Smoked Chicken Breast Recipe: Elevate Your BBQ Game!

Hey there, fellow grill masters and food enthusiasts! Today, let’s dive into the beautiful world of smoked chicken breast. Suppose you’ve ever experienced the irresistible aroma wafting from a smoker or savored the juicy tenderness of perfectly smoked meat. In that case, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Smoking meat isn’t just a cooking method; it’s an art form that elevates flavors. And when it comes to smoked chicken breast, the possibilities are endless. Prepare to tantalize your taste buds and impress your guests with this delightful and versatile dish!

smoked chicken breast recipe


  • Chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
  • Dry rub or marinade of choice
  • Wood chips for smoking (hickory, applewood, etc.)
  • Seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc.)

Chicken Breasts: Opt for boneless and skinless chicken breasts for easy preparation and uniform cooking.

Dry Rub or Marinade: Choose your favorite dry rub or marinade to infuse the chicken with flavor. You can opt for a classic BBQ rub or a tangy citrus marinade, allowing you to customize the flavor.

Wood Chips for Smoking: Select wood chips that complement the flavor of the chicken. Popular options include hickory for a robust taste or applewood for a hint of sweetness.

Seasonings: Elevate the chicken’s flavor with basic seasonings such as salt, pepper, and garlic powder. These kitchen essentials enhance the dish’s richness without masking the chicken’s natural taste.

Preparing the Chicken

Let’s delve into the crucial step of preparing the chicken breasts for smoking:

Trim Any Excess Fat: Start trimming excess fat from the chicken breasts using a sharp knife. This helps prevent flare-ups during smoking and ensures a more even cook.

Rinse and Pat Dry: Give the chicken breasts a quick rinse under cold water to remove debris. Then, pat them dry thoroughly with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Dry chicken will absorb marinades and seasonings more effectively.

Optionally, Apply Dry Rub or Marinade: To elevate the flavor, you might want to apply a dry rub or marinade to the chicken breasts. While not essential, it’s strongly advised for enhancing the taste. Ensure the chicken is evenly coated with your preferred rub or marinade. Refrigerate it for several hours, allowing the flavors to seep into the meat.

Preparing the Smoker

Before you start smoking your chicken breasts, it’s crucial to prepare your smoker for optimal results. Here’s how to do it:

Soak Wood Chips: Begin by soaking your wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes. Drinking the wood chips helps prevent them from burning too quickly, ensuring a steady release of smoke that enhances the flavor of the chicken.

Preheat the Smoker: Preheat your smoker to the desired temperature, typically around 225°F to 250°F. This ensures the chicken cooks evenly and absorbs the smoky flavor over time.

Add Water to the Water Pan: If your smoker includes a water pan, ensure it’s filled with water. This step aids in maintaining a consistent temperature within the smoker while also fostering a moist environment, safeguarding the chicken from drying out throughout the smoking process.

Smoking the Chicken

Now that your smoker is prepped and ready, it’s time to smoke those chicken breasts to perfection. Follow these steps for delicious results:

Place the Chicken Breasts: Place your seasoned chicken breasts on the smoker racks with enough space between each piece to ensure the circulation of smoke around them.

Add Soaked Wood Chips: Add your soaked wood chips to the smoker box or directly to the coals if you use a charcoal smoker. This will generate the flavorful smoke that will infuse into the chicken as it cooks.

Close the Smoker: Once the chicken and wood chips are in place, close the smoker lid securely to trap the smoke inside. This helps maintain a steady temperature throughout the cooking process.

Smoke the Chicken: Smoke the chicken for around 1.5 to 2 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F as measured by a meat thermometer. This ensures thorough cooking and safety while preserving the chicken’s juiciness and flavor.

Resting and Serving

Now that your smoked chicken breasts are perfectly cooked, it’s time for an important final step: resting and serving.

Remove the Chicken: Use tongs or a spatula to carefully remove the chicken breasts from the smoker. Place them on a clean plate or cutting board.

Let it Rest: Allow the chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing or shredding. During this resting period, the juices redistribute throughout the meat, guaranteeing that every bite is tender and flavorful.

Slice or Shred: Once the resting time is up, slice the chicken breasts against the grain for maximum tenderness. Alternatively, you can shred the chicken using forks or fingers for a more rustic presentation.

Serve Hot: Finally, serve hot smoked chicken breasts with your favorite sides and garnishes. Whether you prefer classic barbecue sides like coleslaw and cornbread or something lighter like a crisp salad, smoked chicken will surely be a hit at any meal.


As you embark on your journey to smoke the perfect chicken breasts, consider these helpful tips to ensure the best results:

Use a Meat Thermometer: Invest in a reliable meat thermometer to guarantee that your chicken breasts are cooked to perfection. Please insert it into the thickest part of the chicken to ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. This step ensures both safety and optimal juiciness.

Experiment with Different Wood Chips and Seasonings: Be bold and creative with your flavor combinations! Experiment with wood chips, such as mesquite, cherry, or pecan, to impart unique flavors to your smoked chicken breasts. Additionally, try different seasonings or marinades to customize the taste to your liking.

Consider Brining the Chicken Breasts: For an extra layer of flavor and moisture, consider bringing your chicken breasts before smoking them. A simple brine solution of water, salt, sugar, and spices can infuse the chicken with additional flavor and help keep it juicy throughout the smoking process.

Additional Ideas

Looking to elevate your smoked chicken breast game even further? Check out these creative ideas for variations and accompaniments:

Serve Sliced Chicken Breasts in Sandwiches or Salads: Turn your smoked chicken breasts into a delicious meal by slicing them in sandwiches or atop fresh salads. The smoky flavor adds depth to any dish, creating a satisfying and flavorful meal.

Use Smoked Chicken in Pasta Dishes or Casseroles: Incorporate smoked chicken into your favorite pasta dishes or casseroles for an extra punch of flavor. Whether tossed with creamy Alfredo sauce or layered into a comforting soup, smoked chicken adds a delightful smokiness to any recipe.

Make a Homemade Barbecue Sauce: Whip a batch of homemade barbecue sauce to serve alongside your smoked chicken breasts. Whether you prefer a tangy vinegar-based sauce or a sweet and spicy molasses-based glaze, homemade barbecue sauce adds the perfect finishing touch to your smoked chicken.


Can I use bone-in chicken breasts for this smoked chicken breast recipe?

Bone-in chicken breasts can be used, but they may require longer cooking time.

Is brine the chicken breasts necessary before smoking?

While not necessary, brining can enhance flavor and moisture in the smoked chicken breasts.

Can I use a gas grill to smoke chicken breasts?

You can use a gas grill for smoking by using a smoker box or aluminum foil pouch filled with wood chips.

How do I know when the smoked chicken breasts are done cooking?

A meat thermometer ensures the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Can I freeze leftover smoked chicken breasts?

Yes, leftover smoked chicken breasts can be frozen for later use; ensure they are properly cooled and stored in an airtight container.


Mastering the art of smoking chicken breasts can elevate your culinary skills. With simple steps and ingredients, you can create a tender, flavorful smoked chicken breast that will impress even the most discerning palates. Each aspect contributes to the delicious end result, from preparing the smoker to experimenting with different wood chips and seasonings. Remember to let the chicken rest before serving and explore creative ways to enjoy it, whether sliced in sandwiches, tossed in pasta dishes, or served alongside homemade barbecue sauce. With these tips and ideas, you’ll be well-equipped to create unforgettable smoked chicken breast recipes time and time again.

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