Smoked Bone-in Chicken Breasts Barbecue – Grilled to Greatness

Are you ready to experience the tender, juicy taste of my Smoked Bone-in Chicken Breasts? Join me as I take you on a BBQ journey to perfection right from your own backyard.

Key Takeaways:

  • Smoking bone-in chicken breasts can result in tender, juicy, and flavorful meat.
  • Using a dry rub and homemade barbecue sauce can enhance the taste of the chicken.
  • Monitoring the internal temperature with a meat thermometer is crucial for perfectly cooked chicken.
  • Pit Boss and Traeger are popular pellet grills for smoking chicken breasts, but other smokers or grills can be used.
  • Brining the chicken before smoking can add flavor and moisture to the meat.

The Art of Smoking Chicken Breasts

Smoking Chicken Breasts

Smoking chicken breasts is an art that involves using a dry rub, monitoring the internal temperature with a meat thermometer, and utilizing the right equipment such as pellet grills, smokers, or traditional grills. The process begins with preparing the chicken breasts by seasoning them with a flavorful dry rub. This can include a combination of spices and herbs that enhance the taste of the meat during the smoking process.

Once the chicken breasts are seasoned, it’s important to monitor the internal temperature throughout the smoking process. A meat thermometer is a crucial tool in ensuring that the chicken is cooked to perfection, with an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure that the meat is safe to eat while still retaining its tenderness and juiciness.

When it comes to equipment, pellet grills are a popular choice for smoking chicken breasts. Brands like Pit Boss and Traeger offer pellet grills that provide consistent heat and a smoky flavor. However, if you don’t have a pellet grill, a smoker or traditional grill can also be used to achieve delicious results.

Equipment Pros Cons
Pellet Grill (Pit Boss) – Consistent heat
– Smoky flavor
– Requires pellets
– Higher initial cost
Pellet Grill (Traeger) – Versatile
– Easy to use
– Requires pellets
– Higher initial cost
Smoker – Intense flavor
– Time-tested method
– Requires more monitoring
– Takes longer to heat up
Traditional Grill – Versatile
– Familiar to many
– May require additional smoking accessories
– Requires more monitoring

By mastering the art of smoking chicken breasts, you can create tender, juicy, and flavorful meat that will impress your family and friends. Whether you choose to use a pellet grill, smoker, or traditional grill, the key is to take your time, monitor the internal temperature, and experiment with different flavor profiles to find what suits your taste preferences. So fire up the grill and get ready to enjoy the mouthwatering flavors of smoked chicken breasts!

Choosing the Perfect Rub and Sauce

How to make brine

Elevate the flavor of your smoked chicken breasts by choosing the perfect blend of seasonings and slathering them with homemade barbecue sauce, resulting in a caramelized and charred finish. The right combination of seasonings can take your smoked chicken from good to exceptional. Experiment with a variety of herbs, spices, and rubs to create a flavor profile that suits your taste.

To begin, select a dry rub that complements the natural flavors of the chicken. Common ingredients include salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. You can also add a touch of cayenne pepper for a subtle heat or herbs like thyme or rosemary for a fragrant twist.

Once you’ve applied the dry rub, it’s time to slather on the homemade barbecue sauce. This sauce will add a sweet and tangy glaze to your chicken as it smokes. Consider making your own sauce using a combination of ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and spices. This allows you to customize the flavors to your liking.

Recommended Homemade Barbecue Sauce Recipe:

“Combine 1 cup of ketchup, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of cayenne pepper in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly. Let it cool before using.”

As your chicken breasts smoke, periodically baste them with the barbecue sauce to build up a sticky glaze. Towards the end of the cooking process, move the chicken over direct heat to allow the sauce to caramelize and create a beautiful charred crust. This combination of flavors and textures will leave you with irresistibly delicious smoked chicken breasts.

Seasoning Ideas: Homemade Barbecue Sauce Recipe:
  • Classic BBQ rub
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Lemon pepper
  • Garlic and herb
  • Southwest spice blend
  1. 1 cup ketchup
  2. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  4. 2 tablespoons vinegar
  5. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. 1 teaspoon onion powder
  7. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. Pinch of cayenne pepper

Temperature and Time Guidelines

To achieve tender and juicy smoked chicken breasts, it is recommended to smoke them at a temperature of 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit until they reach an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintaining the proper cooking temperature is crucial for achieving the perfect balance of smoky flavor and moist meat.

When smoking chicken breasts, it is important to use a meat thermometer to accurately monitor the internal temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, avoiding contact with the bone, as this can give false readings.

Smoking bone-in chicken breasts at a lower temperature for a longer period of time allows the meat to absorb that rich smoky flavor. Cooking times may vary depending on the size and thickness of the breasts, but a general guideline is to smoke them for approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. It’s always a good idea to check the internal temperature periodically to ensure they are cooked to perfection.

During the smoking process, it’s crucial to resist the temptation to open the smoker or grill too frequently, as this can cause fluctuations in temperature and extend the cooking time. Remember, patience is key when smoking chicken breasts, as low and slow cooking yields the best results.

Temperature Time
225-250 degrees Fahrenheit 1.5 to 2 hours

Enhancing Flavor with Brining

Take your smoked chicken breasts to the next level by brining them beforehand, which infuses the meat with flavor and locks in moisture for an incredibly juicy outcome. Brining is a simple and effective technique that involves soaking the chicken breasts in a saltwater solution, often with additional seasonings or spices, for a period of time before smoking. The salt in the brine helps to break down the proteins in the meat, allowing it to retain more moisture and resulting in tender, succulent chicken.

To brine your chicken breasts, start by preparing a brine solution. In a large container, dissolve salt and any desired seasonings or spices in water. You can get creative with your brine by adding ingredients like herbs, garlic, brown sugar, or citrus zest to enhance the flavor profile. Once the brine is ready, submerge the chicken breasts in the solution, making sure they are completely covered. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

After brining, remove the chicken breasts from the solution and pat them dry with paper towels. The brined chicken is now ready to be seasoned with a dry rub or marinade before smoking. The brining process not only adds flavor but also helps to prevent the chicken from drying out during the smoking process. You’ll be rewarded with chicken breasts that are bursting with flavor and have a moist, juicy texture that will impress your friends and family at your next barbecue gathering.

The Benefits of Brining:

  • Infuses the meat with flavor
  • Locks in moisture for juicy chicken
  • Prevents the chicken from drying out during smoking
  • Enhances the tenderness of the meat
  • Allows for creative customization with various seasonings and spices
Brining Time Chicken Breast Size Salt-to-Water Ratio
4 hours Regular-sized chicken breasts 1/4 cup salt per 4 cups of water
6-8 hours Larger chicken breasts 1/4 cup salt per 4 cups of water
Overnight All sizes of chicken breasts 1/4 cup salt per 4 cups of water

Brining is a versatile technique that can be used for various cuts of chicken, including bone-in chicken breasts. It’s a simple step that can elevate your smoked chicken to new heights of flavor and juiciness. So why not give brining a try and experience the difference it can make in your barbecue creations?

Serving Suggestions and Leftover Ideas

Serving Chicken Breast

Pair your smoked chicken breasts with delectable sides to create a mouthwatering meal, and discover creative ways to use any leftovers in sandwiches or other delightful recipes. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or simply enjoying a flavorful meal at home, these serving suggestions and leftover ideas will take your smoked chicken to the next level.


Enhance the flavors of your smoked chicken breasts with a variety of delicious sides. Consider serving them with classic barbecue options like creamy coleslaw, tangy potato salad, or buttery cornbread. For a healthier twist, opt for grilled vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, and asparagus. These colorful and flavorful sides will perfectly complement the smoky and juicy chicken.


Transform your smoked chicken leftovers into mouthwatering sandwiches. Shred the chicken and pile it high on a fresh bun or ciabatta roll. Add some crunchy lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and tangy pickles for additional texture and flavor. For a burst of tanginess, spread some homemade barbecue sauce or mayo on the bread. These sandwiches are perfect for a quick and satisfying lunch or dinner.


Take your leftovers beyond sandwiches with creative recipes that make the most of your smoked chicken breasts. Whip up a flavorful smoked chicken pasta salad by combining chopped chicken with cooked pasta, diced veggies, and a zesty dressing. Or try adding the shredded chicken to a hearty soup or stew for a comforting meal. The options are endless, so let your creativity guide you in creating new and exciting dishes using your smoked chicken.

Serving Suggestions: Leftover Ideas:
– Creamy coleslaw – Sandwiches with shredded chicken
– Tangy potato salad – Smoked chicken pasta salad
– Buttery cornbread – Chicken soup or stew
– Grilled vegetables – Creative recipes using shredded chicken

Variations and Flavorful Additions

Chicken breasts with sauce

Customize the taste of your smoked chicken breasts by experimenting with various seasonings and sauces, allowing you to create your own signature flavors. Adding different seasonings and sauces to your smoked chicken can elevate the taste and bring a unique twist to your barbecue experience.

When it comes to seasonings, the possibilities are endless. You can go for classic options like salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika for a simple and flavorful profile. Or, you can get creative and experiment with different herb and spice combinations, such as rosemary and thyme, cumin and coriander, or even a touch of smoky chipotle powder for a hint of heat.

Alternatively, you can take your smoked chicken to the next level by slathering it with your favorite barbecue sauce. Whether you prefer a sweet and tangy sauce, a spicy and smoky one, or something in between, the choice is yours. From store-bought options to homemade recipes, there are countless sauce variations to explore and find the perfect match for your taste buds.

Flavorful Additions

If you’re looking to add an extra layer of flavor to your smoked chicken breasts, consider incorporating some flavorful additions. For a hint of citrus, try adding lemon or lime zest to your dry rub. If you enjoy a bit of sweetness, a touch of brown sugar or honey can do the trick. And for those who crave a touch of heat, a sprinkle of chili flakes or a few dashes of hot sauce can add a delicious kick to the smoky goodness.

Remember, the beauty of smoking chicken breasts is that you have the freedom to experiment and find your own unique flavor combinations. Whether you prefer a traditional seasoning blend, a bold and spicy sauce, or a mix of unexpected additions, the key is to personalize your smoked chicken to suit your taste preferences. So, get creative, have fun, and enjoy the endless variations and possibilities that smoking bone-in chicken breasts for barbecue can offer!

Seasoning Ideas Sauce Suggestions
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Sweet and tangy barbecue sauce
  • Spicy and smoky barbecue sauce
  • Homemade honey mustard sauce
  • Rosemary and thyme
  • Cumin and coriander
  • Smoky chipotle powder
  • Curry powder
  • Kansas City-style barbecue sauce
  • Carolina-style barbecue sauce
  • Texas-style barbecue sauce

Recommended Cookers and Equipment

Smokers and Chicken Breast

Discover the best cookers and equipment, including pellet grills like Pit Boss and Traeger, smokers, and grills that will help you achieve exceptional results when smoking chicken breasts. These versatile cooking devices are designed to enhance the smoky flavor and tenderness of the meat, allowing you to create mouth-watering barbecue right in your own backyard.

Pellet Grills

Pellet grills, such as the renowned Pit Boss and Traeger models, are ideal for smoking chicken breasts. These grills use wood pellets as fuel, infusing the meat with rich, smoky flavors. With precise temperature control and even heat distribution, pellet grills ensure consistent results every time. You can easily adjust the temperature settings and monitor the cooking process with digital controls and built-in meat probes.

Smokers and Grills

While pellet grills are popular choices, you can also achieve excellent results with other smokers and traditional grills. Offset smokers, electric smokers, and charcoal grills are all great options for smoking chicken breasts. Invest in a smoker or grill that suits your cooking preferences and budget. Look for features like temperature gauges, adjustable vents, and ample cooking space to accommodate the size of your chicken breasts and other ingredients.

Essential Accessories

In addition to the main cooking equipment, there are a few essential accessories that will make your smoking experience even better. A high-quality meat thermometer is a must-have tool to ensure your chicken breasts are cooked to perfection. Using a digital thermometer with a probe allows you to monitor the internal temperature of the meat, guaranteeing juicy and safe-to-eat results.

Other useful accessories include grilling gloves, long-handled tongs, and basting brushes for easy handling and application of rubs and sauces. A meat injector can also add extra flavor and moisture by injecting marinades or brines into the chicken breasts before smoking.

Cooker or Equipment Features
Pellet Grills Wood pellet fuel, precise temperature control, digital controls, built-in meat probes
Smokers Offset smokers, electric smokers, charcoal grills, temperature gauges, adjustable vents, ample cooking space
Accessories Meat thermometer, grilling gloves, long-handled tongs, basting brushes, meat injector

Investing in the right cookers and equipment will greatly enhance your smoking experience and help you achieve mouth-watering results when smoking chicken breasts. Whether you opt for a pellet grill like Pit Boss or Traeger, a smoker, or a traditional grill, make sure to equip yourself with essential accessories to make the process easier and more enjoyable. With the right tools at your disposal, you’ll be able to create tender, juicy, and flavorful smoked chicken breasts that will impress your friends and family at your next barbecue gathering.

Health Benefits of Smoked Chicken Breasts

Indulge in the deliciousness of smoked chicken breasts while enjoying the health benefits of lean meat, with a range of healthy chicken breast recipes to satisfy your taste buds. Smoked chicken breasts are a nutritious addition to any meal, providing a good source of protein and essential vitamins and minerals.

When smoked, chicken breasts retain their natural juiciness and tenderness while infused with smoky flavors. This cooking method requires little to no added fats or oils, making it a healthier alternative to frying or sautéing. Plus, the slow smoking process allows the excess fat to render out, resulting in a leaner and lower-calorie dish.

By incorporating smoked chicken breasts into your diet, you can enjoy the benefits of a lean protein source. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, supporting muscle growth, and maintaining a healthy immune system. It also helps keep you feeling full and satisfied, making it an excellent choice for weight management and overall well-being.

With a variety of healthy chicken breast recipes available, you can explore different flavor profiles and cooking techniques. From marinating the chicken in tangy citrus or yogurt-based marinades to using aromatic herbs and spices, the possibilities are endless. Whether you prefer to serve smoked chicken breasts with a refreshing salad or as the centerpiece of a hearty meal, you can create satisfying dishes that are both nutritious and delicious.

Health Benefits of Smoked Chicken Breasts:
Provides a good source of lean protein
Low in calories and fat
Rich in essential vitamins and minerals
Aids in muscle growth and tissue repair
Supports a healthy immune system
Helps with weight management

Tips and Tricks for Perfectly Smoked Chicken Breasts

Unlock the secrets to perfectly smoked chicken breasts with our insider tips and tricks, ensuring your culinary adventure is a delicious and satisfying one.

To achieve tender and juicy smoked chicken breasts, start by seasoning them with a dry rub of your choice. This will infuse the meat with flavor as it smokes. For added convenience, consider brining the chicken breasts beforehand to enhance their moisture and taste. Brining involves soaking the chicken in a mixture of water, salt, and other seasonings for a designated period of time before smoking. This technique will help the meat stay juicy and flavorful throughout the cooking process.

When it comes to smoking, temperature control is key. Aim for a steady temperature of around 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal results. Use a reliable meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the chicken breasts. The recommended range for fully cooked chicken is 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure that the chicken is safe to eat while remaining tender and juicy.

When the chicken breasts are almost done, it’s time to add the finishing touches. Slather on your favorite barbecue sauce and continue cooking over direct flame until the sauce caramelizes and the chicken develops a deliciously charred exterior. This step will elevate the flavor profile of the smoked chicken, adding a mouthwatering depth and complexity.

Once your perfectly smoked chicken breasts are ready, serve them with a variety of sides that complement their smoky and savory taste. Consider pairing them with classic barbecue sides such as coleslaw, cornbread, or grilled vegetables. If you have any leftovers, get creative and use them in sandwiches or other recipes for a flavorful and satisfying meal.


How long should I smoke bone-in chicken breasts for a barbecue?

Bone-in chicken breasts should be smoked at around 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit until they reach an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit. This can take approximately 2-3 hours.

Can I use any type of grill or smoker to smoke chicken breasts?

Yes, you can use any type of grill or smoker to smoke chicken breasts. Popular options include pellet grills like Pit Boss and Traeger, as well as traditional smokers and grills. Choose the equipment that works best for you.

How can I ensure the chicken breasts are cooked to the perfect temperature?

It is crucial to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken breasts. Aim for 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure they are fully cooked and safe to eat.

What can I serve with smoked chicken breasts?

Smoked chicken breasts pair well with a variety of sides, such as coleslaw, cornbread, potato salad, or grilled vegetables. Get creative and choose accompaniments that complement the flavors of the smoked chicken.

Can I use leftover smoked chicken breasts for other recipes?

Absolutely! Leftover smoked chicken breasts can be used in sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, or soups. They add a delicious smoky flavor and can elevate any recipe.

Final Words

Smoking chicken breasts unlocks a world of rich flavors and tender textures, with the secret lying in the preparation and cooking techniques. Seasoning the meat with a flavorful dry rub is crucial while ensuring the chicken reaches the right temperature and guarantees juiciness infused with smoky goodness.

A complementary barbecue sauce can elevate the dish further while bringing beforehand enhances flavor and moisture. Regardless of your equipment choice, maintaining the appropriate temperature ensures perfectly cooked chicken.

In essence, smoking bone-in chicken breasts is a culinary art that, with the right touch, offers a sumptuous and unforgettable dining experience. Dive in and let your taste buds explore.

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