How To Smoke Chicken
Well, add smoke. LOL Seriously, smoking chicken isn’t all that hard. You do need to know a few things though. The trick with chicken is to cook it thoroughly without drying it out. When I use an [easyazon_link identifier=”B000ZKZJMY” locale=”US” tag=”thecu0a-20″]electric smoker[/easyazon_link], which I usually do, I usually smoke it at about 300° F. for about an hour or until it reaches at least 165° F internal temp.
What Type Of Wood To Smoke With
There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to wood chips. Some types of wood can have a very strong flavor while others leave a more subtle flavor. Here are some different woods you might try with your smoked chicken.
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B000RUFMLA” locale=”US” tag=”thecu0a-20″]Alder[/easyazon_link] – is a delicate sweet flavored wood that goes great with fish, poultry, pork or some game birds.
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B000RN0VO0″ locale=”US” tag=”thecu0a-20″]Apple[/easyazon_link] – is a mild, sweet, lightly fruity flavored smoke and is great for most meats, other than fish.
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B001BDW620″ locale=”US” tag=”thecu0a-20″]Cherry[/easyazon_link] – is similar to apple, however, cherry works great for all meats.
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B006OD885G” locale=”US” tag=”thecu0a-20″]Hickory[/easyazon_link] – creates a sweet but strong bacon flavor and the smoke can be quite pungent. It works really well with pork.
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B000QFDEF2″ locale=”US” tag=”thecu0a-20″]Mesquite[/easyazon_link] – is a strong earthy flavor that works great with most dark meats. Mesquite burns quite hot.
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B00NSOWG9S” locale=”US” tag=”thecu0a-20″]Pecan[/easyazon_link] – is stronger than other fruity woods. It is great for just about any cut of meat.
These are just a few of the woods to chose from. If you want to get a more detailed list, check out Charbroil.com’s list. I often use mesquite or hickory but have recently discovered how great cherry is for smoking poultry. Cherry is now my preferred smoking wood.
Are Smoked Chicken Breasts Healthy
To answer that question, yes, smoked chicken breasts are healthy. They are low in calories and fat, but high in protein. Chicken is also still relatively cheap compared to fattier meat such as beef. If you eat meat and are looking for something healthy, chicken is the way to go and chicken breast is the best cut to use. Dark meat on the chicken is fattier so keep that in mind if you are trying to be health conscious.
How Many Calories Are In Smoked Chicken
Calories can vary when making smoked chicken. If you choose to make the meat boneless, skinless, breasts then you are cutting out a lot of the fat, and thus a lot of the calories. This is a great choice when you want a full flavored meal without the huge calories. Full-sized chicken breasts, in general, are only about 280 calories, depending on how big your servings are. That leaves room for a delicious side to serve with your chicken.
This recipe for smoked chicken breast is very easy and it can be repeated it in any smoker.
How Much Is One Serving Of Chicken Breast
Generally, one serving of chicken breast is considered three ounces and has about 102 calories. So plan accordingly if you are watching calories. I tend to make my portions a little larger than three ounces, in fact, more like the whole breast. Also, barbecue sauce adds a few more calories than listed here.
How Long Do You Cook Smoked Chicken Breast
How long you smoke the chicken depends on how many pounds you are smoking and the temperature at which you smoke it. In an electric smoker (like my homemade smoker), I usually smoke a couple of chicken breasts at about 250º to 300º degrees Fahrenheit for roughly 45 minutes to an hour. Again, it is more important to reach 165º F internal temperature, than to measure how long you cook it for.
What Temperature Is Chicken Breast Done
The important thing to remember is to not overcook it, What temperature is the chicken breast done? Well, you never want to undercook chicken. Therefore, you want the internal temperature of the chicken to be about 165º degrees F. Consequently, remember to always rest the meat. I usually rest chicken for at least 3 minutes. If it is a whole roasted chicken, then I rest it for at least 15 minutes.
How To Smoke Chicken Breast
Smoking chicken breast is pretty easy depending on the type of smoker you use. For this recipe, I use an electric smoker so it was super easy to control the temperature. I smoked these breasts at about 300° for 45 minutes to an hour. Lower temperatures for longer periods of time could dry out the chicken so be cautious of that. Dried out chicken is freaking nasty. Charcoal smokers are a little trickier to control the temperature on, so keep a close eye on them when you use them. Start the charcoal well ahead of time so that you can get a good gauge on the temperature. For charcoal smokers, make sure you soak the wood chips. Some smokers, like my old Little Cheif smoker, never really needed the chips soaked, but charcoal smokers work much better with soaked wood chips.
Smoked Chicken Breast Story
Awhile back, a friend came to visit with her son and she brought some chicken to barbecue. She brought four gorgeous skinless chicken breasts. I suggested that we should toss some rub on it and smoke it in the “Garbecue“. She said she had seen my posts on Facebook about the “Garbecue” and was curious about it. I cranked up the heat on the”Garbecue” up to high, tossed some rub on the chicken and put it in the smoker. After about an hour the chicken was a gorgeous dark brown and was registering an internal temperature of about 165º F. At this point, it was done so I removed it. The chicken was tender and juicy and perfectly cooked.
If you are interested in building your own homemade barbecue, here are some of the parts I used.
The most important part of the “Garbecue” is the burner. I chose this particular burner because of the fact that it has a heat control knob. I started this project using just a countertop burner, but I quickly found out it did not get hot enough for the size of a garbage can I was using. This one can pump out the heat and therefore cook chicken. It can also get low enough to smoke ribs and pork shoulder. I usually smoke pork at around 225 and this seems to work well on this burner. One great thing about this design too is that you can replace the burner when it goes bad. I’ve still got the original burner I purchase about 3 years ago and its still going strong.
If you are looking for a non-galvanized garbage can, look hard. It was not easy to find. You could probably use a lot of other types of containers as well. Just watch out for anything that may seep chemicals at a higher temperature and look out for anything that may have resided in the drum before you acquired it. Damn Fine Dishes takes no responsibility for any mishaps caused by acquiring a bad or contaminated container.
The other thing you will need is some sort of grill grate to place the pans and meat on. I usually put my stuff in a pan and smoke it that way. The benefit of this is that the grease stays in the pan. Be sure you get the correct size for your smoker. The other thing I did was lay two metal bars across the smoker so that I could rest a pan or the grates on them. I found these at Home Depot for a buck or two.
This recipe was updated from my original post from June of 2014.
LOOKING FOR A NEW SMOKER
If you want a comprehensive review of several different types of electric smokers, check out the Electric Smoker Guys website. This man has a vast knowledge of smokers and meat smoking. If you have any questions, I know he would be happy to help you out.
***If you are interested in building your own “Garbecue“, you can see how in my YouTube video available here. Or you can find the instructions in The Culinary Camper cookbook, available at your favorite bookstore and on Amazon.
Smoked Chicken Breast
A healthy and deliciously smoked chicken breast without the skin or bone.
- 4 4 oz skinless chicken breasts (bone in or out)
- 1 tbsp Tom Douglas Chicken Rub
Prepare the smoker with wood chips.
Rub the chicken liberally with the rub.
Place the chicken in the smoker at about 300 degrees for about one hour. This depends on the temperature of your smoker. At 350 degrees, you will want to check for doneness much sooner.
Check chicken after one hour. If the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees remove the chicken and let it rest for at least 5 minutes.
Serve with barbeque sauce and your favorite vegetable.