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Cooking chicken is a delicious and healthy way to get your protein fix, and using an electric smoker is a great way to infuse your chicken with smoky flavor and tenderness.
If you’re new to smoking chicken or just looking to brush up on your skills, don’t worry! In this article, we’ll guide you through the ins and outs of cooking chicken in an electric smoker, and give you some tips and tricks for achieving the perfect flavor and texture every time.
And the good news is, electric smokers are one of the easiest types of cookers to operate! Read on for more.
Choosing Your Chicken
First things first, it’s important to choose the right type of chicken for smoking. We recommend using bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts for the most flavor, as the bones and skin help to insulate the meat and keep it moist during the smoking process.
Boneless skinless chicken breasts are a little bit healthier on the other hand and generally easier to deal with.
Really, you can use any type of chicken you like, from whole chickens and chicken quarters to chicken breasts and wings.
Getting Ready For The Smoke
Once you’ve chosen your chicken, it’s time to prepare it for smoking. Start by seasoning your chicken breast with your favorite dry rub or marinade, being sure to coat it thoroughly and evenly. You can use a store-bought rub or make your own with a blend of herbs, spices, and other seasonings.
Next, preheat your electric smoker to the desired temperature. We recommend using a temperature of around 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit for smoking chicken, as this will help to keep the meat moist and tender while allowing the smoke to penetrate the meat.
Cooking Chicken Breasts In An Electric Smoker
Once your smoker is preheated, it’s time to add your chicken to the smoker. Place the chicken on the racks in the smoker, being sure to leave some space between each piece to allow the smoke to circulate and cook the chicken evenly.
As your chicken smokes, it’s important to monitor the internal temperature of the meat to ensure it’s cooked all the way through. We recommend using a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the thickest part of the meat, and looking for a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure the chicken is fully cooked and safe to eat.
Wood Chip Flavors
During the smoking process, you can also add wood chips or chunks to your electric smoker to infuse the chicken with smoky flavor. We recommend using fruitwood chips, such as apple or cherry, for a mild and sweet smoke flavor that complements the natural flavor of the chicken.
As your chicken cooks, you can also baste it with a mixture of butter and your favorite herbs and spices to add extra flavor and moisture to the meat. Simply brush the mixture onto the chicken every 30-45 minutes during the smoking process, being careful not to disturb the smoker’s temperature or airflow.
When your chicken is fully cooked and tender, it’s time to remove it from the smoker and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This will help the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a moist and flavorful final product.
Side Ideas For Electric Smoker Chicken Breasts
Here are some side ideas for smoked chicken that are sure to complement its smoky flavor and tender texture:
- Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables are a great side dish to serve with smoked chicken. Try roasting some root vegetables like sweet potatoes or carrots, or mix it up with a medley of seasonal vegetables like brussels sprouts, asparagus, and red bell peppers.
- Grilled Corn: Grilled corn is a classic summer side dish that pairs perfectly with smoked chicken. Try grilling corn on the cob with butter and spices, or cut the kernels off the cob and mix them with herbs and spices for a tasty side dish.
- Macaroni and Cheese: Smoked chicken is a great addition to macaroni and cheese, adding a smoky flavor to the creamy pasta dish. You can use your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe and simply add shredded smoked chicken to it, or try a new recipe that specifically incorporates smoked chicken.
- Coleslaw: Coleslaw is a classic side dish that’s a great accompaniment to smoked chicken. Try making your own coleslaw with shredded cabbage, carrots, and a creamy dressing, or mix it up with a spicy or tangy dressing for a little extra flavor.
- Baked Beans: Baked beans are a classic BBQ side dish that pairs perfectly with smoked chicken. You can make your own baked beans from scratch, or use a canned variety and add extra spices and ingredients to enhance the flavor.
- Grilled Vegetables: Grilled vegetables are a great side dish for smoked chicken, and are easy to prepare on the same grill or smoker. Try grilling some zucchini, squash, eggplant, or portobello mushrooms for a healthy and flavorful side dish.
- Roasted Potatoes: Roasted potatoes are a simple and tasty side dish that pairs well with smoked chicken. Try roasting some small potatoes with herbs and spices for a delicious and easy side dish.
Cooking chicken in an electric smoker is a great way to infuse your meat with smoky flavor and tenderness. By choosing the right type of chicken, seasoning it properly, monitoring the internal temperature, and adding wood chips or basting as needed, you can create delicious and flavorful chicken dishes that are sure to impress your family and friends.
So fire up your electric smoker, get your chicken ready, and start experimenting with this delicious and versatile cooking technique today!