Smoked Chicken Breast

15 reviews

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This Smoked Chicken Breast is a wonderfully juicy, smoky chicken breast that is fast and perfect for multiple occasions. It’s a great meal for busy weekdays, and it’ll satisfy a crowd at a backyard BBQ. All you need is chicken and some of my award-winning Chicken Seasoning, and you’re well on your way to enjoying the perfect chicken breast.

Sliced smoked chicken breast on a fork with text overlay - Smoked Chicken Breast.

Smoked Boneless Chicken Breast

Smoked boneless chicken breast is one of my favorite ways to enjoy chicken. While I love my overnight briskets and putting in the time, energy, and attention to my slow-smoked ribs, there’s something close to my heart with smoking the perfect, simple chicken breast.

Begin by buying some fresh boneless chicken breasts. These guys are relatively inexpensive at the store, and you can smoke them right out of the package. For those of you who prefer the taste and texture of chicken breast when it has been brined, scroll below for my instructions on brining your chicken before smoking. You’ll want to plan ahead 4 hours to brine your chicken before sticking it on your smoker.

This recipe is an easy, basic process; perfect for those of you who are new to smoking, or for seasoned veterans who need a quick dinner option. Feel free to try out different rubs and seasonings, and try it out brined and not brined. It’s a recipe that is foolproof and one to come back to repeatedly.

Chicken breasts being seasoned with Hey Grill Hey Chicken Rub.

Smoked Chicken Breast Brine

Preparing a brine for your smoked chicken breast is entirely optional. Personally, I don’t usually brine my chicken breast because I prefer the taste and texture of chicken placed directly on the smoker with minimal preparation. During brining, the salt and sugar change the cell structure of the meat itself, so the cell walls retain more liquid during the cooking process.

Many grillers brine their chicken to keep it juicy during the smoking process, but I prefer the texture of a chicken breast that isn’t brined. If you use a good meat thermometer and cook to the correct temperature then your chicken will turn out juicy and full of flavor without needing to brine it first.

I recommend trying chicken breast that has been brined and not brined to determine what you like best. If you want to do a brine for the chicken breasts, here’s the process you’ll take before you smoke the chicken. Remember to plan ahead to allow ample time for the chicken to sit in the brine before you plan on smoking.

  1. Prepare the brine. In a medium pot, mix 3 Tablespoons Kosher salt, 4 cups water, and 1 Tablespoon sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and allow salt and sugar to dissolve. Remove the brine from the heat and allow it to cool completely.
  2. Brine the chicken. Place the chicken breasts in the brine and allow them to brine for 4 hours. Remove promptly, as you do not want to chicken to brine too long!

Once your chicken has been brined, pat dry and prepare as outlined in the recipe card. Then make sure to leave us a comment! Do you prefer your chicken breast brined before smoking, or do you season and place it straight on the grill?

Seasoned chicken breasts on the grill grates of a smoker.

How to Smoke Chicken Breast

Smoking chicken breast is an easy and straightforward process. All you need is a chicken, seasoning, and time. Follow the steps below to get juicy, melt-in-your-mouth chicken every time:

  1. Preheat the smoker. Preheat your smoker (I use my Camp Chef SmokePro) to 225 degrees F. Oak or fruit wood like cherry or apple adds a nice, bold flavor to the chicken.
  2. Prepare the chicken. If you prefer to brine your chicken, remove the chicken from the brine, pat dry, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with some homemade chicken seasoning OR save yourself a step and stock up on a bottle from my store, Patio Provisions.
  3. Get smoking! Place the chicken directly on the grill grates. Smoke the chicken for approximately 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
  4. Tent, rest, slice, and serve. Remove the chicken from the smoker, tent with foil, and allow the temperature to increase to 165 degrees F. Slice and serve.

This chicken tastes delicious as-is, and comes out wonderfully juicy and packed with flavor from the chicken seasoning. It also tastes great slathered with some homemade BBQ sauce like my Kansas City BBQ Sauce or my Teriyaki BBQ Sauce.

Chicken breasts reading a temperature of 160 degrees F.

How Long to Smoke Chicken Breast

Smoking chicken breast takes approximately 1 hour of cook time. As always, I recommend smoking the chicken to temperature and not to time. Invest in a good, instant-read meat thermometer to help you keep track of the temperature of your meat throughout the smoking process. I would definitely say that not using a good thermometer is the #1 reason for dry or undercooked chicken breasts.

Keep an eye on your chicken while it is on the smoker. Remove the chicken breast when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F (remember to stick your meat thermometer in the thickest portion of the meat), then allow the meat to come to 165 while tented with foil. The whole process will likely take anywhere from 50 to 90 minutes, depending on the chicken, what type of smoker you’re using, and the consistency of the heat.

Three smoked chicken breasts on a white serving dish.

More Smoked Chicken Recipes

I absolutely love smoked chicken. It gives the chicken amazing flavor, and the chicken comes out juicy every single time. Here are a few more of my favorite smoked chicken recipes to try out today!

Smoked Chicken Breast Recipe

Follow the recipe, and I’ll teach you the simple steps to making your own smoked chicken breast at home. Hey Grill Hey is dedicated to helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes and videos on YouTubeInstagram, or our Facebook Page.

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Smoked Chicken Breast

By: Susie Bulloch (heygrillhey.com)
4.67 from 15 votes
This Smoked Chicken Breast is a wonderfully juicy, smoky chicken breast that is fast and perfect for multiple occasions. It's a great meal for busy weekdays, and it'll satisfy a crowd at a backyard BBQ. All you need is chicken and some of my award-winning Chicken Seasoning, and you're well on your way to enjoying the perfect chicken breast.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Resting Time10 minutes
Total Time1 hour 25 minutes
Servings4 people

Video

Ingredients
 

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Chicken Rub or Lemon Herb Chicken Seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Preheat. Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F using your favorite hardwood. I like to use oak and mix it with a fruitwood like cherry or apple for a bold flavor.
  • Season. Drizzle the olive oil on the chicken breasts and rub to distribute. Sprinkle the Chicken Rub evenly on all sides over each chicken breast. Scroll to the notes section for a link to my Lemon Herb Chicken Seasoning if you don't have any Chicken Rub on hand.
  • Smoke. Place the chicken breasts directly on the grill rates and smoke for approximately 1 hour. Cook until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat reaches 160 degrees F.
  • Rest. Remove the chicken from the smoker. Tent with foil, and let the carryover cooking increase the internal temperature to 165 degrees F.
  • Dig in. Once the chicken has reached 165 degrees F, slice, serve, and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 191kcal | Protein: 24g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 131mg | Potassium: 418mg | Vitamin A: 34IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About

FOUNDER/BBQ BOSS LADY

Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Recipe Rating




Reader Reviews

58 Reviews

  1. J. Boyle says:

    I followed the directions. I did not use thick chicken breasts; actually they were on the thinner side. After an hour, the chicken was at 135 degrees or so. After another 20 minutes, around 145. I bumped the smoker to 250 degrees, for another 20 minutes. That was the ticket to reach 160 degrees internal temp.

  2. Keith says:

    I always used to brine, but then I found that using a higher-salt cajun run (Tony’s, or Slap yo Momma) yields similar, if not better, results. I think a wet brine pulls too much water in the chicken, which dissipates the flavor a bit. The dry brine method seems to have more of that umami flavor we all love and crave.

  3. Greg says:

    Looks Great Thanks for the help!

  4. Dave V says:

    I brined my chicken breasts while frozen and they were still partially frozen after 4 hours so I defrosted them in microwave for a few minutes. Smoked for an hour on my electric smoker using pellets and the seasoning rub recipe also on here minus the sage and lemon since I didn’t have. Turned out amazing. My baby, 4 yr old, and wife all ate a ton which is more than I could ask for. Will save and make again for sure!

  5. Benjamin Amyes says:

    This will be the third time that we have smoked chicken breast. First time we brined, the second time skipped the bring. I don’t see the need to brine. Because the breasts can be of an uneven size, I ties them so they are in a more compact shape. Use your dry rub for chicken and pork, and a sticky Memphis style sauce. I use the Weber Kettle grill and set it up as a smoker. Great receipe. Good BBQ that does not take all day. Working up the nerve to go to CostCo and buy a brisket. Thanks Susie, great web site.

  6. RICHARD CLINE says:

    last night did the recipe and smoking to the video. Had no problems with the heat and smoke . i was using a gas grill to smoke and cook thank you for your tips.

  7. Diamond Miller says:

    fixing to smoke our first chicken breasts and excited glad to read all ur recipes and will try them thank you

  8. Michelle says:

    I’m making this tonight with a few changes of my own. I smoked beef short ribs last night using your recipe and they were perfect. My family really enjoyed them. I look forward to checking out more of your recipes! My brother and husband have created a monster in me now. Lol

  9. Robert Sieger says:

    This is by far my favorite grilling/smoking site! Making this tonight!

    1. jason w says:

      how did it go? i tried last night on my pellet grill and after 2 hours it still barely passed 150, so i threw it over the fire pot to finish on direct heat

      1. James says:

        I also had an issue with the cook time. I think I would plan for 90 minutes next time myself.