Smoked chicken breasts are easy to make and so dang delicious, you’ll wonder why you haven’t made them before. What’s even better is that these chicken breasts take only 1 1/2 to 2 hours to cook. This dish makes a great meal prep item served with rice and steamed veg. You can use these breasts in other recipes too!
Forget those store-bought chickens. Make these smoked chicken breasts instead!
If you’re like me and get tired of the same grilled, baked, or pan-fried chicken breasts, you’re not alone. That’s why I decided to take a few to the smoker. This smoked chicken breast recipe turned out so much better than I expected. The cooking process left these breasts with a nice crust and that oh so good smoke kissed flavor. These smoked chicken breasts work beautifully in salads, wraps, tacos, chicken, and dumplings. I even chopped them up to use in enchiladas, or top them with a little BBQ sauce for a fun snack.
Smoking Chicken Breasts 101:
This recipe is so easy that you can set it and forget if you are using an electric smoker or pellet grill. You won’t need a spritz of any kind, no wrapping, no fuss. Look for uniformity in your chicken breasts. They should all be about the same size. Keep in mind that if you’re using smaller breasts for this recipe, they will cook a little faster.
What is the best temperature to smoke chicken breasts?
The optimal temperature for proper smoke absorption and tenderness is 225 degrees F.
How long to smoke chicken breasts at 225?
Plan on about 2 hours of total cook time with a cooking temp of 225 degrees F. Bes sure to have enough fuel to get you through the entire cook time. And as always, have a reliable instant-read thermometer handy!
What temperature is chicken breast done?
Chicken breasts are considered cooked through and safe to eat at an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. To test for doneness, insert your instant-read thermometer or probe into the thickest part of the chicken breast. Test each one before removing it from your grill or smoker.
What wood is best for smoked chicken?
I recommend using fruit wood like apple, peach, or cherry wood, or mild to moderate wood like oak, alder, or maple wood. I don’t recommend using more robust flavored woods like hickory or mesquite. Chicken breasts are small and poultry tends to hold onto smoke flavor. Strong woods will yield a bitter taste that many find overpowering. Start with mild woods, and with the next cook, use a more moderate flavored wood. This will help you gauge your preferred smokiness.
Should I brine chicken breasts?
You can certainly brine the chicken breasts before placing them into the smoker. I recommend a 2-hour brine time. While this is a great way to add extra moisture and tenderness, it really isn’t necessary for smoked chicken breasts. However, if you choose to brine, you can use my chicken brine recipe and use.
Do you need to flip the chicken breasts?
If you are quickly grilling chicken breasts, it is advised that you flip them. However, with smoked chicken breasts, you do not need to flip them.
- 4 chicken breasts medium-sized, boneless and skinless
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of Kansas City Rub or bottled rub
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or mustard
Preparing the chicken
Gather your ingredients. Here I have boneless, skinless chicken breasts, my Kansas City Rub in a bowl, and some vegetable oil. You can also brush on yellow mustard or Dijon mustard instead of using oil.
Cut off any excess fat on the chicken breasts. Blot dry with paper towels and brush both sides with a little oil (or mustard)—season chicken with the BBQ rub. Coat it well, and pat it to secure, but don’t overpack with excess amounts of rub.
Smoking and serving
Place your chicken breasts directly onto the grill grates. You can place a drip pan underneath if preferred. Close the lid of your smoker or grill, and let it go for 1 1/2-2 hours, or until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the smoked chicken breasts reaches 165 degrees F.
Once cooked, remove the chicken breasts and place them onto a clean cutting board. Tent with aluminum foil and allow them to rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with Grilled and Smoked Vegetables, or with a casserole like Twice Baked Potatoes or my personal favorite, Funeral Potatoes.
- Latin American: For a Latin-American flare, use my Sazon Rub, and after the smoked chicken breasts have come off the smoker, hit it with a little fresh lime juice before serving.
- Jamaican Jerk: Sometimes, a little Caribbean flare is all you need to set the day right. Season the chicken breasts with my Jamaican Jerk Rub before they go in the smoker. Serve with mango salsa or grilled pineapple.
- Korean Spice Rub: Use my popular Korean Spice Rub recipe on these smoked chicken breasts. Smoke as directed, then slice and serve them in Korean-style tacos along with toasted sesame seeds, chopped green onion, kimchi, and cucumber slices.
- Baharat Spice Rub: Looking for a Middle-Eastern flare. Then use my Baharat Spice Rub on your smoked chicken. Slice and serve with rice and your favorite sides.
Store your leftover smoked chicken breasts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in a skillet or 325-degree oven, until warmed through. For longer storage, place them into vacuum-sealed bags, seal tightly, and store them in your freezer for up to 3 months.
Like this recipe? Try our other smoked chicken recipes including a Smoked Whole Chicken! Or see All our Easy Chicken Recipes for the Grill or Smoker!
Smoked Chicken Breasts
- 4 chicken breasts medium-sized , boneless and skinless
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of Kansas City Rub or preferred rub use more if needed
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or mustard
- Prepare your grill for 225 degrees F. Add your preferred wood.
- Blot chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Brush both sides of the chicken with oil or mustard—season liberally with rub.
- Place seasoned chicken onto the grill grates, and set a drip pan underneath grates (optional). Close the lid, and cook the chicken for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until they register an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, in the thickest part of the meat.
- Once cooked, remove chicken breasts, and place them onto a clean cutting board. Tent with aluminum foil and let them rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Or freeze them in vacuum-sealed bags for up to 3 months.