How Long to Smoke Chicken Breast? The Best Time [2023]

Smoking a chicken breast is one of the most flavorful ways to cook poultry and when you pair it with your favorite accompaniments, like vegetables or sides dishes, can be perfect for any occasion. But one factor people may have difficulty with is how long to smoke chicken breast in order for it to come out perfectly cooked every time. Knowing exactly how long to smoke chicken breast can be tricky because different variables such as size and type of smoker will affect the cooking time. In this blog post, we’ll demystify smoking chicken breasts by providing helpful guidelines that will ensure your smoked poultry comes out perfectly each and every time.

What Is The Best Wood For Smoking Chicken Breast?

For smoking chicken breast, the best wood options are hickory and oak if you prefer robust flavors. Maple, applewood, peachwood, and cherrywood, on the other hand, have enchantingly sweet and fruity undertones that are highly desirable.

How Long To Smoke Chicken Breast?

How Long To Smoke Chicken Breast?

For smoking chicken breast, it is recommended to maintain a temperature of 225°F until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. This process usually takes around 1 hour. Optionally, if you desire a slight crust on the chicken breast, continue smoking at 225°F until the internal temperature reaches 115°F.

Read on to learn more: how long to cook chicken breast in oven at 350

How To Smoke Chicken Breast?

To smoke chicken breast, follow these steps:

Food Prep

If your chicken breasts have tenderloins attached, use a knife to remove them. Save the tenderloins for another dish. Apply a coat of oil and season each chicken breast on both sides with your favorite chicken seasoning.

Grill Prep

  • Fuel: We recommend Kingsford® Hardwood Pellets.
  • Temperature: Set the grill to 225°F.

The Cook

Place the thermometer probe into the thickest part of the chicken breast, positioning it at the center of your pellet grill.

Smoke the chicken breast at 225°F until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. This process typically takes about 1 hour.

Optional: For a slight crust on the chicken breast, smoke it at 225°F until it reaches an internal temperature of 115°F. Then, raise the temperature of the smoker to 375°F until the chicken breast reaches 165°F internally.

Once the chicken breast reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, remove it from the grill. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before slicing to ensure all the juicy flavors are locked in.

Why Smoke Chicken Breasts Instead Of Grilling?

Smoking chicken breasts instead of grilling offers several advantages. First and foremost, smoking is a traditional method of cooking and preserving food with low, indirect heat. It has been used for centuries to prevent spoilage. Additionally, smoking meat, including chicken breasts, has the wonderful effect of breaking down collagen, resulting in tender and flavorful meat. To enhance the taste, you can consider brining the chicken or adding your preferred seasoning.

One downside to smoking meat is the time it takes. Unlike grilling, which can have dinner ready in as little as 30 minutes, smoking requires a longer cooking period. Smoking a whole chicken typically takes around three to five hours, while smoking a brisket can take as long as 12 hours! Monitoring the temperature consistently throughout the process is crucial.

However, the upside is that smoking is considered a healthier cooking method compared to grilling. The consistently low heat in smoking ensures the absence of cancer-causing compounds that can be produced during grilling.

When considering cooking options for chicken breasts, smoking provides a unique flavor profile and a tender texture that is hard to match with other methods.

How Do You Know When Smoked Chicken Is Fully Cooked?

How Do You Know When Smoked Chicken Is Fully Cooked?

To determine if smoked chicken is fully cooked, follow these steps:

  1. Utilize a digital meat thermometer.
  2. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, being cautious not to touch any bones as this may affect the temperature reading.
  3. Take note of the temperature. Once it reaches 165°F or higher, the smoked chicken is completely cooked and safe for consumption.

Storing And Reheating Smoked Chicken Breast

Once your smoked chicken breast has been fully cooked and allowed to cool, it is important to store it correctly. Let the chicken cool down completely before packing it into airtight containers or freezer bags. Be sure to label and date the containers before placing them in the fridge or freezer.

When reheating smoked chicken breast, do so gently and slowly on low heat. This will help maintain the juiciness and tenderness of the meat.

More Smoked Chicken Recipes

If you’re looking to expand your smoked chicken repertoire, here are some delicious recipes you can try:

  • Smoked Chicken Salad Sandwiches: A perfect lunch or light dinner option.
  • Smoked Chicken and Pineapple Skewers: Perfect for a summer barbecue.
  • Smoked Buffalo Chicken Dip: The ultimate appetizer for game day.

6 thoughts on “How Long to Smoke Chicken Breast? The Best Time [2023]”

  1. I realize this is stupid long, but I see a lot of people complaining about chicken breasts here and elsewhere. I spent a few mornings writing this up while drinking my coffee. I hope it helps someone make chicken breasts not suck!

    • No, it’s great and it’s a popular save already. And don’t ever let anyone shame you for long reads. Some of us take the time to read, and write, long posts and comments.

  2. This is great! Will definitely use some of this. I make 6 chicken breasts a week normally. To avoid any odditites with cooking though I have been cooking the chicken sous vide. Comes out perfect everytime and then I just throw it on the highest heat I can get on the grill for about 2 min just to get some charring on the outside.

  3. Very good and educational guide. Thanks for sharing! I was not aware Walmart chicken breast would contain so much added water, but at the same time, I’m not too surprised


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