right away.
- Smoke chicken breasts until internal temperature probe reaches 160°F and take them off the smoker grill.
- Loosely tent your chicken breasts with aluminum foil, and let chicken rest for 5-10 mins till temp reaches 165°F.
This extra time of 5-10 minutes after cooking allows the meats’ temp to rise the last 5 degrees, and lets it rest so its juices redistribute and don’t spill out on the cutting board when you slice it (which would leave you with dry chicken breast.)
How Long To Cook Smoked Chicken Breasts at 225°FCook time depends on the thickness of your chicken breasts (smaller breasts cook faster than larger size of the breasts) and the temperature of the smoker, but usually, it takes about an hour at 225°F.
What Type Of Wood Should I Use
For smoked chicken breasts you can use these woods in chips or pellets:
Cherry WoodMaple WoodHickery WoodPecan WoodApple Wood
How Do You Smoke Chicken Without Drying It Out?
Chicken breast gets pretty dry when smoked to 165F. So, brine breasts to add moisture, and remove them from the grill at 160°F, then tent with aluminum foil for 5-10 minutes. Internal temp will rise to 165°F and then it will rest so the juices inside can redistribute before you cut into it!
Brining adds moisture and so much extra flavor to smoked chicken breasts!
How To Serve Smoked Chicken Breast
There are so many ways to serve smoked chicken breasts! We like them with BBQ sauce as a main course with potato salad, and on homemade sourdough rolls for chicken sandwiches.
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