Most of these smoked chicken recipes are quick cooking, and they all taste great. You'll find recipes for whole smoked chickens, chicken breasts, legs and thighs. Of all the parts, the breast requires the most care when smoking.
The dark meat is very forgiving when smoked, and will stay moist and
tender if it's overcooked a little. But with white meat, once it passes
that "perfectly done" temperature, it becomes dry and tough. Overdone
breast meat is not pleasant eating.
Whole chickens can be smoked intact, but will cook more evenly if the backbone is removed first. Pressing the split chicken flat makes it easier for smoke to reach every nook and cranny.
The first and most important tip for creating juicy smoked chicken it to
brine it before it's smoked. All types of poultry benefit greatly from
brining. Simply soak the chicken in a mixture of salty water (of the
correct concentration) to which seasonings and spices have been added.
The flavors will be absorbed into the flesh as the structure of the meat
is changed. After brining chicken, the meat fibers hold moisture more effectively.
Dry the skin well after brining. Then peel the skin off and put dry chicken rub seasoning directly on the meat. Place the skin back on, over the seasoned flesh before placing the chicken in the smoker. The chicken will be more flavorful when the seasoning is placed directly on the meat.
Operate your smoker at a hotter than normal temperature when cooking smoked chicken recipes with the skin on. The skin ends up nice and crispy, and the taste is just as good as lower temperature smoking provides. Skinless chicken can be smoked hot or at lower smoker temperatures.
Smoked Chicken Brine
Chicken brine is a magical liquid that transforms chicken into moist, flavorful eating. Learn how it's made, and get the basic chicken brine recipe here.
Smoked Chicken Breast
The brine has onion powder and curry, and when those flavors become intertwined with the taste of hickory smoke, you've got good eatin'! This one is for chicken breasts, but thighs can be substituted.
Apple Smoked Chicken
Skinless chicken breasts are marinated in an apple juice brine. Smoked at 225°F, the white meat is moist and tender. Chilled and sliced, it's great for sandwiches.
Whole Smoked Chicken
A whole chicken is seasoned with a flavorful smoked chicken rub, then smoked hot to produce a crispy skin atop that juicy meat.
Smoked Chicken Thighs
Three pounds of chicken thighs are brined, then seasoned with an easy chicken dry rub. Smoke these until they are well done. Best when the meat literally falls off the bone.
Smoked Chicken Wings
After trimming off the tips and separating the remaining sections, the chicken wings are dusted with a hot and spicy seasoning, then smoked to perfection. Dip these in ranch dressing.