When you get the job of smoked or barbecued chicken, do you weep in fear of flavorless breasts? It happens to everybody, even professional chefs. This is your solution.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup salt (if you're concerned, get this: The meat takes just enough from the brine. In the end product, there's less salt than an order of large fries.)
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs honey
- 2 cups very hot apple cider vinegar
- 2 pounds ice
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1 tbs black peppercorns, cracked
- 1 tbs chili powder
- 1 tbs cayenne pepper
- 2 tbs paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon-pepper
- Several pounds of large hickory chunks
- Combine salt, honey, herbs, and vinegar in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Add ice and shake until ice is mostly melted and mixture has cooled enough for meat to safely not cook.
- Add chicken and refrigerate 1-2 hours.
- Take chicken out of brine and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
- Combine lemon pepper, peppercorns, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and paprika. Rub mixture gently into both sides of each chicken piece.
- Place enough hickory wood chunks into the firebox of a smoker to keep the temperature around 225 degrees F. Insert a probe thermometer into one of the chicken pieces and place in the smoker. Cook, changing chunks as needed, until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
- Remove to a plate and let rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Serve warm.