Smoked Chicken Breast and Thighs
Why We Love This Chicken Recipe
Why just grill chicken, when you could smoke it?! Smoking chicken creates an intense depth of flavor that accentuates the juicy sweetness of the meat. Plus, it’s so easy to do!
This recipe allows you to smoke boneless or bone-in chicken breast and thighs, or even a whole chicken. Coat your choice of pieces in a simple but incredibly flavorful spice blend (with only 5 ingredients!) and cook to tender and moist perfection in under an hour… Boneless and skinless chicken is ready in less than 30 minutes!
We love to use this smoked chicken breast recipe cooking method all spring and summer long. It’s great for barbecues and backyard get-togethers, or even casual weeknight meals! Serve with any number of classic comforting side dishes for a dinner that is sure to please.
Ingredients You Need
- Chicken breasts and/or thighs – boneless or bone-in
- Olive oil – or other high-quality and high-heat cooking oil, like avocado or canola oil
- Salt and pepper – sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper are best
- Paprika – enhances the smoky, sweet flavor of the chicken with smoked paprika
- Garlic powder – earthy and fragrant
- Onion powder – a slightly sweet spice that is naturally besties with garlic powder
How to Smoke Chicken
First, preheat a traditional charcoal smoker or pellet smoker (or wood pellet grill) to 350°F. Prep the smoker with the necessary wood chips or wood pellets. You can use any smoking wood you prefer, but I like Hickory best for chicken!
Place the chicken pieces on a large rimmed baking sheet. Pat the pieces dry with a paper towel. Then rub them on all sides with olive oil.
In a small bowl mix together the salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder for the dry rub.
Sprinkle the seasoning blend over both sides of the chicken pieces.
Lightly pat the chicken to keep the spices on.
For boneless chicken breast and thighs: Place the pieces on the grates and close the lid. Smoke for 10 minutes. Flip and cook the chicken for an additional 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size of the pieces.
The internal temperature should read 165°F on a meat thermometer.
For bone-in chicken pieces: Set the pieces on the grates and close the lid. Smoke for 25 minutes. Then flip the chicken pieces over and cook another 20 minutes.
Again, the internal temperature needs to reach 165°F.
I mean really, what *can’t* you serve with juicy chicken breast or thighs? There are so many options!
Here are a few of our top side dishes to enjoy with smoked chicken:
- Instant Pot Baked Beans
- Classic Potato Salad or French Red Potato Salad
- Famous Corn Pudding or simple Grilled Corn on the Cob
- Mashed Potatoes or Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Southern Coleslaw
- Stewed Okra and Tomatoes
Leftovers are also great! Or you can even make extra for meal prepping. Enjoy pieces cold in a smoked chicken sandwich or wrap, or chop and add in a salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
Apple wood, cherry, pecan, hickory, or mesquite are the most popular woods for smoking meats. Any of these will work! For smoked chicken recipes, I personally like to use a blend of mesquite and apple.
Absolutely! Place a whole bird on the smoker and allow it to cook at 350°F for approximately 35 minutes per pound. If you spatchcock the chicken and lay it flat on the grates, it will cook in approximately 45 to 60 minutes total.
Boneless and skinless pieces cook for approximately 20 minutes.
Bone-in chicken with skin cooks for approximately 45 minutes.
Yes! Flip the pieces about halfway through cooking. This ensures that they cook thoroughly and evenly.
Keep the heat to a low 350°F and do not overcook. Use an internal meat thermometer to check the temp at the low end of the cook times.
Let the pieces cool to room temperature, and transfer them to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Looking for More Delicious Dinner Recipes? Be Sure to Also Try:
- Easy Smoked Pork Chops (with Brine)
- Perfect Baked Chicken Thighs
- Best Smoked Brisket
- Slow Cooker Smoked Pulled Pork
- Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends
Smoked Chicken Breast and Thighs Recipe + VIDEO
- Preheat the smoker to 350°F. Prep the smoker with necessary wood chips or wood pellets. You can use any smoking wood you prefer, but I like Hickory best for chicken!
- Place the chicken pieces on a large rimmed baking sheet. Pat the pieces dry with a paper towel. Then rub them on all sides with olive oil.
- In a small bowl mix together the salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Sprinkle the spice rub over both sides of the chicken pieces.
- For boneless chicken breast and thighs: Place the chicken pieces on the smoker and close the lid. Smoke for 10 minutes. Flip and smoke the chicken an additional 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. The internal temperature should read 165°F on a meat thermometer.
- For bone-in chicken pieces: Set the chicken pieces on the smoker and close the lid. Smoke the chicken for 25 minutes. Then flip the chicken pieces over and smoke another 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 165°F.
Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!