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posted January 03, 2024

Smoked Chicken Salad

My Smoked Chicken Salad is loaded with flavor: tender and juicy chicken, tangy dressing, fresh herbs, sweet grapes, and pecans for that coveted crunch. Serve it on flaky croissants for killer sandwiches your family will love.

Chicken salad in bowl next to fork and napkin. Text overlay reads: "Smoked Chicken Salad".

Homemade Chicken Salad

Tender, smoky, bite-through chicken in chicken salad? That’s right, we’re ditching the boring canned stuff and making this rich and creamy chicken salad with delicious BBQ chicken cooked right in your own backyard. On top of that, we’re loading it up with so many fresh and yummy ingredients you’ll want to eat it up before you get a chance to serve it. Resist that urge, though.

When your friends and family get a taste of this delicious salad full of sweet grapes, crunchy pecans, and fresh herbs, and finished off with some of my signature rubs and sauces, they’ll be begging for more. Once your chicken is smoked, you’re just a few steps away from amazing sandwiches with this easy chicken salad recipe. Let’s get started.

The Best Chicken for Salad

I’ve included easy instructions on how to smoke tender and juicy chicken breasts included in this recipe. If you want to branch out and try some different methods for making your chicken, or if you want to cook a whole chicken to use on multiple recipes, I’ve got you covered. Here are some of my favorite ways to prepare a whole chicken:

Smoked chicken on cutting board being shredded with fork.

Chicken Salad Ingredients

Now that you know what chicken you want to use, here’s everything else you’ll need for your smoked chicken salad. I’ve also included some substitutions you can make for health or dietary needs.

Chicken mixture

  • Hey Grill Hey Chicken Rub: Pick some up here, or use whatever chicken seasoning you have. I recommend keeping it simple so the rest of your flavors still shine.
  • toasted pecans: You can also use other chopped nuts such as almonds or cashews.
  • red grapes: You can get your sweet fix with diced apples or strawberries as well.
  • celery ribs
  • green onions

Salad Dressing

  • mayonnaise: If you want to go for a more healthy salad, you can substitute the mayo for Greek yogurt. Personally, I think it’s healthy enough as is, but do what feels right for you.
  • Hey Grill Hey Zesty Gold Sauce: You can pick this sauce up here, You can also use Dijon mustard.
  • red wine vinegar
  • Italian parsley
  • celery seed
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper

Ingredients for salad and dressing in white bowls on black background.

Ways to Serve Chicken Salad

There are so many delicious ways to enjoy this creamy chicken salad. It’s great on its own or as a side for a heavier BBQ dish. You can also put it on your favorite bread for a yummy chicken salad sandwich. I prefer serving mine on fresh, flaky croissants with some romaine lettuce leaves, but it’s also great in a pita pocket, or really any bread you like. The chicken salad is so good you can serve it on just about anything.

If you want to keep things healthy, you can always opt for a wrap. It goes great with lettuce wraps as well if you want more of a keto friendly or low-carb option.

How to Store

If you end up with leftover chicken salad, you can store it and have it again later. Simply place your leftovers in an airtight container and place in your refrigerator. Your salad will stay fresh up to 5 days this way. After that, you’ll want to discard it and make yourself a fresh batch. The odds are your family will devour this yummy salad long before then.

Can you freeze this salad?

The FDA recommends against  freezing chicken salad, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prep ahead for quick meals at a later time. The longest part of the process is smoking your chicken, and you can totally do that ahead of time. Simply smoke your chicken and chop it before placing in a zip-top freezer bag. Place it in your fridge to thaw the night before you want to use it, and then you just have to mix the rest of the ingredients. And just like that, you’ve got fresh chicken salad in minutes.

Salad ingredients in glass bowl mixed with spatula.

How to Make Chicken Salad

This classic chicken salad recipe only takes a few easy steps, and then you’ll be ready to serve it up to your friends and family.

  1. Prepare chicken. Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees F. I like to smoke my chicken in my Cam Chef Woodwind 24”, but you can also cook your chicken with indirect heat on your gas or charcoal grill. Make sure you season your chicken breasts with my signature Chicken Rub, which you can pick up here in the Hey Grill Hey store.
  2. Smoke chicken. Place your chicken breasts directly on your smoker grates and smoke them for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the thickness of your breasts. You want to make sure your chicken cooks to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Make sure you use a reliable food thermometer, like my Thermapen ONE.
  3. Prepare mix-ins. Once your cooked chicken has cooled, chop it into bitesized pieces and mix it in a large bowl with your pecans, grapes, sliced celery, and green onions. You don’t need to mix it up yet, because you’ll do that when you add your chicken salad dressing.
  4. Make dressing. In a separate small bowl, combine your mayonnaise, my Zesty Gold Sauce, red wine vinegar, Italian parsley, celery seed, some fresh cracked black pepper, and then add Kosher salt to taste. Whisk to thoroughly combine before you add it to your salad ingredients.
  5. Combine and serve. Pour your dressing over your chicken mixture and mix it together gently with a rubber spatula until everything is combined. Let your salad chill in the refrigerator and you’re ready to serve it on rolls, straight up, or however you like.

More Yummy Salads to Try

I love BBQ as much as anyone, maybe more. But even I know sometimes you just want something a little lighter. Here are a few more of my favorite salad recipes, which you can find in the Hey Grill Hey app.

Smoked chicken salad on fork.

Smoked Chicken Salad Recipe

Follow the recipe for delicious chicken salad, but don’t stop learning there. Hey Grill Hey is here to help you make better BBQ to feed the people you love. We’ve got an in-depth course on chicken with how-to videos and step-by-step instructions over at The Grill Squad; as well as courses on all your favorite meats, meal prepping, pizza, and more.

Make sure you’re following us on all our social channels at YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook to catch all the latest Hey Grill Hey tips, tricks, and behind-the-scenes fun.

Smoked Chicken Salad

Susie Bulloch
My Smoked Chicken Salad has it all: tender and juicy chicken, tangy dressing, fresh herbs, sweet grapes, and pecans for that coveted crunch.
Prep Time : 10 mins
Cook Time : 45 mins
Total Time : 55 mins
Servings : 4 people
Calories : 772kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Chicken BBQ Rub
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans (lightly chopped)
  • 1 cup red grapes (halved)
  • 3 ribs celery (thinly sliced)
  • 3 green onions (sliced)

Salad Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Zesty Gold BBQ Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)

Instructions

  • Prepare chicken. Preheat smoker to 275 degrees F. Season chicken breasts on both sides with Hey Grill Hey Chicken Rub.
    2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Chicken BBQ Rub
  • Smoke chicken. Place chicken breasts on grill grates and smoke for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Remove the chicken and cool completely.
  • Prepare mix-ins. Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces and add to a large bowl. Pour the pecans, grapes, sliced celery, and green onions into the bowl with the chicken.
    1/2 cup toasted pecans, 1 cup red grapes, 3 ribs celery, 3 green onions
  • Make dressing. In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, Zesty Gold Sauce, red wine vinegar, Italian parsley, celery seed, salt, and pepper, and whisk to thoroughly combine.
    1 cup mayonnaise, 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Zesty Gold BBQ Sauce, 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar, 2 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, 1 teaspoon celery seed, Kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper
  • Combine and serve. Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture and combine gently with a rubber spatula. Serve chilled.

Nutrition

Calories: 772kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 29g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 169mg | Sodium: 730mg | Potassium: 1120mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 587IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 3mg
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