If you've never had satays, they are marinated strips of meat on a stick and it's considered street food in many Asian cities. I love any kind of food on a stick and I think you will thoroughly enjoy these either as an appetizer or even as a main course.

You could also create a peanut based dipping sauce for these and it would go really good with the smoke but that is not what I was after in this episode. Maybe next time.

Please 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.
What You'll Need

Note: the breast tenders were about 1/4 inch thick or so. You could also buy whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts and cut them into pieces yourself.

Brine the Breast Tenders

Estimated time: 2 hours

Brining chicken and especially the breast meat, is such an important part of making sure it ends up juicy and tender. The fact that it's so easy to do means you never have to serve dry chicken breast meat again in any form.

To brine:

Mix the 1/2 gallon of water with 1/2 cup kosher salt and 1/2 cup of brown sugar until the water is clear and all ingredients are dissolved.

Place the breast tenders in a zip top bag and pour in enough brine to cover. Zip the bag closed.

Place chicken breast tenders into a ziptop bag with brine

Place the bag down in a bowl to prevent the risk of leakage and place it in the fridge for 2 hours.

Set bag into a bow to prevent leakage

Note: About 1 hour into the brine is a great time to go get the smoker ready. You are looking for about 240 degrees if possible.

Once the brining process is finished, pour off the brine and rinse the chicken with cold water.

Rinse off the brine

Seasoning the Breast Tenders

Estimated time: 5 minutes

Here lately I have been using mayonnaise instead of mustard on chicken to help the rub to stick. If you think about it, mayonnaise is basically oil and eggs and you really can't ask for a better combination on the chicken.

Since this recipe calls for 20 pieces, you'll need about 1/4 cup of mayonnaise to get the job done right.

A dollop of mayonnaise to help the rub to stick

Stir the chicken around mixing it with the mayonnaise using a spoon or your hands if you like to get messy with it.

Stir the mayonnaise onto the chicken

Pour on about ¼ cup of Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) for great flavor.

Add the rub

Once again, stir the meat to mix the mayonnaise and rub and get a coating on the chicken.

Mix and mayonnaise to coat chicken

Getting the Chicken onto a Stick

Estimated time: 5 minutes

I did not get a good picture of this but it's pretty easy, just hold one of the breast tenders in one hand and push a stick through the center of the piece lengthwise.

Lay the completed pieces onto a Bradley rack or Weber grill pan as shown in the picture below:

Lay completed pieces onto a Bradley rack

I recommend that you get the smoker going while the chicken is brining but if you did not, you might want to place the chicken back in the fridge if it's going to take more than 30 minutes.

It is very important that the smoking temperature is as close to 240°F as possible and that you are able to hold this for about 30 minutes. Our main concern at this point is that the chicken does not overcook so I highly recommend that you stay right there with it while it cooks.

Note: I usually make a few extra pieces as testers

Getting the Smoker Ready to Cook

Estimated time: 30-60 minutes (depending on what type of smoker you are using)

As I say in almost every newsletter here lately.. all of my recipes are designed to be used in ANY smoker with no regard to whether it is electric, charcoal, gas or wood.

I have written some helpful information on the operation and getting the most out of several popular smokers below however, there is no substitute for experience. Like anything else, you will find that the more you use your smoker, the better you will get at controlling the temperature and making it work for you in the way that it should.

Note: In colder weather, it is advisable to preheat the smoker at least an hour or more before you are wanting to use it. Keep the door closed as much as possible and even skip basting if necessary to maintain proper smoking temperatures.

Smoking the Chicken Satays

Estimated time: 25-30 minutes

I wanted to use my gas smoker for these due to the inclement weather but I discovered that I was out of propane (bad planning on my part) and so I decided to use my reverse flow wood burning smoker by Meadow Creek for these.

I poured in an ample amount of lump charcoal and used 3 pieces of firestarter to get the coals going.

This is when it started raining and then sleeting!

Raining and sleeting on wood smoker

It took about 2 hours for the smoker to overcome the 20 degree temperature and the cold rain and pieces of ice hitting the smoker but I finally got it up to 240°F. I fed it hickory splits to build up a big bed of hot coals.

Once the smoker was holding steady, I grabbed the satays from the kitchen counter and quickly placed them in the smoker trying to not hold the lid of the smoker open any longer than I had to.

The temperature dropped slightly but quickly recovered.

At the 25 minute mark, I quickly opened the lid and grabbed one of the chicken satays from the grate and closed the lid again.

It was perfectly done, and it was very tender. If you check it at 25 minutes and the chicken is not quite done, just put it back in and check it again every 5 minutes or so.

It is very easy to overcook these so be careful or you will have chicken jerky on your hands.

Smoked chicken satays finished cooking

Serve the smoked chicken satays with Jeff's barbecue sauce (purchase recipes here) on the side or already brushed on.. your choice.

Serve them up


Due to the meat being so thin, it is difficult to use a probe thermometer to get an accurate reading on the chicken. I slightly overcooked my first batch trying to do this but it is the only safe way to really tell that the chicken is safe to eat.

You might be better off using a ThermoPop for these since it reads in 3-4 seconds and has a really small tip.


Regardless of what method you use, be sure the chicken reaches 165°F in the center.

If your chicken is a different thickness or the smoker is running at a different temperature, this will affect the length of time that it takes to get the chicken satays done. Make adjustments accordingly.

If you are wanting the charred look on the chicken satay then simply smoke them for about 15 minutes then finish them off on the hot grill with just a couple of minutes per side.

  1. Brine breast tenders for 2 hours.
  2. Rinse breast tenders and coat with mayonnaise and rub.
  3. Place breast tenders onto skewers.
  4. Smoke cook for about 25-30 minutes at 240°F.
  5. Serve with my original barbecue sauce brushed on or on the side.

Please 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.
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"Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future!" ~Michelle M.

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