These easy chicken recipes for the grill or smoker are perfect for novice and busy cooks. Save time, and double the recipes for delicious leftovers to get you through the week.
Chicken is a budget-friendly and versatile protein that can be prepared differently. Grilling and smoking are great options for cooking chicken as they allow the meat’s natural flavors to shine through but result in an amazing caramelized, smoky finish.
Grilling vs Smoking Chicken
Now, there are differences between grilling and smoking.
- Grilling involves quick cooking and is perfect for quick meals. These recipes typically involve a marinade, or seasoning rub, then cooked over direct heat on the grill. If you own a gas grill, charcoal unit, or pellet grill, all you’ll need to do is fire it up and get cooking. Have a reliable instant-read meat thermometer nearby to pull the chicken at the right internal temperature.
- Smoking chicken is an involved process that requires a bit more time and attention. But it results in a more flavorful and tender chicken dinner. Chicken is the best place to start if you’re new to smoking foods. The meat is forgiving and takes less time to cook, and all you’ll need is a good spice rub (salt, garlic powder, paprika, brown sugar, etc.) and mild to moderate flavored wood chips (or wood chunks) like apple, cherry, or pecan. Avoid heavier woods like hickory, mesquite or oak.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice cook, you’ll find plenty of easy chicken recipes for the grill or smoker here!
1.) Jamaican Jerk Marinated Chicken
Caribbean cuisine is incredibly diverse, but one thing remains true, Jamaican jerk marinated chicken hits the top of the flavor list every time. The mixture of herbs, earthy spices, and piquant flavors is a taste sensation.
2.) Smoked Chicken Thighs
Smoked chicken thighs are one of the easiest proteins to cook on a pellet grill or smoker. These chicken thighs are incredibly flavorful and great for make-ahead meals for the week.
3.) Grilled Cilantro-Lime Chicken Breasts
These simple, brightly flavored grilled cilantro-lime chicken breasts are great for weekly meal planning. These flavorful chicken breasts will do the trick if you want a gluten-free, low-carb protein! Pair with grilled veggies, or slice and add to salads.
4.) Mango Jalapeno Chicken Thighs
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are amazingly juicy and tender. Add a simple spice rub and a deliciously sweet, fruity, mildly spicy mango jalapeno BBQ sauce, which is pure perfection. Even better, we use simple, budget-friendly ingredients for this recipe. Pair with rice and grilled Mexican-style corn on the cob.
5.) Smoked Chicken Breasts
You’re not alone if you get tired of the same grilled, baked, or pan-fried chicken breasts. That’s why we decided to take them to the smoker. This gave us moist, smoky chicken breasts with a fantastic crust. They are great in salads, wraps, tacos, enchiladas, served with a side dish as is or used in a sandwich.
6.) Sinaloa Chicken
Sinaloa chicken is a popular Mexican street food chicken marinated in citrus and chilis, then grilled over a live flame. Traditionally, the chicken is spatchcocked, grilled, cut in half lengthwise, and sold. This recipe calls for a whole cut-up chicken, but you can use the traditional spatchcock method. Keep in mind that the marinating time for this recipe is 6-8 hours.
7.) German Barbecue Chicken
This Dusseldorf-style barbecue chicken is bathed in a lager and mustard marinade, then cooked over charcoal. If you don’t have a charcoal unit, never fear. This chicken can be cooked on any grill or even in the oven. Serve this delightful German barbecue chicken with a side of sauerkraut and grilled potato kebabs.
8.) Sazon Grilled Chicken
This Latin American-inspired Sazon Grilled Chicken is simple to make and incredibly flavorful. These chicken thighs and drumsticks are coated with sazon, then grilled to perfection.
9.) Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts
This Lemon Pepper Chicken will keep you coming back for more! The wonderful citrus and peppery flavors work so well together with the chicken. You will find yourself coming back to this recipe time and time again!
10.) Grilled Chicken Caprese
This protein-packed grilled chicken caprese is easy to make and insanely delicious! These chicken breasts spend time in a simple lemon-basil marinade, then grilled to perfection, topped with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. BTW, these make some amazing chicken sandwiches.
11.) Easy Masala Chicken Breasts
These masala chicken breasts are marinated in fragrant South Asian spices, creamy yogurt, and citrus juice, then grilled hot and fast. This recipe calls for garam masala, widely available online or in South Asian markets and some grocery stores.
12.) Honey Mustard Chicken Breasts
These sweet and tangy chicken breasts are perfect served on salads, in wraps, or over buttered noodles. It can be used as a topping for pizzas! If you like the chicken saucy, double the recipe to suit your needs.
Now that you’ve explored these easy chicken recipes for the grill or smoker, it’s time to start. Light up your grill or smoker, and let’s get cooking!