How Long to Smoke Chicken Breast?

It’s time to find out how long to smoke chicken breast. This smoked chicken breast is an amazingly juicy, smoky chicken breast that is fast and perfect for several chickens.

It is an excellent meal for busy weekdays, and it will satisfy a crowd at a backyard BBQ.

How Long to Smoke Chicken Breast

To make this, all you need is chicken and some chicken seasoning, and then you are on your way to enjoying the perfect chicken breast.

How Long to Smoke Chicken Breast?

To answer the above question, it does take roughly 1 hour of cooking time to smoke chicken breast.

However, I suggest that you smoke the chicken to temperature and not to time.

So, it is best that you invest in a good, instant-read meat thermometer to help you keep track of the temp of your meat throughout the smoking process.

In my opinion, not using a good thermometer is the top reason for dry or undercooked chicken breasts.

I suggest that you monitor your chicken while it is in the smoker. Make sure you remove the chicken breast when the internal temperature reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, keep in mind to stick your meat thermometer in the thickest section of the meat.

After that, allow the meat to come to 165 degrees while tented with foil. The entire process will most likely take around 50 to 90 minutes, but this is based on the chicken, the consistency of the heat, and what type of smoker you are using.

Smoked Chicken Breasts

This flawless smoked chicken breast is succulent and juicy, along with a captivating smoky flavor. Below is how to make it step-by-step on your smoker.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Barbecue
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

For Smoking the Chicken:

  • 3 to 3 ½ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (around 6 medium breasts)
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter (melted), optional but very good
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Canola oil (for brushing the smoker)
  • Charcoal pellets, or whatever fuel your smoker uses
  • Wood chips or chunks (optional for smoking, like apple, oak, or pecan)

For the Chicken Breast Rub:

  • ½ teaspoon of celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons of onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder

Laid-Out Instructions

  • First, you are to remove the chicken from the refrigerator, then pat it very dry with paper towels. After that, place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet or similar surface; that way, you can easily carry it out to the smoker. Ensure that you brush both sides with the olive oil.
  • Get a small bowl and stir together the rub: kosher salt, smoked paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne, and celery salt.
  • That being done, sprinkle the chicken generously all over with the dry rub and allow it to stand at room temp while you prepare the smoker.
  • Proceed to heat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Your fire does not have to be very large if you are using a charcoal smoker. And make sure you add the wood before lighting it, mixing it with the charcoal. It is alright if your smoker gets a bit hotter than 225 degrees; just keep in mind that the chicken will cook more quickly.
  • After that, brush the smoker with the canola oil as an insurance policy against sticking. Then, add the breasts and smoke them until they reach 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer that you have inserted at the thickest part, 45 to 60 minutes based on the size of your breasts, how much your smoker temperature is fluctuating, and your smoker set up. I suggest that you check at the 30-minute mark to gauge your progress. Also, always smoke to temp, not to time on the clock. The carryover cooking will cause the chicken breast to rise to 165 degrees Fahrenheit as it rests.
  • You should melt the butter in a small bowl if you are using it and baste the chicken all over the top with the butter once the chicken reaches 140 to 150 degrees (around 30 or so minutes in) to make it extra tender and delectable. After that, continue smoking until the chicken breast reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which will take an additional 15 minutes.
  • Afterward, remove the chicken from the smoker, tent it with foil, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Then proceed to slice and enjoy.
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Storage Tips

To Store

You can store your leftovers in a tightly sealed container and place them in the refrigerator, which will make them last for up to 3 days.

To Reheat

For this, proceed to loosely cover the chicken breasts with foil and reheat in a 350-degree oven until they are warmed through, or just warm them carefully in the microwave.

To Freeze

You have the option to freeze your cooked smoked chicken breasts for up to 2 months. Just make sure that you wrap them tightly and place them in a tightly sealed container or freezer bag before freezing. Proceed to defrost the smoked chicken breasts overnight in the refrigerator.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind Of Smoker Do I Need To Smoke Chicken Breasts?

You can smoke chicken with an offset, pellet grill, charcoal smoker, vertical smoker, propane smoker, and so on.

However, all that is needed is a smoker that will cook the chicken breast with indirect heat.

When it comes to smoking chicken breast, the process is quite slower compared to grilling, but not as slow as you’d cook a brisket or a pork butt.

Your smoker will work just fine as long as it puts out smoke and runs between 250 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do I Need to Flip the Chicken When Smoking?

Personally, when I’m smoking chicken breast, I do not flip it over during the cooking.

Even though it’s a pitmaster choice, most smokers use airflow around the chicken to cook; that way, the whole piece of meat will be surrounded by heat.

And, yes, you will need to flip it if you are grilling chicken over a direct flame.

However, whenever you are cooking indirectly, as you do when smoking, you have the option of leaving the chicken for the entire cook without flipping.

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The Best Internal Temperature for Smoked Chicken

I suggest that you cook your smoked chicken breast to an internal temperature of 150 degrees if you are interested in the best-tasting, juicy, fully-cooked, safe-to-eat chicken.

Even though every package of chicken states that you cook it to an internal temp of 165 degrees F, keep in mind that that’s the temperature that kills all bacteria instantly and is also appropriate to use when you are cooking with high heat.

But your chicken breast might become dry and rubbery if you smoke it to this temperature.

As mentioned more than once in this guide, it’s all about time and temperature when it comes to smoking chicken.

That being said, if you bring your chicken to an internal temp of 150 degrees Fahrenheit and hold it there for 5 minutes, then that will be sufficient to kill any bacteria.

This is also covered in the USDA’s guidance on cooking poultry.

Final Thoughts

Well, smoked chicken breasts are great for meal prep, and you might as well make a brunch if you are smoking chicken.

Just proceed to slice them up and add them to salads for lunch, tuck them into wraps, and you also have the option of making them into sandwiches.

Well, you now know how long to smoke chicken breast, which concludes this guide.

How Long to Smoke Chicken Breast

How Long to Smoke Chicken Breast?

bbqgrillandsmoke
It’s time to find out how long to smoke chicken breast. This smoked chicken breast is an amazingly juicy, smoky chicken breast that is fast and perfect for several chickens.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

Ingredients for Smoking Chicken:

  • 3 to 3 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (approximately 6 medium breasts)
  • Optional: 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted (highly recommended)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Canola oil for greasing the smoker
  • Charcoal pellets or preferred fuel for the smoker
  • Optional wood chips or chunks for smoking e.g., apple, oak, pecan
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Chicken Breast Rub Ingredients:

  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper optional
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

Instructions
 

  • Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels.
  • Place the chicken on a parchment-lined baking sheet or similar surface for easy transport to the smoker. Brush both sides of the chicken with olive oil.
  • In a small bowl, combine the kosher salt, smoked paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne, and celery salt to create the rub.
  • Generously sprinkle the dry rub all over the chicken and let it sit at room temperature while you prepare the smoker.
  • Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. If using a charcoal smoker, the fire doesn’t need to be large. Add wood chips or chunks to the charcoal before lighting. It’s okay if the smoker temperature exceeds 225 degrees slightly, but be mindful as it may cook the chicken faster.
  • Brush the smoker grates with canola oil to prevent sticking, then place the chicken breasts on the grates.
  • Smoke the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which typically takes 45 to 60 minutes depending on breast size, smoker temperature fluctuations, and setup. Check progress after 30 minutes and monitor the internal temperature rather than relying solely on time.
  • If using butter, melt it in a small bowl and baste the chicken once it reaches 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, around 30 minutes into cooking, to enhance tenderness and flavor.
  • Continue smoking until the chicken reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, approximately 15 more minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the smoker, tent it loosely with foil, and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Slice the chicken and serve. Enjoy your smoked chicken!
Keyword How long to smoke chicken breast, smoked chicken breast

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