Smoked Chicken Cordon Bleu

Cordon bleu can be made with chicken, pork, veal and almost any cut of meat but it is most often made using chicken and that is what we will use in this recipe today.

Doing this recipe in the smoker means that you simply leave off the bread crumbs and use some rub instead. I also took the liberty to wrap the whole thing in bacon so as to maintain a lot of moisture and to keep the outside of the chicken breasts from drying out during it's time in the heat.

When you cut into this smoky succulent piece of goodness and see the melted swiss cheese oozing out around the folds of ham, you will experience for yourself why I love this so much.

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2.5 to 3 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225-240°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 165°F
  • Recommended Wood: Hickory and/or pecan
What You'll Need
IMG 0492 1000x715Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

How to Prepare the Chicken Breasts

Now in order to make chicken cordon bleu, you have a couple of options. You can simply butterfly the chicken breasts and lay them open or you can pound them out until they are about 1/4 inch thick all over.

I chose to pound them out and to do that you simply place one of the chicken breasts inside of a ziploc bag.

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Use a meat mallet to lightly pound the meat starting in the center and working toward the outside until it is the right thickness.

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Once it is about 1/4 inch thick all over, take the chicken breast out of the bag and lay it on a cutting board for stuffing.

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Sprinkle my original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) on both sides of the chicken breast.

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In smoked chicken cordon bleu, it's all about the prosciutto or the ham and the swiss. I chose to use ham on these.

I used the thin sliced deli ham and doubled up on the slices.

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I use a single piece of swiss cheese right on top of the ham. If you are a cheese fanatic and want to have more gooey goodness oozing out of the ends at the finish, perhaps put swiss on the bottom, then the ham then another piece of swiss. Your call.

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Roll the ham up like a pinwheel. You will probably have a wide end and a more narrow end on the chicken breast pieces. It seems to work better if you start rolling on the wide end and finish with the narrow end.

Lay 2 pieces of bacon parallel and about 1 inch apart. Place the rolled chicken breast across the strips of bacon at about the 1/3 mark or about 3 inches from one of the ends.

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Pull the short ends up over the rolled chicken breast.

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Roll the stuffed chicken breast across the bacon for about 4 more inches. Once you get about 3-4 inches from the end, pull the pieces toward the center and up over the chicken.

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Overlap the ends in the center and secure with a toothpick. Sprinkle a little more of my original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) onto the outside of the bacon for good measure (you can't get too much of this stuff).

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I made these the night before I planned to cook them and placed them in a covered bowl in the fridge when I was finished stuffing and wrapping all of them.

Get the Smoker Ready

Prepare the smoker for cooking at about 225-240°F. These can be smoked  in any type of smoker as long as you follow the recommended temperatures and make sure to not overcook the meat. If your smoker and uses a water pan, fill it up.

Smoking the Chicken Cordon Bleu

Note: Due to the fact that these are wrapped in bacon, they can handle a lot of smoke and I recommend keeping the smoke going for the entire time if possible.

Place the meat on the grate leaving about 3/4 inch between them to allow the smoke to have full access to them.

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Maintain about 225-240°F throughout and keep the smoke going. I recommend using a good bold smoke like hickory, pecan or mesquite but any smoking wood will work well.

These should take 2.5 to 3 hours but keep a close eye on the internal temperature of the chicken using a digital probe meat thermometer and pull them off when they reach 165°F. It is ok to pull them a degree or two shy of this if you are worried about overcooking them since they will continue to cook internally for a few minutes.

I don't worry about making the bacon really crispy, but if that is a requirement for you, you can pull them from the smoker when they reach about 145°F and place them on a hot grill to finish or under the broiler for a few minutes. If you do this, continue to monitor the internal temperature and make sure they reach 165°F before calling them done.

About Using a Meat Thermometer

Be sure to use a digital probe meat thermometer  when making the smoked chicken cordon bleu or any recipe that requires the meat reach a safe temperature. I used the “Smoke” by Thermoworks which is a dual probe remote thermometer with the sending unit at the smoker and the receiver in my pocket or around my neck. This way, I can go about what I need to do and I always know the temperature of my smoker and the meat.

Serving the Smoked Chicken Cordon Bleu

I recommend serving these immediately when they are finished cooking since you want the cheese to still be melty when folks cut into it. Serve with a nice side like steamed asparagus (recipe below).

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Steamed Asparagus Recipe

Note: Use the thinnest asparagus stalks you can find–they'll be more tender.

  1. Rinse asparagus in cold water and trim 1-2 inches from the stalk ends.
  2. Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a stockpot.
  3. Place asparagus in the pot and cover.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and cook (covered) for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and drain immediately.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil or butter.
  7. Season with kosher salt and coarse pepper to taste.
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Jeff’s Smoking Meat Books

smoking-meat-book-coverSmoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue – The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that “no smoker should be without this book”!

With more than 1000 reviews on Amazon.com and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended and is a Bestseller in Barbecuing & Grilling books on Amazon.

AmazonBarnes & Noble | German Edition

smoke-wood-fire-book-coverSmoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.

It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.

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Smoked Chicken Cordon Bleu

When you cut into this smoky succulent piece of goodness and see the melted swiss cheese oozing out around the folds of ham, you will experience for yourself why I love this so much.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time3 hrs

Ingredients

  • 4-8 chicken breast (((1 per person)))
  • Swiss cheese ((, sliced))
  • Ham or Prosciutto ((, sliced thin))
  • Bacon (((2 slices per chicken breast)))
  • Jeff's original rub (((Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub)))
  • Toothpicks

Instructions

  • Place chicken breast in ziploc back or between 2 pieces of wax paper.
  • Pound lightly with a meat mallet until desired thickness is acquired.
  • Apply light coat of my original rub to both sides of chicken breast.
  • Lay ham then swiss cheese onto top of chicken breast.
  • Roll up chicken breast, ham and cheese like a pinwheel.
  • Lay down 2 pieces of bacon parallel and about 1 inch apart
  • Place rolled, stuffed chicken breast across bacon about 3 inches from end.
  • Pull short ends of bacon up over the chicken breast.
  • Roll stuffed chicken breast across bacon until about 4 inches from end.
  • Pull bacon pieces up over the center of stuffed chicken breast.
  • Overlap ends of bacon and apply a little more rub to outside.
  • Push toothpick through bacon and chicken to secure.
  • Smoke chicken cordon bleu at 240°F for 2.5 to 3 hours or until it reaches 165°F.
  • Serve immediately.

15 Comments

  1. Eric July 4, 2021 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    We made this tonight, and WOW, it’s delicious! We use turkey instead of ham. I also turned the Masterbuilt 560 up to 500 at an internal temp of 145. Bacon crisped really nicely! The wife made a cream sauce to coat the top! Absolutely love this meal. We will be making a lot more!

  2. Pete September 6, 2019 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    Ok, last year I made 30 jalapeño wrapped chicken thighs for Christmas and everyone loved them, but didn’t want to do the same thing two years in a row. This year I’m going to try these, they sound great and love that I can make them the night before.

  3. Rich June 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    These were very good, only issue is that alot of the cheese ended up in the bottom of the grill, also they were a little dry… Maybe these should be brined?

    • Jeff Phillips June 26, 2013 at 10:43 am - Reply

      I had someone write in and suggest that you use a trussing needle and cooking twine to suture up the ends and keep everything in. Sounds like a great idea to me and they sell these tools very inexpensively on Amazon.com.

  4. Shaun March 23, 2013 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Also just had my Cajon Injector bring the inside of my Cordon Bleu up to 151 in about 1.5 hours. Had to pull it and will finish under broiler later. Wish me luck

  5. Brian G. March 20, 2013 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    Made these over the weekend and I must say this is one of my new favorites for the smoker. Assembled them the night before and then smoked them in my Bradley using their “Special Blend” pucks. I think the only thing I would do different next time would be to use a stronger flavor in my wood selection. You were definitely right that they can handle the smoke for the full cooking time since they are wrapped in bacon. I was a bit skeptical about that because I have ruined a few chicken breasts in my day by over doing it with the smoke.

    Another great recipe Jeff!

    • Jeff Phillips March 21, 2013 at 11:27 am - Reply

      Thank you kindly! I am glad you enjoyed them.

  6. Alvi Rains March 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Thank's Jeff Just finished smoking Chicken Cordon Bleu. This is one of my new favorite now.

    • Jeff Phillips March 3, 2013 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      I am very glad that you liked it.. it is also one of my favorites! You can also mix it up by adding different cheese, prosciutto instead of ham, etc.

  7. Brian February 25, 2013 at 9:56 am - Reply

    Followed this recipe to the "T", however my four large pounded chicken breasts reached 165 degrees at the one hour and 45 minute mark.  Was expecting 3 hours, but simply had to have dinner a bit earlier than planned.  This seems to happen consistently with my Cajun Injector digital electric smoker due to it keeping a constant temp.  Has anyone else noticed this with their smoker? These were delicious!!

  8. William February 21, 2013 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Thanks Jeff, you just set the menu for our 33 rd anniversary on Saturday with this one.

    You're the best..

    • Greg Gaskin February 21, 2013 at 8:27 pm - Reply

      Love the thought of Cordon Bleu on the smoker but I would suggest using Prosciutto for the ham. That is the authentic recipe. Gruyere cheese would make for an interesting substitute for the Swiss.

      • Jeff Phillips February 24, 2013 at 9:11 am - Reply

        Thank you for the great suggestion!!

        • Daryl Niewald September 6, 2019 at 10:17 am - Reply

          Made this last night and absolutely loved it! Once I plated it I poured a cheesy bernaise sauce over the top and it was wonderful!

          • Jeff Phillips September 6, 2019 at 3:57 pm

            Sounds delicious, Daryl!

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