Grab my 52-page buyer's guide with tips, charts, and lots of juicy stuff to help you decide which type and size of Meadow Creek cooker is best for you.

First Name
Email

What You'll Get

How to Smoke Split Bone-in Chicken Breasts

Smoked Chicken Breasts

For a long time, I’ve wanted to share with you how easy and fun it is to smoke split bone-in chicken breasts. We’ve cooked them often and they are absolutely, deliciously delicious.

I tried to do a video and gave up for this time around, so I’m going to scrounge up my best photos for this and crank out some tips for you that have the power to grow your barbecue business or party crowd.

I have heard some people can’t buy split bone-in breasts locally. I sincerely hope that’s not the case with you. We can always find them here, occasionally on sale for 99 cents/lb. I buy either fresh or frozen.

I don’t have much experience with home raised poultry, but if you are using your own meat, you will definitely want to brine it, and even then it can be difficult to keep it juicy.

Smoking Chicken Breasts

Seasoning Tips

If you have your act together, you can get your smoker started before you quickly prep the meat, so it’s up to speed when you’re done.

The meat should be thawed before you start. Rinse the meat. (I don’t know why, but I am convinced it’s important.) Drain it a little and you’re ready to season it.

Seasoned Chicken

We used to just season the outside of the skin. That is a mistake. Pull the skin loose all the way back to the edge where it “hinges”. Then sprinkle Meadow Creek Traditional Seasoning over the meat (including the bottom). Don’t cover the meat completely or it will be too salty. Next, put on a heavy coat of a Montreal style seasoning, such as Smoken’ Dudes Chicken Rub. Top it off with something a little spicy, such as KA-Ranch Brisket Ribs Chicken Rub or a Cajun rub of some sort.

Or use Meadow Creek Traditional with Heaven Made It’s Incredible seasoning. It really is incredible on chicken breasts.

Here’s a secret: It’s got to have enough salt to pick it up off of people’s plates, but not too much (see the pic at right). Put on enough, but not too much, or you will ruin it.

Cover the chicken again with the skin and shake a little seasoning on the outside of the skin for good looks. Now you’re ready to start smoking.

Chicken on Meadow Creek SQ36

Note: In this example, I am using my Meadow Creek SQ36 Smoker.

Smoking Tips

Your smoker should be running at around 225-250 degrees. I am not going into fire management here, but if you are cooking with charcoal or wood, it’s important to never cook with a choking smoke.

Keeping your time and temp within range is vital. If you let it drop, that’s lost time; if the fire rages, you will dry out your meat. This is probably the top secret in cooking split bone-in chicken breasts that amaze everyone. Pretty serious business.

The cook time will vary depending on the weather and your cooking temp and your specific smoker. They could be done in less than 2 hours or it might take twice that long.

Meadow Creek SQ36 Firebox

You will want to have a good probe thermometer handy. Leave the meat in the smoker until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees F. If you plan to wrap it and put it in a chest for a while or reheat it before you eat it, you can pull it off the smoker several degrees early.

The USDA says you should take chicken up to at least 165 degrees, so that’s what you should do. But I’ve pulled some off a tad under 160, and it was great and I am still alive. However, it probably would hurt you, so you better not.

Try to not go over 170 on these breasts or you may ruin them.

Mop Recipe

Spray the meat with apple juice a time a couple times or so while you’re cooking.

Or make a mop and brush it on. Here is a recipe I came up with: 1 stick butter, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, and ½ cup water or apple juice. Just melt your butter in a small kettle, add your ingredients, and stir the mop until the butter is melted.

What to Expect

Most people who don’t know good barbecue, expect white chicken meat to be on the dry side. That’s what makes this so much fun. If you do it right, your smoked chicken will be juicy and have an amazing flavor, sometimes even have water running out of it when you cut into it. Even if it turns out a little dry, it will still be infused with flavor and beat oven-cooked chicken. Don’t get discouraged. Try again and shoot for perfection.

Smoked Chicken, Potatoes, and Salad

How to Eat It

If any of your smoked chicken actually makes it into the house, there are many ways you can use it. Serve it with potatoes, slice the meat and eat it on sandwiches, add it to cheesy noodles, put it in chicken enchiladas or a lettuce salad. The queportunities are endless.

Note: I don’t eat the skin when I use this method of cooking. There is a way to make the skin come out crispy and delicious, but maybe I can cover that later.

Have fun!

Lavern Gingerich

PS. Would you like to own a barbecue smoker that is slick to use and will last for future generations? Check out Meadow Creek’s revolutionary offset smokers.

Smoked Chicken

12 Responses to “How to Smoke Split Bone-in Chicken Breasts”

  1. Lane Says:

    I’ve subscribed to a couple of smoking website as I’m new at smoking food. I really enjoy yours as one of my top favorites and I respect your opinions and recommendations. I’ve followed several of your recipes with only slight modifications to fit an electric smoker. Here is my question, some sites say in order to get the chicken skin crispy you have to smoke at least 275 or 300 degrees. Your recipe says to smoke at 225 to 250. My son gave me his Masterbuilt electric smoker as he brought one that uses charcoal and wood. With that said, what temperature would you recommend to accomplish the recipe you’ve just publish and get crispy chicken skin to boot or is that not possible with an electric smoker? I’ve smoke chicken at 225, but my skin comes out rubbery. The model smoker that I have has a max temp of 275. Your thoughts and comments are appreicated. Thanking you in advance for your comments and prompt reply.

    Lane

    [Reply]

    Lavern Reply:

    Lane, I really appreciate your kind words. Thank you. Yes, when you are cooking chicken low and slow, the skin will not be crispy (or edible in my opinion). You will need to take an extra step to make it crispy. I think Rob’s idea here in the comments would work great for you. Do you have some sort of grill that you could use to make direct, high heat?

    [Reply]

  2. Steve Seydler Says:

    Thanks Lavern for the tips.

    keep ‘em coming

    [Reply]

  3. JAY fOULKROD Says:

    Unfortunately I purchased one of those pellet things a coupla years ago. so I’m nodt a good prospect. I do appreciate ypur recipies. Thank you very much for keeping me on your mail lies. JAI

    [Reply]

    Lavern Reply:

    You are very welcome. Thanks for your kind words.

    [Reply]

  4. rob wilhoite Says:

    For competition’s, I fire up some charcoal in a disposable pan and right before turn in I grill the chicken over the coals in my Lang warming box.I put the thighs on the shelf and put pan of fire under them.This crisps the skin nicely. The same could be done in the Meadow Creek.

    [Reply]

    Lavern Reply:

    Thanks for your tips there, Rob.

    [Reply]

  5. John Says:

    It’s a great recipe, I’d been trying to think of something quick to smoke. After seeing this I had to try it. Worked out pretty good even if it was 28 degrees outside, and my wife loved it as Valentine dinner. Even if it was a couple of days early.

    [Reply]

    Lavern Reply:

    @John, thanks for letting me know. That is great. When the wife raves about the barbecue, that’s a good sign. –Lavern

    [Reply]

  6. Jeffery Keith Says:

    Lavern,

    Got to try this one to even though i gave my brother my wood and charcoal smoker and I now own a electric one (dummy). Will see what happens.

    Jeff

    [Reply]

    Lavern Reply:

    An electric smoker should work too.

    [Reply]

  7. Mike Says:

    I used this recipe today in my electric smoker. The chicken was the most tender we’ve ever had. I cooked to 163 removed and covered for 20 minutes while finishing sides. I used apple wood for smoke and mixed in whiskey barrel oak the last 30 minutes. I used apple juice in my water pan. Thanks for the good info!

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Rotate your phone for full version
BBQ Smokers, Pig Roasters, Chicken Cookers, and Grills From Meadow Creek
Credit Cards We Accept
Struggling to choose the right cooker for your needs? Check out our Meadow Creek cooker comparison charts. If you would like to discuss your dream cooker over the phone, call Marlin toll-free at (877) 602-1568 to get some good, friendly advice. Or if you're close by, come visit our display lot in Pikeville, Tennessee to check out these fine barbeques! We offer a 30-day money back guarantee on all our Meadow Creek barbeque equipment (except the Ultimate Catererssorry, too much risk). Please realize that we (Yoders Smoky Mountain Barbecue) are a dealer for Meadow Creek. This promise applies only if you buy from us. If for any reason you are not happy with your unit, you may return the cooker to us within 30 days of the delivery or pickup date, and we will refund the purchase price minus the shipping and handling. You are responsible to pay the return shipping.
What did you think of the videos? Meadow Creek makes some amazing smokers, pig roasters, chicken cookers, and grills. All this equipment is made in the Amish Community of Lancaster County, PA. The talented craftsmen at Meadow Creek hand-make each unit. They seriously go the extra mile to make sure youre smoked pink. What really puts the sauce on the brisket is all the revolutionary features and options that make barbecue fun and easy, and even a money-machine, if BBQ is your business.
Integrity: Meadow Creek cookers are made in a culture of Godly ethicshonesty, diligence, and fairness. Whether its a Shoo-fly pie or a barbecue smoker, you will be treated right.
Stainless Steel Grates: Every Meadow Creek barbecue cooker comes standard with non-rusting stainless steel grates. This eliminates the hassle of scrubbing rust and the danger of possible rust contamination on your meat.