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Smoked and Grilled Chicken Breast

smoked grilled chicken breast 2

This smoked grilled chicken breast is just one example of how you can successfully smoke meat on the grill.

No smoker? No problem!

With a few simple steps you can cook this chicken breast and almost any other kind of meat indirectly on the grill by manipulating the burners or by moving the coal into zones.

If you want to speed things up, you can then finish it off right over the flames once it’s smoked for about 45 minutes.

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Marinade time: 4-8 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 to 1.5 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 165°F
  • Recommended Wood: Pecan

What You’ll Need

Pounding Out the Chicken

Not a requirement but I like to use a meat hammer to pound the chicken breast a little bit. This serves dual purposes:

  1. Tenderizes the chicken
  2. 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.

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Seasoning the Chicken Breasts

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.

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Marinading the Chicken Overnight

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.

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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.

Setting Up Your Grill As a 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.

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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

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You will also want to set up the gas grill for indirect heat and this is accomplished by:

  1. Lighting the burners on the left and right and leaving the burner in the middle unlit (3 burner grill)
  2. Light two of the burners on either end and leave the the other two burners unlit (4 burner grill)
  3. 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.

Get The Grill or Smoker Ready

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.

Smoking the Chicken Breasts on the Grill

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.

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After 45 minutes or 125°F, sauce both sides of the chicken with my beer bbq sauce recipe (below)

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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.

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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.

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Smoking the Chicken Breasts in the Smoker

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.

Serve immediately!

Notes/Comments:
  1. Makes a great grilled chicken sandwich!
  2. Slice and put onto a salad (don’t forget the bacon)

Print

Smoked and Grilled Chicken Breast

With a few simple steps you can cook this chicken breast and almost any other kind of meat indirectly on the grill by manipulating the burners or by moving the coal into zones.

  • Author: Jeff Phillips
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 3 -6 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Grilling With Smoke

Ingredients

Scale
  • 36 chicken breasts (((12 per eater)))
  • Jeff’s original rub
  • Olive oil or cooking oil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Meat hammer (((optional)))

Instructions

Pounding Out the Chicken

  1. 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.
  2. Use a meat hammer or other heavy object to pound the chicken breast a little bit.

Seasoning the Chicken Breasts

  1. Brush or spoon a little olive oil onto the chicken breasts and sprinkle a generous amount of Jeff’s Rub onto the top and bottom of the chicken breasts.

Marinading the Chicken Overnight

  1. 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.
  2. After 4 hours or the next morning, remove the chicken breasts from the fridge and place them on a Bradley rack or cookie sheet to make it easy to transport them out to the grill or smoker.

Cook The Chicken Breast on the Gas Grill

  1. Light 1 or 2 of the burners on a gas grill and leave 1 or 2 of the burners unlit (3-4 burner gas grills)
  2. Place wood chips or chunks wrapped in foil over the flame to create smoke.
  3. Maintain 225°F by manipulating the setting of the burners on the hot side.
  4. Place the chicken breasts on the cool side of the grill for about 45 minutes or until they reach about 125°F.
  5. Sauce both sides of the chicken with my beer bbq sauce recipe (½ cup of Jeff’s barbecue sauce and ½ cup of beer mixed together well)
  6. Keep the smoke going for the entire time to ensure great smoked flavor.
  7. After 45 minutes or 125°F move the chicken breast to the hot side of the grill.
  8. Turn the grill to high heat and cook for an additional 7 minutes on each side or until the chicken reaches 165 °F in the center as measured by a meat thermometer.

Cook The Chicken Breast on the Charcoal Grill

  1. For a charcoal grill, you use the same basic concept, using charcoal.
  2. Place an aluminum pan in the center of the grill filled with water.
  3. Pile the charcoal on both sides to create hot zones on the sides with a cooler center.
  4. 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.
  5. Lay wood chunks on the charcoal or very near the charcoal to get some smoking action.
  6. Place the chicken breasts on the cool zone of the grill for about 45 minutes or until they reach about 125°F.
  7. Sauce both sides of the chicken with my beer bbq sauce recipe (½ cup of Jeff’s barbecue sauce and ½ cup of beer mixed together well)
  8. Keep the smoke going for the entire time to ensure great smoked flavor.
  9. After 45 minutes or 125°F move the chicken breast to the hot zone of the charcoal grill.
  10. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes on each side or until the chicken reaches 165 °F in the center as measured by a meat thermometer.

Cooking the Chicken Breasts in the Smoker

  1. Place the chicken breasts directly on the smoker grate.
  2. Smoke the chicken for about 1.5 hours (depending on thickness) or until it reaches 165°F.
  3. About 20 minutes before it gets finished, sauce both sides of the chicken with my beer bbq sauce recipe (½ cup of Jeff’s barbecue sauce and ½ cup of beer mixed together well)
  4. Serve immediately!

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    1. The (2) recipes that I sell on the website and in the newsletter are not included in the book. We have opted to keep them separate since so many people have purchased them prior to the book being published.

      I do offer a coupon to book owners for 20% off the purchase of the recipes. Simply send proof of purchase (amazon invoice, picture of you holding the book, etc.) via email and I will send you the coupon code.

  1. I smoke chicken breast all the time for use in macaroni salad. I just get the coals going and put some wood chips on the coals and set the breast on the other side of the grill and close it up. Get the temperature at about 275 degrees and let it smoke for about 3 hours, adding wood to the coals as needed. For seasoning all I uses is garlic salt before and during the smoking process. Refrigerate the chicken and cut it up the next day, and when making the macaroni salad use little to none, seasonings. The other ingredients should make a good accent to the flavor without hiding the taste of the smoked chicken

  2. I am obsessed with your website! I have purchased your recipes and your book(Nook version) I look forward to your newsletters and subject my family to your recipes on a weekly basis! EVERY recipe is a huge hit! I’m going to have to add on to my kitchen just to have room for your sauces and rubs! Thank you for making me a better BBQ chef and helping me to perfect my smoking techniques!