Cookbook:Hickory Smoked Chicken Breasts
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.