Smoked chicken breast has all the deliciousness of grilled chicken with the added benefit of a delectably smoky flavor. Perfect as a main dish or side dish, this tasty smoked meat can be intimidating if you're used to cooking chicken in the oven or stovetop. However, once you figure out how long to smoke chicken breast and how to flavor it, you'll never go back.
Chicken is not only tasty, it's also full of health benefits like potassium, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C. When cooked right, it's both smoky and juicy, adding the perfect flavor and texture to tacos, salads and sandwiches.
How to Smoke Perfect Chicken Breast
The main struggle of making smoked chicken breast is smoking it for the right amount of time. Smoke it for too little time and it won't be fully cooked, which is both unappetizing and potentially dangerous. If you smoke it too long, it'll lose its juiciness and tenderness.
When smoking chicken, the best way to start is by brining it for a few hours before putting it on the grill. This makes the chicken more flavorful, along with providing extra moisture to keep it from getting to dry as it smokes. Depending on the recipe, you'll use BBQ rub, dry rub, marinade, or BBQ sauce to add flavor. Some common seasonings are onion powder, chili powder, paprika, black pepper and garlic powder.
The wood chips you use also affect the smoke flavor of the chicken. When smoking chicken breasts, you can use applewood, maple, cherry, hickory, or another depending on your preferences and how you plan on using the chicken.
How Long Does it Take to Smoke Chicken Breast?
Chicken breast is best when smoked at around 225 to 250 degrees F. If you smoke it at a lower temperature, the cooking time will be longer, so plan your meal accordingly. Another factor is the size of the chicken breast- the larger they are, the longer the total time of cooking will be.
It takes about one to two hours to smoke chicken breasts. Smaller ones, around 5 ounces, typically take about an hour. Larger ones that are 8 ounces or more should take about one and a half to two hours. The best way to deal with this is to have roughly the same size chicken breasts so that they're all done around the same time.
How Do You Know When Smoked Chicken Breast is Done?
When you're getting close to the time when your chicken should be done, it's time to check it with a thermometer. Test the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken breast. If it's 156 degrees F or higher, it's done. To make sure not to overcook the chicken, it's best to check it periodically throughout the cooking process so you know when it's getting close.
One the chicken is done, enjoy it on its own, with veggies on the side, in a taco, or any number of delicious ways. Here's a smoked chicken breast recipe at Smoking Grilling Living to try for yourself!
READ MORE: Chicken Thighs vs. Chicken Breasts & What's the Ultimate Poultry Pick?