When it comes to the ultimate ways to cook chicken breast, smoking is definitely in the top 5. Smoking adds a beautiful smoky flavor that is simply irresistible.
However, the most important question regarding chicken breast is how long to smoke it at 250°F. Smoke chicken breast at 250°F for 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.
Is It Better to Smoke Chicken Breast at 225 or 250
Whether it is brisket or chicken breast, there will always be a debate about whether to smoke meat at 225°F or 250°F. However, the best temperature for smoking chicken falls between 225°F and 250°F.
225°F allows you to smoke the chicken breast gently, which helps create tenderness. However, it does take longer to smoke the chicken breast.
Some people worry that smoking chicken breast at 250°F overcooks it. Smoking chicken breast at 250°F will not dry out the chicken if you remove it from the smoker at the right time.
Smoking chicken breast at 250°F lets you cook the chicken breast slowly, but they will be done much quicker.
What Wood Is Best For Smoking Chicken?
Applewood perfectly with smoked chicken breast. It gives the chicken breast a subtly sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with the savory BBQ rub used to coat the chicken.
For smoking chicken breast, you can also use cherrywood, hickory, or maple wood. These woods will accentuate the chicken’s natural flavor without overpowering it.
Do not use woods such as mesquite to smoke chicken. Mesquite has a robust flavor that can easily overpower the chicken’s delicate flavor.
Tips for Smoking Chicken Breast
Store your chicken in the fridge unless you are seasoning or brining the chicken breast. Remove the chicken breasts from the refrigerator a few minutes before you smoke them. It will keep food safety issues to a minimum.
Make sure your chicken breasts are defrosted before smoking them. Yes, you can technically smoke chicken breast from frozen. However, I do not recommend it.
Thawed meat takes less time to cook than frozen chicken. Additionally, thawed chicken breast cooks more evenly than frozen chicken.
By the time the chicken breasts interior reaches the correct internal temperature, the exterior will be rubbery and overcooked. So, save yourself the trouble and thaw your chicken.
In contrast, boneless, skinless chicken breasts soak up more smoke than their counterparts. So, keep these considerations in mind when smoking chicken breast.
If you smoke skin-on chicken breast, smoke them skin-side up. This will prevent the chicken skin from sticking to the smoker cooking grates.
Nevertheless, choose chicken breasts that are a similar size. The chicken breasts will cook more evenly. Additionally, they will finish cooking around the same time.
Keep your smoker’s lid or door closed as much as possible. The smoker has to maintain a stable temperature. The more you open the smoker, the more the temperature fluctuates.
Temperature fluctuations can lengthen the smoking time. The smoker takes up to 15 minutes to return to the correct temperature. Only open the smoker to add more wood chips or check the chicken breast’s internal temperature.
Skin-on-bone-in chicken breasts have more flavor than boneless skinless chicken breasts.
Let the smoked chicken breast rest before you slice it. Letting the chicken breast rest gives the meat’s juices to redistribute back into the meat.
Otherwise, your butcher board or plate will be saturated in chicken juices, and the chicken breast will be dry and tough. Let the chicken breast rest for at least 5 minutes before you slice and serve the chicken.
How Long to Smoke Chicken Breast at 250
Even though some people are wary of smoking chicken at 250°F, it is a great temperature to smoke chicken at.
The chicken breast will cook faster. However, it will still be juicy and tender.
The smoking time of chicken breasts depends on the size of the breast. The average chicken breast weighs 4-6 ounces.
Thinner chicken breasts can take about 30-45 minutes to smoke at 250°F. Check the chicken breast’s internal temperature after 30 minutes to ensure it does not overcook.
In contrast, thicker chicken breasts weighing about 6-8 ounces can take up to 1 1/2 to 2 hours to smoke. Check the chicken’s internal temperature after an hour to ensure it does not overcook.
How Long To Smoke Bone-In Skin-On Chicken Breast At 250
As I mentioned above, bone-in skin-on chicken breasts take longer to cook. It will take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to smoke bone-in skin-on chicken at 250°F.
Check the chicken breast after 90 minutes to prevent it from overcooking. Additionally, cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F.
How To Tell When Smoked Chicken Breast Is Done
There is only one tried and tested way of testing chicken breast for doneness: a meat thermometer.
Yes, there are other methods to tell if chicken breast is cooked. For example, visual signs include the chicken breast turning from light pink to white. The juices will also run clear when you cut into the chicken breast.
However, these methods are highly inaccurate. Chicken can still be pink even if it is fully cooked. This is especially true for smoked chicken since the smoke can give it a pink tinge.
Therefore, a thermometer is the only way to tell if chicken breasts are cooked. The chicken breasts are cooked when they have an internal temperature of 165°F.
For those of you wondering why the temperature test is so important, let me explain. You can get sick from eating undercooked meats like poultry.
Chicken can contain bacteria like campylobacter or salmonella. Cooking the chicken breasts to the correct temperature of 165°F will neutralize the bacteria.
Sometimes chicken can be pink even though it is cooked. In contrast, the chicken breast may have a white color and still not be cooked. This is why visual cues are irrelevant when it comes to smoking chicken.
Additionally, cooking the chicken breast to 165°F will prevent it from overcooking. Chicken breast is not as forgiving as chicken thighs. So you must remove them from the smoker at the right time.
Smoked chicken breasts are amazing. When you smoke them at 250°F, they will be juicy, delicious, and full of smoky flavor.
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.