Savory Smoked Chicken Breast
By: Jack Mancuso
Smoked Chicken Breast
The scent of savory smoked chicken breast as it cooks is part of its secret allure. It makes your mouth water (can it be done already?). Trust me when I say it doesn’t take too long, just a couple of hours, and you’ll end up with a juicy chicken infused with smoke. Chicken is the most popular protein, and nearly everyone likes it. But by itself, it can be rather bland. Smoking kicks up the finished taste. It’s also a very versatile dish. Take the meat and use it in a taco, sliced on a sandwich, or perhaps on top of pasta, rice, or a green salad.
The Best Wood for Smoked Chicken Breasts
With the art of smoking growing in popularity, you have a lot of options in smoking wood. So, it really boils down to what you want as a background flavor. I recommend:
- Fruity & mild smoke: apple, maple, cherry, pecan
- Mild strength: oak
- Strong smoke: hickory or Jack Daniels blend
Note: You can use mesquite but do so sparingly or it will overpower the meat and leave it bitter.
- Consider bringing your chicken breasts for a juicier outcome.
- Sear the chicken breast in an iron pan before smoking. It keeps the skin from becoming rubbery.
- You want your smoker at 225-250 degrees F. Try and keep this consistent
- Leave yourself about 90 minutes to tend the meat
- Bear in mind the thickness of your chicken breasts impacts cooking time. It helps to shop for uniformly sized pieces.
- Test the smoked chicken breast for doneness (take it out at 160 degrees and let it rest until it reaches 165 degrees)
Savory Smoked Chicken Breast Ingredients
Chicken breasts (1 per person depending on size)
Stone Ground Mustard
Dry Seasonings: These can be a combination of any spices you like on chicken like garlic, onion, lemon zest, salt, pepper, sweet paprika, chipotle, etc. For a little sweetness, add brown sugar.
- Get your smoker ready. Use the preheating time to prepare your chicken breasts. Again, you’re looking for a temperature of 225-250 F.
- Apply stone ground mustard evenly on each breast, both sides
- Sprinkle your seasonings on top. The mustard helps keep them in place.
- Check smaller breasts (4-6 oz) after an hour. Test larger breasts at the 90-minute mark. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
- Remove from the smoker, then tent the smoked chicken breasts for 10 minutes before serving.
Pit Master’s Memo
I sometimes make more chicken breast than I need at the moment, just so I can use it in various preparations during the week. When properly stored in an air-tight container in your fridge, it’s good for 4 days (it probably won’t make it past day two if you’re snacking).
Freezing the chicken extends its shelf life. The breasts must be at room temperature and placed in a freezer-safe food storage bag. Try to get as much air out as possible. You can use these for up to 3 months.
When you know you’ll need them, remove them from the freezer the day before. Let them thaw in the refrigerator.
Cucumber dill salad
Fried Green Tomatoes
Husk-on grilled corn (with buttery seasonings inside)
Smoked Deviled Eggs
Sweet potatoes in nearly any form
The foodies trinity: biscuits, coleslaw, beans
From the Bar