Chicken breast can be tricky when you grill or smoke it – it can dry out easily. BUT I’ve got you covered!!!! This smoked chicken breast was juicy and delicious with that smokey flavor that only comes from those yummy Traeger wood pellets!
The trick to smoking and keeping your chicken juicy is brining the day before and using bone-in chicken breasts. I’ve got just the recipe for you and it’s super easy! Even a Traeger-newbie can serve up perfect chicken for the whole family! I even smoked some veggies to use in a salsa recipe I’m sharing soon!
Why do you brine chicken breast?
The best way to make a smoked chicken breast is by brining it first! This helps impart as much juice into your chicken as possible through osmosis. I brined these bone-in chicken breasts in a mixture of water, table salt and brown sugar overnight.
How to cook smoked chicken breast
For smoking chicken breast in your Traeger (or any smoker) – you have to go low and slow. Set your smoker to 225 degrees – it takes about 10 minutes to come to temp. With the Traeger – you turn to smoke first for five minutes. Once smokes starts to come out – you can turn it to 225 temp and let it heat. Also – be sure your pellets are full! You don’t want to run out mid-smoke.
While your Traeger is coming to temp – prep your chicken breasts. I rubbed them in minced garlic. Then I lifted the skin and put thinly sliced lemon and fresh herbs (rosemary and thyme) under the skin. No need for oil as leaving the skin on will add the oil you need. Be sure to use bone-in chicken breasts as well – they hold in more flavor.
Once the Traeger is up to temp – place your seasoned chicken breasts onto the grill. You’ll smoke them bone-side down for 2 hours – no need to turn them.
When is smoked chicken breast done?
The one thing you need with any grill or smoker is an instant read thermometer – it’s the key to making sure meat is not overdone. For chicken – I take it off when the temperature reads 160 degrees. The chicken will continue to come up in temperature for 5-10 minutes after you grill. Taking it off just a touch early will ensure you don’t dry out your chicken.
What to serve with Smoked Chicken Breast
I love side dishes and this smoked chicken goes with pretty much anything! I had some cheesy rice and fresh tomatoes – but here are some of my other favorite side dishes:
Traeger Smoked Chicken Breast
- 1/3 cup table salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 gallon water
- 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
- 3 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 lemon thinly sliced
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- For the Brine: Dissolve the salt and brown sugar in 1 gallon of water. Once dissolved, place the chicken in the brine and refrigerate overnight. Make sure chicken is fully submerged weighing it down if necessary.
- When ready to cook, set Traeger temperature to 225℉ and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes.
- While the grill preheats, remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Rub with the minced garlic. Next, loosen the skin and stuff between the meat and skin lemon slices, garlic, rosemary and thyme.
- Place chicken directly on the grill grate, bone side down, and smoke for 2 hours or until an instant-read thermometer reads 160℉ when inserted into the thickest part of the breast. The finished internal temperature will rise to 160℉ in the breast as the chicken rests. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving. Enjoy!
- For the brine – you can also use Kosher salt – just use a little more (1/2 cup) but table salt works fine.
- If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can use about 1 tsp dried herbs per chicken breast