Grills Outdoor

How To Smoke Chicken Breast – Tender & Delicious

Written by George Arthur

Methods To Smoke Chicken Beast

Protein is most important for body growth, and chicken is the best source of protein that everybody loves to eat. Even teenagers are also willing to eat chicken. Chicken is prepared in different ways like baked, grilled, fried, and poached worldwide. Now-a-day you can make this chicken more delicious by infusing smoke. In this article you will learn about how to smoke chicken breast. This juicy and tender smoked meat is easy to make and can be used as a main dish in your weeknight family dinners and backyard barbeque parties. You can use this versatile smoked chicken in sandwiches, salads, tacos and can be added to pasta.

Required Tools and Equipment

  • You need three pieces of chunks of dry wood for smoking on the grill. You can choose your favorite one from the variety of woods like apple, maple, cherry.
  • A large bowl or container that can hold chicken breast with two quarts of water.
  • One foiled lining water pan (In case you are using a charcoal grill)
  • A small bowl for mixing all ingredients of the rub
  • One large dish or Baking sheet for placing the chicken breast
  • Basting brush or one large spoon. For pouring juices or oil to keep the chicken moist.
  • An instant-read meat thermometer to check the temperature of the meat at different times.
  • A charcoal grill or pellet grill for smoking the chicken breast
  • Chimney starter

Brining the Chicken Breast Or Preparing the Chicken for Smoking

Brining chicken breast is an essential step before smoking. It is the secret of delicious juicy smoked meat. Fully submerging the chicken in a sugar-salt solution for one to two hours is called brining. The brine will break down the protein in the chicken breast. It will lock the moisture and tenderness throughout the meat that will keep the chicken from drying out during the cooking process in the smoker. Brining will infuse a wonderful nice flavor when it is cooked. You can make tasteless white chicken much juicier and tasty with brine. You can brine your chicken breast using three different methods.

Dry Brine:


  • Kosher Salt 2 Tablespoons
  • Brown sugar 2 Tablespoons (White Sugar may use)
  • Grand Rosemary 2 tablespoons


Mix all spices and herbs in a bowl. Lay down the breast in a dish or on a baking sheet. Gently rub with your fingers this mixture on the whole skin of the chicken breast and refrigerate it without covering it for at least 30 minutes. It will penetrate salt flavor down to the meat.

After getting out of the refrigerator, with the help of a brush remove excess salt from the chicken. No need to wash it because washing may spread bacteria. It is ready to move towards the upcoming preparation.

Wet Brine:


  • 6 Pieces Chicken breast (Boneless, Skinless)
  • ½ Cup Kosher Salt
  • ½ Cup White Sugar
  • 8 Cups Water


Boil the water in a bowl over medium heat and add salt sugar mixture to it. Stir it until all salt and sugar dissolve in the water. Remove the bowl from the heat and let the brine cool at room temperature. Then submerge the chicken breast in the brine and refrigerate it for four hours. After that, bring out the chicken breast from the brine solution and pat dry with a paper towel for rubbing seasoning. Wet brining will add more flavor and moisture to the breast meat. The result will be that chicken breasts remain tender and juicy after smoking.

Rosemary Chicken Brine


  • 2 gallons Water
  • Whole garlic Cloves (10 pieces)
  • Whole peppercorns 2 tablespoons
  • Kosher Salt 2 Cups
  • ½ Cup Vinegar
  • 1 and ½ Cups White Sugar
  • Rosemary 2 Tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • 6 Pieces Chicken Breast (Boneless and skinless)


Heat the water in a large pan and add all ingredients to it. Stir it over low heat until salt and sugar are completely dissolved in the water. Cook it for two more minutes. Then turn off the stove and let it cool completely at room temperature. You should prepare this brine the day before and refrigerate it. Take a container or shallow pan, place the breast piece in it and pour the brine over the top so that each chicken breast is completely soaked. Place this container in the fridge for four to six hours. This brine will lock the moisture and will add rosemary flavor to the chicken breast. Separate chicken breast from rosemary brine solution and move toward the next step of rubbing.

how to smoke chicken breast

Best Tips For The Best Smoked Chicken Breast

  • It would be better to bring out these pieces from the fridge; just before transferring them to the smoker. It will be healthy and nutritious according to health and safety issues. And cold meat has the quality to absorb smoke flavor much better than one cooled down at room temperature.
  • You can add different flavors to your smoked chicken breast; by trying different types of wood pallets like apple, and cherry.
  • You would use an instant thermometer to read the temperature of 165’ F at the thickest parts of the breast. For even cooking, select chicken breast roughly of the same size. It will also give you the advantage that they will cook at the same time.
  • Use homemade BBQ rub and BBQ sauce because they are best in taste. Prepare BBQ rub and BBQ sauce more than the requirement of the recipe. You can store leftover sauce and BBQ rub in a dry and cool place for six months.
  • You can make it spicier and garlicky by tweaking more the spice rub.

How to Prepare The Smoker for Chicken Breast

After brining the chicken breast, the next step is to transfer this chicken to the smoker for cooking. But before learning How to Smoke Chicken Breast, you would need to know how to prepare your smoker. Every smoker has its preparation procedure and can make a delicate texture with a delicious taste of smoked chicken breast. This guide will provide you information about how different smokers heat up and smoking the chicken?

Charcoal Smoker:

Many chefs prefer charcoal smoker because it gives a nice juicy flavor and makes a delightful crust on the outer side of the chicken. For preparing a charcoal grill smoker, first of all, put the charcoal into the base pan and lit, leaving the smoker uncovered for some time until the smoker grill shows the ideal temperature for smoking the chicken breast, that is 225’F. 

Propane Smoker:

This gas smoker is ideal for smoking breasts due to its easy and fast control of the temperature model. Wood chunks that you are going to use soak in water for about 30 to 45 minutes. Take the water pan, line it with foil, and fill it with water or cider for different tastes. Now prepare the smoker and start-up after setting the right temperature about 225 Fahrenheit for chicken breast. Heat it up for 10 minutes. Put soaked wood into the pan, setting above the burner and heating up until it starts to smoke. Now the smoker is ready to smoke the chicken breast. 

Pellet Smoker:

Pellet smoker has the quality to keep an even temperature throughout the smoker. So you do not need to keep an eye to monitor the time and temperature when you are using a pellet grill for smoking. Pellet smoker uses electricity to heat an auger. To smoke, this auger is fed wood pellets. Set the temperature to smoke the chicken breast at 225 Fahrenheit to 250 Fahrenheit. When it starts smoking, place the chicken breast inside the smoker. 

Electric Smoker:

This electric smoker produces moist and juicy smoked chicken meat. This grill is easy to use. You have to Brine the chicken, select the time and temperature. Close to the end of cooking time, you will check the internal temperature with a digital meat thermometer that will show the breast has cooked. To prepare the grill for smoking, add water into the bottom water pan and fill the tray with wood chips, turn on the smoker, and heat it at 225’F to 250’ F. Hardwood chunks would be better for this smoker. You can add chicken breast for smoking in the preheated smoker at 225 Fahrenheit. 

Also Check: best electric smoker grill

Best Wood Types for smoked chicken breast

There is a different variety of wood pellets with sweet, soft notes like cherry, apple, decan, hickory. You can choose your favorite one when you are smoking chicken. Before choosing wood, keep in mind will it be a good combination of chicken breast, the brine seasonings, and smoke from the wood? Each wood smoke infuses a different flavor into the chicken breast. In this guide, you will get information on how you can make different flavors of smoked chicken breast using different kinds of woods.

Maple Wood:It gives a mild and sweet flavor to the chicken breast

Apple Wood:It infuses a mellow and sweet flavor to the chicken breast

Cherry Wood: Creates a mildly sweet and fruity flavor to the chicken breast

Mesquite Wood: This wood creates an intense flavor in the brined chicken breast.

Best Time And Temperature for Smoked Chicken Breast

Time and temperature are the most important things when cooking chicken breast in the smoker. According to a general rule, perfectly cooked smoked chicken in a preheated smoker at 225 Fahrenheit requires 55 to 90 minutes. It also depends on the chicken thickness, consistency of the heat, and type of smoker. The internal temperature of the meat, regardless of the size of chicken breast, on a digital meat thermometer should be 165 Fahrenheit.

Spicy Smoke Chicken Breast Rub

For the Rub:

  • Garlic Powder (2 Tablespoons)
  • Onion Powder (2 Tablespoons)
  • Black Pepper Powder (2 Tablespoon)
  • Paprika (2 Tablespoons)
  • Parsley (2 Tablespoons)
  • 5 (Crushed into small pieces) Bay leaves

For the Sauce:

  • ½ Cup Melted Butter
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons BBQ Sauce

Step By Step Instructions:

    • Put chicken breast on the large dish or sheet pan. Mix all species in a bowl. Then rub this spicy mixture on the breast pieces all around generously. Pat Down with your fingers so that species stick on the chicken. Place these pieces in the refrigerator uncovered for 30 minutes to one hour.
    • Preheat the smoker for about 15 minutes at a grate level of 225 Fahrenheit.
    • Set your breast pieces directly on top of the grill grate and let it smoke for at least 40 to 45 minutes.
    • During this duration, you should prepare the sauce for basting the chicken. For the preparation of the sauce, mix butter, sugar, and BBQ sauce in a bowl.
    • Pour some sauce on the chicken breast with your Basting brush and cover the breast surface completely. Repeat the process after two to three minutes for 15 minutes so that the sauce seeps into the chicken.
    • After smoking the chicken for approximately 55 minutes or 60 minutes, check the internal temperature of these pieces by inserting the instant-read thermometer. The internal temperature of the thickest parts of the chicken should be at 165 Fahrenheit.
    • Now remove the chicken breast from the smoker. Wrap with aluminum foil loosely to lock the heat at serving temperature and allow 5 minutes to rest. In this way, juices will redistribute in the meat.

How To Store And Reheat The Smoked Chicken Breast

    • You can store smoked meat in the refrigerator by keeping it in a food storage container with an airtight lid. It would be safe for up to four days. When you want to serve it, reheat this chicken in the oven or smoker. A microwave can also be used.
    • You can extend the shelf life of this smoked chicken breast by freezing it. Place your chicken into the freezer zip- top- bag. Compress this bag to get as much air out as you can and seal it. You can use this frozen smoked chicken breast for up to 3 months. One day before serving, bring it out from the freezer and put it in the refrigerator.

About the author

George Arthur

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