Smoked Chicken Breast is one of the best ways to get tender and juicy chicken! Wrapping it in bacon is the perfect addition to adding flavor and keeping the chicken moist. Who knew that cooking chicken breasts on the smoker could be this simple?
We eat a lot of chicken in our house. A lot. But there is a reason for the madness. Smoking chicken, grilling chicken, or even frying it up make it taste different each and every time.
Plus, cooking chicken is a simple way to stick to a budget while fueling your body with meat that is lower in calories and fight. Just ignore the fact that we're wrapping this chicken in bacon - but I just couldn't pass it up!
What I love about this smoked chicken breast recipe is that it's versatile in how it can be eaten. You can literally enjoy it as is, or pair it on top of a salad, toss it in some BBQ sauce to make a sandwich, or shred it up and make tacos with it. The options and endless - and all delicious.
Speaking of yummy, be sure to check out my Smoked Pulled Chicken for a simple and direct way to cook chicken and meal prep for the week.
Chicken breast - I don't use bone-in chicken for this recipe because I want to be able to slice into it easily. Boneless chicken breast is best.
Bacon - The bacon adds flavoring, so choose your favorite cut and type and add it.
Salt & Black Pepper - Just a bit to season the poultry.
How to make Smoked Chicken Breast
This is one of my favorite smoked chicken recipes, and I think you'll see why!
Step One: Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Top with bacon.
Step Two: Smoke at 250 for 1.5-2 hours. Check the internal temp of chicken to make sure it is 160-165.
Optional: Broil for 2-3 minutes to crisp the bacon.
Add a seasoning blend - If you want to make a dry rub and add to the chicken to season it, you can. Some flavors to add could be paprika, black pepper, onion powder, hickory bbq rub, or garlic powder. There are so many options when it comes to spices.
Add a bit of brown sugar - You can also put a little bit of brown sugar underneath the wrapped bacon for a sweet and salty flavor.
Stuff it - You can make smoked stuffed chicken breasts! We stuff ours with a combo of cheese and bacon.
How long do chicken breasts take to smoke?
Chicken breasts take about 2 hours to smoke at 250.
What temp does chicken breast need to be smoked?
You can smoke chicken anywhere from 200-350. Higher temps mean a shorter cook time which leads to less smoky flavor. Lower temps mean more smoky flavor but if it takes too long for the chicken to cook it can dry out. We like to smoke chicken breast at 250.
How do you keep smoked chicken moist?
Chicken breasts can dry out while being smoked which is why we chose to cover our Traeger smoked chicken breast with bacon. The fat in the bacon renders as the chicken is smoked keeping it moist.
Can I change up the type of wood used?
You can! If you're using a pellet grill or wood chips, you can alter the type. Some choices might be hickory wood pellets, mesquite chips, maple, or even cherry and apple.
You can change up the pellet smoker or grill however you'd like. You can even smoke with charcoal.
How do I keep the bacon from sliding off the chicken?
You can always take a clean paper towel and pat dry the chicken before adding the bacon on top. If you want the bacon to go all the way around the chicken instead of just on top you can make sure to wrap the bacon as tightly as possible and then place the chicken "seam" down on a piece of aluminum foil so that it holds the bacon in place while it's being cooked.
You could also wrap it in foil if you're having a big issue with it, although this will cut down on the smoky flavor coming through into the chicken.
How do you know if smoked chicken is done? Do you have to smoke chicken to 165?
It's important that you make sure that the boneless skinless chicken breasts are cooked all the way. Using a temperature probe is a simple way so you can check the internal temperature of the chicken. You can also use an instant read thermometer to verify that the chicken is at least 160 degrees. We generally take the chicken off at 158 and let it rest to come up to temperature. As long as it sits at 160 for at least a minute you don't need to go all the way to 165. Doing that can dry out the chicken. This is a great guide explaining cooking times for chicken.
Having a meat thermometer is recommended just to be sure, plus it's a good idea to have it on hand when you're cooking other recipes.
What is the best way to store leftovers?
You can store leftovers in a bowl, or a bag, whatever works for you. If you want to leave the chicken whole, just add it to a container with a lid.
If you want to slice or shred the chicken, you can store it in a bag. Leftover chicken is great for so many things. I love using this easy smoked chicken breast recipe to slice and put on top of rice or pair with a simple side salad.
Storing leftover chicken is a simple protein to reheat and eat in so many ways.
To reheat, just pop it in the microwave for a short cook time. (about 30-60 seconds total time)
- 2 medium chicken breasts (6 oz each)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 strips bacon cut into thirds
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Top the chicken breasts with the pieces of bacon.
- Smoke at 250 for 1.5-2 hours or until 160 on a meat thermometer.
- Optional: Broil for 2-3 minutes to crisp the bacon.