Not a requirement but I like to use a meat hammer to pound the chicken breast a little bit. This serves dual purposes:
- Tenderizes the chicken
- Makes the thickness more uniform
Just don't overdo it. Like so many things, a little goes a long way.
If you choose to do this, lay the chicken on a piece of plastic wrap then cover it with another piece of plastic wrap. This is to keep the mess to a minimum.
This is the easy part, simply brush or spoon a little olive oil onto the chicken breasts and sprinkle a generous amount of Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) onto the top and bottom of the chicken breasts.
Once seasoned, place the chicken breasts into a ziptop bag, press out the air and place the bag into the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours.
After 4 hours or the next morning, remove the chicken breasts from the fridge and place them on a rack or cookie sheet to make it easy to transport them out to the grill or smoker.
The main purpose for doing these on the grill is to show you that it can easily be done if you don't have a smoker or if you just want to use the grill instead of the smoker to get them done fast and easy.
Using a Gas Grill for Smoking Meat
I am using a 4-burner infrared propane grill which simply means, the propane burners are heating another surface which is then emitting that heat onto the meat.
In the case of my grill, just below the grates and above the burners are 2 cast iron pans. The flame heats these pans and the heat is then emitted very evenly onto the grate above.
I like to place wood pellets down in the pans for some smoking action and since we are using the grill as our smoker, this just seems like an especially great thing to do.
If your grill does not have the infrared pans, you can simply wrap dry wood such as chips, pellets, chunks in foil with just a few holes poked in it to allow the smoke to escape. This foil packet can be placed right over a flame to create smoke while you are cooking.
Here's a tutorial for making foil chip packs
You will also want to set up the gas grill for indirect heat and this is accomplished by:
- Lighting the burners on the left and right and leaving the burner in the middle unlit (3 burner grill)
- Light two of the burners on either end and leave the the other two burners unlit (4 burner grill)
- Light the burner on both ends, leave the two burners in the middle unlit (4 burner grill)
You will have to play around with the heat and use an oven thermometer or a meat thermometer with an ambient probe to figure out what setting is required to maintain 225°F at the grate where the meat is sitting.
I don't recommend relying on the thermometer in the grill lid as they are known for being very inaccurate.
On my 4-burner infrared gas grill, I opted to light the 2 leftmost burners and leave the two burners on the right unlit. I found that the two burners set at about the 6 o'clock position held a very tight 225°F.
Using a Charcoal Grill for Smoking Meat
For a charcoal grill, you use the same basic concept, using charcoal. Place an aluminum pan in the center of the grill filled with water. Pile the charcoal on both sides to create hot zones on the sides with a cooler center.
You can also just pile all of the charcoal on one side of the grill with a water pan on the other side and get the same effect. Place wood chunks on the charcoal or very near the charcoal to get some smoking action.
The idea in this recipe is to use the grill as instructed above but you can also just use the smoker if you wish. I do recommend finishing on the grill even if you choose to start out on the smoker. The slight charring on the outside of the chicken breasts look great and it gives a slightly different product than what you get by just using the smoker alone.
Whether grill or smoker, set it up to maintain about 225°F.
Place the chicken breasts on the cool side of the grill for about 45 minutes or until they reach about 125°F. Keep the smoke going for the entire time to ensure great smoked flavor.
After 45 minutes or 125°F, sauce both sides of the chicken with my beer bbq sauce recipe (below)
Beer BBQ Sauce Recipe
Let the sauce set for a minute or two then move the chicken to the hot side and crank up the heat to high.
Cook the chicken for about 7 minutes on each side to finish.
The chicken is officially done when it reaches 165°F as measured by a meat thermometer such as a Thermapen.
Place the chicken in the smoker by leaving it on the rack or by laying it directly on the smoker grate.
Smoke the chicken for about 1.5 hours (depending on thickness) or until it reaches 165°F.
About 20 minutes before it gets finished, brush some beer bbq sauce (recipe above) onto both sides of the chicken.
- Makes a great grilled chicken sandwich!
- Slice and put onto a salad (don't forget the bacon)