Cookbook:Hickory Smoked Chicken Breasts

Hickory Smoked Chicken Breasts
CategoryChicken recipes

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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.




  1. 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.
  2. Add chicken and brine in the refrigerator for 1–2 hours.
  3. Take chicken out of brine and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
  4. Combine lemon pepper, peppercorns, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and paprika. Rub mixture gently into both sides of each chicken piece.
  5. Place enough hickory wood chunks into the firebox of a smoker to keep the temperature around 225°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°F.
  6. Remove to a plate and let rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Notes, tips, and variations

  • The quantity of salt called for may seem large, but very little of it will end up in the final product—most is discarded in the brine.