Remove the chicken breasts from the package and give them a good rinse. I know folks nowadays are saying, “no need to rinse” but I still like to rinse off the meat and I clean the sink real well with bleach when I'm finished. Seems like a great idea to me.
Lay the chicken breasts on a flat surface and pat them dry with a paper towel.
I normally brine chicken but in this recipe, I chose to simply apply some of my Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) and let them sit overnight in the fridge. The small amount of salt in the rub does a great job of dry brining the chicken and adding a lot of flavor to the inside as well as the outside.
Season the top side of the meat and wait for them to get that wet look before you flip them over..
Note: Once you flip them over, they can be seasoned on the bottom side before you put the asparagus into place or you can wait until they are wrapped up to season them again. I chose to wait but either way is perfectly fine.
They call it “stuffing the chicken” but really there is no stuffing going on. You simply lay the asparagus onto the chicken, cut off the ends of the stalks if they are too long and then fold the chicken over the top.
Note: I was trying to steer away from making this look like a cordon bleu so I did not add cheese but technically, you could add some provolone, or your favorite cheese right on top of the asparagus before wrapping it up and it would be delicious.
Hold the chicken in it's folded up position while you wrap it in a long strip of thin bacon.
Secure the end with a toothpick and you are good to go.
At this point, I like to apply a good healthy dose of my original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) to the outside, right over the bacon and all.
Place the asparagus stuffed, bacon wrapped chicken breasts into a lidded container and place in the fridge for 3-4 hours or overnight if you have time.
After the holding time, remove the chicken breasts from the fridge and place them on a pan/rack for easy transport out to the smoker.
Get your smoker going and preheated to 225°F. Make sure you have enough smoking wood for about 1 hour of smoke and you are ready to go.
I used a hickory/apple mix on these and it was delicious but you can use whatever smoking wood you have available and it will still be very good.
If your smoker has a water pan, use it. The water pan does a great job of creating a moist environment inside of the smoker which keeps the natural drying effect of heated air at bay.
The water pan also acts as a nice barrier between the heat and the meat creating an indirect method of cooking.
Once your smoker is holding steady at the prescribed temperature, you are ready to cook.
Place the chicken breasts on a pan/rack or directly on the smoker grate.
Keep the smoke going for at least an hour but it is also perfectly fine to keep it going the entire time the chicken is cooking in the smoker.
When the chicken reaches 165°F in the thickest part of the breast, it is finished and should be removed immediately from the smoker.
Total cook time was about 1.5 hours for me but time will vary depending on meat thickness, how many times you open the door, raise the lid, and the temperature of the meat when it went into the smoker.
I use a digital remote meat thermometer that stays in one of the chicken breasts the entire time so I know exactly when it reaches temperature.
Once the temperature reaches 165°F , I use my trusty Thermapen to check all of the others to make sure they are also up to temp before removing them from the smoker.
If some of them are done, and some are not, I only remove the ones that are done and let the others continue until they also reach their safe temperature of 165°F.
Serve the asparagus stuffed chicken breasts right away with a vegetable or side of your choice.