Chicken breast is the basis of many healthy recipes. Electric smoker chicken breast recipes can help elevate this healthy, yet humble, meat to greater flavor heights.
Smoked chicken can add a rustic flavor to just about any healthy dish. Using your electric smoker to smoke chicken breast is just another fantastic way to experiment with flavor. Smoking chicken is an excellent way to both cook and flavor your meat for a unique taste experience.
Electric Smoker Chicken Breast:
A Recipe For Deliciousness
Is chicken breast meat you want to smoke? Of course! It’s healthy and delicious.
But is it really worth the time and effort?
In a word: yes.
Where Can I Use Electric Smoker Chicken Breast?
While you could easily eat smoked chicken breast on its own, consider some of the other things you can make with it. The smoked chicken breast would add some great flavor to your lunchtime salad or sandwich.
Try a unique spin on chicken soup by using smoked chicken. Or how about a fusion mashup with smoked chicken tacos?
The possibilities are endless!
The Problems With Chicken Breast
The trouble with chicken breast is that it is very easy to screw up. Chicken breast has very little to no fat. While this makes it a great source of lean protein, this leanness makes it not as flavorful as more fatty cuts of chicken.
Fat also melts to lubricate the meat while it cooks. Without fat, lean cuts like chicken breast tend to get dry when cooked.
This dry meat problem can get even worse the longer you cook your meat. To safely cook at low temperatures as you would with electric smoker chicken breast, you need hours.
Not adequately preparing your electric smoker, chicken breast can leave you with a tasteless, dry piece of meat.
Electric Smoker Chicken Breast:
Things To Consider
Before you start researching electric smoker chicken breast recipes, let’s go over what you need to know about smoking chicken breast in an electric smoker.
All About Chicken Breasts
When it comes to chicken breast, you have several options to choose from. Depending on what type of chicken breast you select will help determine what kind of preparation you need for your electric smoker chicken breast.
Got A Bone To Pick
Chicken breasts typically come in two forms: bone-in or boneless. The bone-in version usually comes with the rib bones attached. The boneless version has the ribs removed.
When cooking chicken breast, the rib bones in a bone-in chicken breast act as insulation. It can help keep the chicken moister over extended periods of cooking.
However, since the boneless chicken breasts do not have this insulation, these chicken breasts are more prone to drying out.
Taste Is Skin Deep
Prepared chicken breasts at the meat counter may or may not have skin. Bone-in chicken breasts are more likely to have the skin intact. Meanwhile, boneless chicken breasts typically have the skin removed.
Just like with chicken bones, chicken skin adds a layer of protection. During cooking the fat in the skin melts, basting the meat underneath and helping to keep it moist.
The skinless chicken breast does not have this type of protection and can get tough during the cooking process, if not prepared correctly.
Beyond The Breast
While we’re talking mostly about electric smoker chicken breast here, remember that most of the techniques we cover will work for just about any kind of smoked chicken recipe.
If you’re not a fan of breast meat, try smoking dark meat. Like chicken breast, you can choose to smoke dark meat either bone-in or boneless, with the skin on or off.
For a real treat, try smoking a whole chicken! You can try smoking it intact or use a technique called spatchcocking. Spatchcocking takes out the backbone to let the bird lay flat. That results in a chicken that cooks evenly with lots of skin exposed.
Brining is an integral part of preparing any meat for smoking. However, it's even more critical for chicken breast due to how lean the meat is.
Moisture And Flavor
Brining does two important things for smoked chicken breast. The first thing it does is add moisture. With little to no fat on the meat, chicken breast can get dry during cooking.
The brining process helps the meat retain moisture during the cooking process. The salt in the brine denatures some of the protein in the meat, allowing it to hold onto more moisture. If the meat were not salted, the moisture would escape during cooking.
Of course, the salt in the brine also adds flavor. Not only can salt add its own flavor to the chicken, but it can also help deliver other flavorings in the brine.
Dry Or Wet
There are two main types of brine you can use for electric smoker chicken breast. A wet brine is a salt and other flavorings dissolved in water. A dry brine is salt with other dry seasonings, sprinkled heavily onto the chicken.
Whether you choose a wet or a dry brine is up to you. Both methods can deliver excellent results.
Wet brines typically take longer, several hours and up to a day or so, to work its magic. Conversely, dry brines are easy to put together and take only a few hours in the refrigerator to work.
Fattening It Up
Chicken breast is popular as a lean source of protein. But when you're making electric smoker chicken breast, a little bit of fat can go a long way toward keeping your chicken breast moist and tasty.
There are two easy ways to add some fat to your electric smoker chicken breast: bard and inject.
The first is to bard, or wrap, your chicken breast in a slice of flavorful fatty meat, like bacon, as in this maple smoked bacon-wrapped chicken breast recipe.
As the chicken smokes, the fat from the bacon melts and bastes the chicken, much in the same way chicken skin would, but even tastier.
Shot Of Flavor
Another way to add fat to a chicken breast is to inject it with flavor, literally. Using a meat injector marinates the meat from the inside out.
Using a flavorful fat, like infused olive oil or even butter, can help amp up the fat and flavor in your electric smoker chicken breast recipe.
Mind Your Smoke
With an electric smoker chicken breast, smoke is also a flavoring agent as it's a cooking method. Choosing what type of wood you use is essential when you're making an electric smoker chicken breast.
Fruit woods are a popular choice for using with smoked chicken as they impart a sweet, fruity flavor to the meat. Cherry and apple are two very popular kinds of wood.
If you want to go beyond fruity flavors, there are other smoking woods to choose from. Maple is a sweet wood and pairs well with chicken breast. Hickory and mesquite are also popular, and pair well with Southern and Southwestern-inspired brines and marinades.
Step By Step: Electric Smoker Chicken Breast Recipe
Now that we know what goes into an excellent smoked chicken breast recipe, it’s time to try our hand at it! This recipe is adapted from Fox Valley Foodie’s bacon wrapped smoked chicken breast recipe.
Gather Your Ingredients
For this recipe, you will need:
Prepare Your Brine
First, you need to brine your chicken. Prepare your brine by heating one cup of water and thoroughly dissolving the salt and sugar.
In a large bowl, add the salt and sugar mixture, as well as the remaining cups of water, garlic, and peppercorns. Leave the brine until it reaches room temperature.
Add the chicken breasts, using a plate to weight the chicken down if necessary to ensure it is properly submerged.
Alternatively, you can place the chicken and brine in a gallon sized, zip top bag. Be sure to remove all the air to ensure proper coverage.
Put the bowl in the refrigerator. Leave the chicken to rest in the brine for two hours.
Prep Your Chicken
Remove the chicken from the brine, rinsing under cold water to remove any excess salt. Pat the chicken dry.
Wrap each chicken breast in bacon, securing with toothpicks.
Prep Your Smoker
Preheat your smoker to 275-degrees Fahrenheit and add the smoking wood, per your manufacturer’s instructions.
Once your smoker is preheated, add your chicken breasts to your electric smoker. Smoke your chicken breasts until the chicken reaches 165-degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove from the smoker and let rest for about 10 minutes before eating.
Serve It Up
Once rested, you can eat your electric smoker chicken breast just as you would other chicken. Try pairing it with some mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables for an awesome, healthy meal.
But that’s not all you can do!
If you love pulled pork, try using your electric smoker chicken breast in this smoked pulled chicken sandwich as a healthier alternative.
Another sandwich worth trying is this great chicken club sandwich -- your electric smoker chicken breast is sure to sing as the star in this club.
For something truly one of a kind, substitute your electric smoked chicken breast for regular chicken in this southwest egg roll recipe. It’s an appetizer your guests will be sure to talk about for months to come.
Electric Smoker Chicken Breast: The Breakdown
Having an electric smoker opens the door to a wide array of different smoked foods. Smoking your own chicken breast on your electric smoker helps to add some added depth to this healthy, but sometimes bland, meat.
Whether you eat your electric smoker chicken breast straight from the smoker or add it to some of your recipes for a flavorful protein boost, this is a great meat to have in your smoking repertoire.
How do you smoke your chicken breast? And how do you eat it? Tell us about it in the comments!