Smoked Chicken Breast

July 29, 2019

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.

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 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 over and over again.

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 a fruit wood like cherry or apple add 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! 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.

Smoked Chicken Breast Brine

Preparing a brine for your smoked chicken breast is completely 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.

As always, 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 to cool completely.
  2. Brine the chicken. Fully submerge 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?

How Long to Smoke Chicken Breast

Smoking chicken breast takes approximately 1 hour. As always, I recommend smoking to temperature and not to time. Invest in a good, reliable 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.

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 with Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce
Whole Smoked Chicken with Zesty Tabasco Spiked Brine
Whiskey Peach Smoked Pulled Chicken

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 help 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.

Need some rubs and sauces to go with this smoked chicken breast? Patio Provisions sells Hey Grill Hey Signature products for a great price. Best of all? They’re delivered straight to your door!

Smoked Chicken Breast

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.
4.43 from 7 votes
Prep Time : 15 mins
Cook Time : 1 hr
Total Time : 1 hr 15 mins
Servings : 4 people
Calories : 191kcal



  • Preheat smoker to 225 degrees F using your favorite hardwood. I like to use oak and mix it with a fruit wood like cherry or apple for a bold flavor.
  • Drizzle the olive oil on the chicken breasts and rub to distribute. Sprinkle the Chicken Seasoning evenly on all sides over each chicken breast.
  • Smoke for approximately 1 hour. Smoke until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat reaches 160 degrees F.
  • Remove the chicken from the smoker. Tent with foil, and let the carryover cooking increase the internal temperature to 165 degrees F.
  • Slice, serve, and enjoy!


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
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30 thoughts on “Smoked Chicken Breast

    1. I generally do slather within 20 degrees of your target temperature. I like the sauce to tighten up to the meat. This is completely subjective though. Slather it on whenever you’d like!

  1. Good info. I was looking for more details of the smoking part. Charcoal prep. Tips on charcoal smoking thanks

  2. New to smoking, using my new Pit Boss Pro. Used the included temperature probe to get the 2 breasts up to 160 deg. Took over 3 hours at 225. It may be quicker than other meats, but it’s not about an hour. Wish the recipe reflected a better smoke time. Chicken came out cooked properly, but had a bit of a dried out “rind” to it that was tough to cut through. I’ll keep searching.

    1. I would make a suggestion to use another probe. Unless your chicken breasts were really large, there isn’t a reason they should take 3 hours to smoke. If you want a less dry exterior, try smoking at a higher temperature.

      1. I’m in the process of doing it with 3 very thin chicken breasts, at 1hr my internal temp was only 130F. Does the listed cook time assume the chicken was brought up to temp before cooking, mine went from refrigerated to cooking.

        I turned it up to 325 at the one-hour mark… Am almost done at 90min

  3. I thought this was AMAZING. Good for meal prepping too because cold on a salad the next day was amazing as well. I will definitely do this again!!

    1. We knocked this one out of the park!Did a dry rub on the chicken,apple juice and water in the pan.Smoked for 60 minutes and tented for about 10 minutes.Excellent flavor, thanks for the tips!

  4. I think your time is a bit off. I have a Traeger smoker and it took almost 3 hours at 225 degrees to reach 160. Although the chicken turned out perfect so the rest of your directions were spot on!

  5. For the comments about the longer cook time, I have found that my Traeger at 225° takes longer to cook and does tend to have the dry exterior that Susie mentions, so a higher temp does seem to work better for pellet grills.
    However, my charcoal smokers at 225° work perfectly and accurately reflects the cook times noted in the recipe.

  6. Tried this today. Came out really good. Needed a little more time then what was published, but tasted juicy and smokey. Will definitely do it again. I did brine the chicken for 24 hours, which I think does make a difference in taste….

  7. I couldn’t help noticing that you have spices on your chicken in the photo. Were they added after the brine or did you brine at all for the photos? Reason I ask is b/c I am new to smoking but I am finding that I really like to smoke for a bit then finish on the grill. But I tried a brine for chicken; way too salty. I like spices but am spooked by making it super salty.

  8. What does this mean? “…tent with foil, and let the carryover cooking increase the internal temperature to 165 degrees F…”

    -sorry for newby question, thanks.

    1. It’s totally fine! It just means that after you cover it in foil it will continue to cook on it’s own and raise a few degrees.

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