The result you’d get when you roast chicken where you simply pop the chicken into the oven for a few hours is way different from when you pop the chicken in a smoker. If you do it right, smoked chicken and baked chicken tastes far apart. Temperature control is the secret behind every deliciously, well-cooked meal. Smoked chicken breast is a juicy, fast, and perfect way to enjoy chicken on multiple occasions. Not to even overemphasize, but a well-smoked chicken breast is a perfect crowd pleaser in a BBQ backyard get-together. All you need is to find yourself the right smoker, some chicken, and seasoning. Let’s check the smoked chicken breast recipe.
Contents of This Guide
How to Smoke Chicken Breast
Before you begin to smoke, there are few things you need to understand and have in place to get the best result possible. One of these prerequisites is having the right set of tools, understanding the right type of chicken breast to buy, and so on. Below is the breakdown of a few steps:
Step 1: Select Smoker
The first step was going to be looking at in this guide is helping you choose the right smoker. Without much debate, we know there are different types of smokers, and each type of smoker smokes a little bit differently than others. For example, how an electric smoker some meat is different from how a charcoal smoker will smoke that same meat. When choosing a smoker we need to consider a few things like convenience, performance, and price if you are going to be buying a new smoker. Take note, you might have to sacrifice a few things when choosing a smoker to use as all smokers come with its fair share of pros and cons.
1. Charcoal Smoker
Charcoal smokers are the most popular type of smoker because they make use of charcoal which adds real and genuine smoke aroma to food. Smokers make one of the best types of smoke to use as they can cook food low and slow, and can also reach a high smoking temperature. The best part about charcoal smokers is that they are very affordable because they don’t come with all too many features. You should avoid charcoal smokers if you are a die-hard fan of convenience. Charcoal smokers are not anywhere close to convenient to use. To light a charcoal smoker, it takes time and patience, as well as control the temperature.
2. Offset Smoker
Offset smokers are another type of smoker that delivers mouthwatering results. Smokers can also be a type of charcoal smoker but with its firebox offset to the cooking chamber. Offset smokers may be the most perfect type of smoker you can hope to buy. This is because offset smokers cook food with indirect heat as opposed to the direct heat good is exposed to while smoking on other types of smokers. The indirect heat causes food to cook slowly and at an even temperature, giving the food enough time to absorb the rich smoky aroma.
3. Vertical Smoker
Vertical smokers is also a very common type of smoker that is designed with a vertical orientation. Smokers can come with different sources of fuel like charcoal, electricity, propane, and so on. Take note, vertical smokers are quite great for smoking meat, but they cook your food using direct heat because the heating element is located below the rack. In other words, you may face a few challenges with getting an even cooking environment.
4. Electric Smoker
Lastly, we often recommend electric smokers to people who often want to get the smoker that offers them the ultimate convenience. Electric smokers are super easy to use as all you need to do is plug in the smoker to a power outlet, use the digital controller to set an appropriate temperature and you’re good to go. However, what we don’t like about electric smokers is that they often work with wood chips tray to add smoke flavor to food, which in most cases is not very effective. In the end, chicken smoked on an electric smoker tastes closer to roasted chicken than smoked chicken.
Step 2: Choose Boneless Chicken Breast
Our next course of action is to find ourselves the best boneless chicken breast we can get. Go to a store and buy a boneless chicken breast as they are one of the best parts of a chicken to smoke. These boys are inexpensive and go for a couple of dollars. The best part about buying a boneless chicken breast is that you can smoke them directly out of the pack as they have been preprocessed, leaving you with plain tender flesh and juicy goodness. Depending on the recipe you’re following, but after buying the boneless chicken breast, you can proceed to season before the actual smoking process. So, you have got to plan, for example, if you want to brine the chicken before smoking, you need to plan for about 4 hours of brining before sticking the chicken in the smoker.
Step 3: How Long to Smoke Chicken
Smoking chicken breast can take as long as 1 hour and above. We recommend you smoke with temperature and not with time. So, even if your smoker comes with a thermometer, spend a few extra dollars to buy a probe thermometer. A probe thermometer helps you accurately measure the internal temperature of the chicken while smoking. Not smoking at the right temperature is the main cause of your chicken becoming too dry or undercooked. So, while smoking can be a time-consuming process, keep an eye out for the temperature of the chicken.
Also, ensure there is enough water in the water pan to prevent dryness. Remember to always stick the meat probe in the thickness part of the chicken breast to get an accurate temperature reading. You can also wrap the chicken breast in aluminum kitchen foil to prevent too much moisture loss. And ensure the internal smoking temperature of your meat reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 4: Smoked Chicken
Now that we know what we need to have in place, let’s look at the actual smoking process of chicken breast. First, we’d like to point out that smoking chicken breast is a simple, straightforward process of enjoying juicy, tender chicken every time.
- 2 quarts water
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup table salt
- 2 tbsp. garlic powder
- 2 tbsp. paprika
- two tbsp. parsley
- 2 tbsp. black pepper
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ cup melted butter
- 2 pinch rub mixture
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 6 pcs boneless chicken breast
- Preheat the smoker: The first step to always take when smoking anything is to first preheat your smoker. Turn the smoker on, and allow it to heat up to 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes. Ensure you close the lid of the smoker while you preheat. If you use an electric smoker or gas smoker, be sure to add any flavored wood into the chip tray while preheating.
- Prepare the chicken: While the smoker is preheating, prepare the chicken. To brine your chicken, mix ½ cup of table salt in the 2 quarts of water and ½ cup of sugar. Allow the chicken to soak for about 4 hours. When brining is complete, remove the chicken from the water, pat dry, and drizzle olive oil on it. Sprinkle the spices on the chicken breast and massage.
- Get smoking: Place the chicken in the smoker and allow it to smoke for about 45-60 minutes at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Resist the temptation to open the lid while smoker as this would lead to loss of heat, which would delay the cooking process. Rather, use a probe thermometer to monitor the temperature of the chicken breast while it cooks.
- Prepare the sauce: While the chicken breast is smoking, use that period to prepare the sauce. Mix the melted butter, brown sugar, and rub mix in a bowl. About 15 minutes before you take the chicken off the smoker, baste the sauce on the body of the chicken to allow it to seep into the chicken.
- Test for doneness: After working for about an hour, check the chicken and test for doneness. Use your finger to test the doneness of the meat. The texture of the flesh around the thumb area is the same as raw meat. Press your thumb and index finger, feel the texture of flesh around the thumb area to tell rare cooked meat. Repeat the same process with your middle, ring, and pinky fingers to test for medium-rare, medium, and well-done texture respectively.
Pro Tips for Smoked Chicken Breast
- The first and important tip you should always remember is not to depend on the mounted temperature gauge on your smoker to accurately measure smoking temperature.
- Always keep your chicken in the refrigerator unless when preparing to prevent food poisoning.
- Always get your smoker at a stabilized temperature before adding the meat.
- Constantly monitor the temperature of the smoker throughout the smoking period.
- Maintain a full water pan in your smoker’s cooking chamber to prevent dry meat.
In conclusion, we hope you found the above guide helpful. Remember this is just one of many smoked chicken breast recipes. You are the boss of your pit, so feel free to try out as many different recipes you’d love. And if you have any questions about this recipe or any other recipe, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.