Whether you’re a novice or an experienced cook, using an electric smoker can help you to give your chicken that delectable, delicious, smoky taste while keeping your bird nice and tender. With these simple, effective tips, making smoked chicken you’ll be proud to share will be a breeze. One of the keys is choosing wood chips with flavors that are known to complement the yard bird. Another key is setting the right temperature in the smoker. Using the right seasoning will also make a big difference in the flavor of your chicken when you use an electric smoker whether you’re cooking a whole bird or just your favorite parts of the chicken.
Choosing Smoking Chips
Mesquite, pecan, apple and cheery wood chips are popular choices. Many people also like hickory because it burns slow and hot and adds a bacon like flavor. But go light on the hickory if you have a small chicken or you can get a bitter flavor. Combining it with cherry wood creates a pleasant taste. Maple, the sweetest of the hard woods, adds a nice mild flavor. Apple wood’s mild, fruity flavor is ideal for chicken. It also needs several hours of smoking to permeate the meat. Fresh cut peach wood gives smoked chicken a light, sweet flavor. Smoking your chicken with charcoal alone creates a fiery taste without much flavor.
Preparing The Chicken
Taking the time to spatchcock the chicken can also help add flavor when using an electric smoker. Using a sharp knife, cut along the both sides half an inch from the backbone from the neck all the way to the tail. Remove the backbone and spread out the chicken. Use a pairing knife, gently cut the diamond-shaped breastbone and remove it. This will allow the bird to lie flat. Cut the chicken into two halves. This creates a larger surface area to absorb the smoke and allows for more chickens to fit on the grates.
Brine The Chicken
Another way to improve the taste of your smoked chicken is to soak it in a good brine. Mix a cupful of kosher salt, spices, wines and fruit juice with a gallon of water. The salt helps the muscles to break down and increases the amount of moisture and flavor the meat will absorb. Chicken is naturally lean. Smoking it without brining it first compromises its flavor, tenderness and juiciness.
Dry Off The Bird
Take the chicken out of the brine and allow it to sit for an hour to air dry before putting it in the smoker. When the surface of the bird is fairly dry, the smoke adheres to it better.
The Right Temperature Matters
When you are about to put the chicken in the electric smoker, place the probe in the chicken’s thickest part. Then set the temperature on the digital thermometer to about 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The smoker will stop cooking when the chicken’s temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The smoker will then go into warm mode.
Set the electric smoker’s temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The length of time your bird takes to cook will depend on its size. A good estimate is for each pound of the chicken’s weight it will take between 30 and 45 minutes to cook. A 5 pound bird will take between 21/2 to 4 hours to cook. Smoked chickens taste best when fully cooked.
The Right Seasoning At The Right Time
Just before putting the yard bird in the smoker, apply a spice rub. This will add flavor to the meat when it is smoked. A few minutes before removing the chicken from the smoker, add your barbecue sauce to the meat. Adding a barbecue sauce that’s spicy and sweet during and immediately after smoking the chicken will give it an exterior that’s bursting with flavor. Although a simple brine will improve the taste of your smoked chicken, adding the right seasonings takes the flavor of the meat to another level.
Smoking Chicken Breast In An Electric Smoker
Slow cooking chicken breasts in an electric smoker gives them that smoky, melt-in-your-mouth tender, flavorful, delicious taste and texture. To get great tasting bone-in chicken breasts using your electric smoker, all you’ll need is four halves of chicken breast, a good dry rub seasoning to add flavor, some wood chips and a meat thermometer.
The first step is to remove the excess fat from the chicken breasts. You can smoke them with or without the skin based on your preference. Rinse thoroughly in cold water and use a clean towel and pat them dry. Let the breasts air dry for a few minutes, then season them using the dry rub.
Prepare The Smoker
Preheat the electric smoker to 225 degrees and add your favorite wood chips. Apple wood and cherry wood are good choices.
Smoking The Breasts
Once the electric smoker is preheated and the wood chips are ready, place the seasoned chicken breast in the smoker bone side down. Let the chicken breasts remain in the smoker until they reach 160 degrees. Use the meat thermometer to check. The entire smoking process lasts for between 2 and 3 hours. A few minutes before removing the chicken breasts from the smoker, slather on some barbecue sauce. Once the breasts are done, add more barbecue sauce, cover with a foil tent for 10 to 15 minutes, serve and take a bow.
Nothing tastes quite as good as smoked chicken breast when its done right. But smoking your chicken properly can be difficult unless you are very experienced or you have an electric smoker. Using an electric smoker makes it possible for even beginners can make excellent smoked chicken. The combination of a good electric smoker, brine made with the right ingredients, a dry rub with the right combination of elements and a your favorite barbecue sauce, puts you on the path to making delicious, flavorful, tender, smoked chicken breast. A good electric smoker makes it possible to get smoked chicken breasts year round.