Looking for that great smoked chicken flavor but don’t have all day? You need to try this Smoked Chicken Breasts recipe; it’s quick, easy, and perfect anytime!
If you love the smoky flavor in your chicken, you need to check out this amazing Smoked Chicken Thighs recipe. Or maybe try this fabulous Rotisserie Chicken Recipe. Either one will be a hit with your family and friends, I’m sure of it!
Chicken breasts can be difficult to cook because they can dry out so easily. But when you smoke them low and slow, it helps to alleviate that issue. These chicken breasts are tender, juicy, and oh so flavorful!
WHat do I need to make smoked chicken breasts?
The wonderful thing about making these smoked chicken breasts is that you really don’t need much in the way of ingredients. This allows the flavor of the smoke and the chicken to really shine through.
- Chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
- Olive oil
- Smoked paprika
- Garlic salt
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Onion powder
- Celery seed
The spices for the rub work really great with these smoked boneless chicken breasts. But don’t feel you need to stick to these herbs and spices only. If you have a favorite rub or seasonings you put on your chicken, then, by all means, use them! You can even use any store-bought poultry seasoning; that works very well too!
Preparing your Smoked Chicken breasts
In a small mixing bowl, combine the smoked paprika, garlic salt, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, onion powder, thyme, and celery seeds. This is your rub; set it aside for now. Note, if you are using a store-bought rub, you can omit this step.
Remove the chicken breasts from the packaging and place them on a large plate or platter. Using paper towels, pat dry the breasts.
Coat the chicken breasts with olive oil and carefully poke each breast a few times with a fork. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way! Speaking from personal experience, it hurts a lot if you get one in the way of the fork!!
Sprinkle the rub over the chicken breasts covering all sides. Don’t actually rub the spices onto the chicken. You just want to lightly pat it, so it sticks to the chicken. Set the chicken aside and allow it to come to room temperature while you preheat your smoker.
Once your smoker reaches a temp of 250 degrees F., put the chicken breasts onto the grill and close the lid. I find that hickory wood works really well with chicken, but you can use whatever wood you prefer to smoke your chicken breasts.
Smoke the chicken breasts until an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the breast. This will likely take about 90 minutes. But as I always say with smoking, you have to cook to a temperature, not a time.
I use my trusty Thermoworks Thermapen instant-read meat thermometer. It is quick, easy to use, and gives me an exact temperature in a second every time!
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Once your chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees, remove them from the smoker and allow them to rest for 5 – 10 minutes.
You should always allow your meat to rest for a few minutes after cooking, before cutting or slicing it. This allows the juices to be absorbed back into the meat. If you cut into the meat right away, all the juices and that great flavor will run out onto your cutting board.
Serving up smoked chicken breast
Check out how tender, juicy, and full of flavor that wonderful chicken breast looks! If you are serving a plated dinner, I would serve each person one smoked chicken breast. On the other hand, if you are serving dinner buffet style, I would slice the chicken breasts so everyone can help themselves to as many pieces of chicken as they would like.
This is a great recipe for dinner with the family but also for any special occasion like Thanksgiving or Christmas. If you are just having a small gathering of close family or friends, why go through the work of preparing a whole turkey?
Serving up some smoky chicken breast with cranberry sauce is a simple meal that doesn’t require you to spend all day and night in the kitchen. Plus, you aren’t going to have to eat leftover turkey for the next couple of months.
If you prepare a few great side dishes like these fantastically easy Curry Grilled Cauliflower or these Cheesy Jalapeno Foil Packets with these amazing smoked breasts, you have a great dinner for any occasion.
How do you smoke chicken breast without drying it out?
If you are very concerned about drying out your smoked chicken breasts, you can always brine them first before smoking. I have to admit I am a proponent of brining, especially if you are smoking a whole chicken or turkey.
Although I don’t feel that brining is necessary with these chicken breasts. You smoke them low and slow, and they aren’t in the smoker for a long period of time. If you monitor the internal temperature and remove them when they reach 165 degrees F, they won’t be dried out. In fact, they will be tender and juicy!
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- 4 Chicken Breasts, approximately 1.5 lbs (If they are smaller, your time may vary)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt (big grain salt)
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- In a small mixing bowl, mix all ingredients for the dry rub. Set aside.
- Unpack the chicken breasts and place them on a plate. Pat dry with a paper towel.
- Coat the breasts with olive oil.
- Poke each chicken breast with a fork 3 or 4 times.
- Sprinkle the seasoning all over the breasts and lightly press into the meat. (don't rub the seasoning into the chicken breast.)
- Once the chicken breasts are all covered with the rub, you can hold them covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to smoke them. Make sure that you remove them from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature for 15 - 20 minutes before placing them into the smoker.
- Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees F.
- Add your favorite smoking wood, I like to use hickory, but you can use any wood that you like.
- Put the chicken breasts on the grill of your smoker and close the lid.
- Let it cook, cover closed for 30 minutes. Take the temperature. It should be around 130 degrees F. at this point.
- Cook the breasts until you reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, checking the temperature every 15 minutes or so.
- Once the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, take them off the smoker grill and let them rest for 5 - 10 minutes before serving or slicing. Enjoy!
You can use your favorite rub or any poultry seasoning from the store as well as a rub for these smoked chicken breasts.
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Pyrex Glass Mixing Bowl Set (3-Piece Set, Nesting, Microwave and Dishwasher Safe)
Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker, 30", Black
DOWAN Large Serving Platters, 16"/14"/12" Oval Serving Platter, White Serving Plates Oven Safe, Turkey Platter for Thanksgiving Entertaining Party, Porcelain Serving Dish for Appetizers Meat, Set of 3
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 320Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 1154mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 53g
Recipe calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is estimation only. If you need nutritional calculations for medical reasons, please use a source that you trust.