Time to add a new spin to the modest chicken breast! Here are all the tips and tricks you need to create a tender smoked chicken breast. This recipe doesn’t only fire up your kitchen (you’ll see!) but is a clean, protein-packed option for any meal.
Why I Love This Smoked Chicken Breast Recipe
Dearest FFF’s – where do we start? Besides the fact that you will look like a badass-vogue-griller, it is also a way to give the humble chicken breast some credit:
We have proven how our loyal friend can take on ANY challenge we throw its way from Grilled Hummus Kebabs to Slow-Cooked BBQ Chicken Wings and Grilled Chicken with Nectarine Fruit Salsa. Chicken passes with flying colors. Now, let’s allow the chicken to stand the test of time and get to the smoking part.
Smoking is a great way to add flavor to any meat! It takes you back to a countryside memory, even if you never had any. There are several ways to smoke, I like using hay as a flavoring method as it adds flavor and sweetness to the chicken. Hay is also the best and safest method to use when smoking indoors. I suggest keeping the pot’s lid closed and cracking open a window with the smoking process so that your home doesn’t smell like a barn for a week. Let’s get cracking…
Smoked Chicken Breast Ingredients
Needle in a haystack? It won’t be! (I was looking for the perfect spot to use this pun!) Hay is easily accessible. Try garden shops, pet stores or gourmet kitchen outlets. Most importantly: look for animal hay. This has been processed to ensure safe consumption. Fresh hay from the garden has not been processed and might not be safe for consumption.
- Chicken Breast – opt for organic & free range where possible.
- 2 cups of Hay – this is the secret ingredient, orchard and Alfalfa hay are the most common
- 1 tsp of paprika & ginger – Surprise! These spices are not heading to the chick, it’s going onto the hay to flavor the smoke.
- Salt and pepper
Dressing, to serve:
The pairing of hay and rosemary feels like fate to me. The combo of rosemary and Sichuan pepper will enhance the smokey notes we’re after.
- Olive oil
- Rosemary leaves
- Sichuan pepper
How To Cook Smoked Chicken Breasts
Prepare the chicken by trimming off any fat. Place the hay at the base of your cooker then top with the spices.
Place the chicken in a rack fitted to the pressure cooker. Ensure that the chicken breasts are 1cm apart for the smoke to circulate through.
Use an extended lighter or blow torch to light the hay. No need to light everything, simply light a piece of the hay and the rest will catch on. Place the rack over the hay and close with a fitted lid. Cook it over low heat for 15-20 minutes.
Drizzle the breasts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to finish. Sear on both sides for 1 minute until golden brown and cooked.
Check that the chicken is ready by using your thermometer or cutting the middle open to check for any pink juices. Serve with Rosemary & Sichuan dressing.
Prepare the dressing – Finely cut the rosemary and add to a bowl. Mix in the olive oil, Sichuan, salt and pepper. Drizzle over the chicken and serve.
With finishing dressing, you have a world of options. I love this Cashew Cilantro Pesto, it gives a smokey punch with the usage of jalapenos. For a classic, you can turn to Basil Spinach Pesto but if we’re talking real classic: Salad dressings like this Whole30 Salad Dressing is what I am talkin’ about!
Hay Smoking vs Wood Smoking
As discussed above, hay smoking is the best way to smoke safely indoors. However, if you have a nice professional smoker like this fancy Traeger smoker, you should definitely try wood smoking. The taste will be a bit different but both are delicious.
The Secret to Juicy Chicken Breasts
The secret to get extra tender and juicy chicken breasts is lemon juice! Marinate the chicken in a squeeze of lemon juice for 30 minutes before cooking. Pat dry before starting the smoking process.
I have made it clear that your going to be a gourmet griller at the end of this, so if the lemon squeeze sounds too simple using this Keto Grilled Chicken Marinate is a step UP! I always keep a jar in my fridge, ready to go! Other acids like buttermilk have similar tenderizing features like in this Grilled Chicken With Sour Cream And Onion.
Mix It Up
You’re pretty much all set to be a gourmet griller, so let’s expand: You can finish the cooking process in different ways. The oven gives that extra crisp caramelization while in your FAVE sauce will be adding extra flavor and moisture. When you’ve got that down, start experimenting with other ingredients.
Finish in the oven – Start by searing the chicken with olive oil on medium-high heat for 2 minutes on each side. You can use the same pot you’re going to smoke the chicken in. Then, add the hay and light it. Cover the pot and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 350°F until done. Season with salt and pepper before serving.
Finish in a sauce – Start by searing the chicken with olive oil on medium-high heat for 2 minutes on each side. Place into the prepared pot with lighted hay and smoke for 15 minutes on low heat. To finish, place the breasts in a prepared sauce and heat in the sauce for an additional 5-10 minutes until cooked.
Don’t stop at chicken – Try smoking more of your favorite meats. Steak, mozzarella and fish can easily be cooked using the same method.
- Steaks: Cook as you prefer your steak then smoke for 10-15 minutes to finish.
- Mozzarella: Place on a fitted rack in your pot. Smoke for 15 minutes and serve immediately while warm.
- Fish: Pan-fry the fish with olive oil for 30 seconds on high heat. Finish in the smoker for 8-12 minutes depending on the type of fish and its required doneness.
Smoked Chicken Breast FAQ
I am all about life hacks, so don’t worry if you don’t have a pressure cooker. Try these two alternatives:
- Select a large pot with a fitted lid, and use a stainless steel colander/strainer or sieve to place over the hay.
- Try smoking straight over the hay: In a large pot place the meat straight over the lighted hay and top with a fitted lid. Smoking for 15-20 minutes until done.
More Delicious Recipes With Smokey Notes
Smoked Chicken Breasts
- 4 Chicken breast
- 2 cups Hay
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 1 tbsp Ground ginger
Rosemary & Sichuan Dressing – Optional
- 4 tbsp Olive oil
- 2-4 Fresh sprigs of rosemary
- Sichuan pepper
Prepare your chicken by trimming any excess fat.
In a pressure cooker with a fitted rack add the hay and spices. Carefully light the hay until it starts to generate smoke.
Place the rack over the hay and close your cooker with a fitted lid. Set your hob to low heat and allow to smoke for 15-20 minutes until done.
Prepare a frying pan or grill on high heat, brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sear the breasts on each side for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Prepare the dressing by finely chopping the rosemary. Place in a bowl with the olive oil, Sichuan pepper and mix. Taste for seasoning and serve with your chicken.
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