In the step by step recipe the first step to making awesome smoked chicken breasts is to make brine.
A simple saltwater mixture with some herbs can serve the purpose.
The brine helps to add flavor to the chicken through marinating it before the smoking process.
Most importantly, it helps to keep the chicken breasts soft and moist. Brining helps hydrate the cells of the chicken muscle tissue which enables the cells to hold water during the cooking process.
This is what allows the chicken to stay moist during cooking.
For 8-9 chicken breasts, you can use a gallon of water to make the brine.
Just add around ½ a cup of sea salt, ½ a cup of brown sugar, and two tablespoons of peppercorns to a gallon of water.
Now that the brine is ready, you are all set to marinate your chicken breasts in it.
Remember, you need enough brine to cover the chicken breasts fully.
This amount of brine is enough for 8-9 breasts but if you have more chicken breasts to smoke, adjust the quantity of brine accordingly.
You can either put the chicken with the brine in Ziploc bags.
Alternatively, you can put the brine and chicken in a glass bowl and cover it with saran wrap.
Now, you need to put the chicken and brine in the fridge and let it marinate overnight.
Since the chicken breasts have been marinating in brine for a while, they are ready to be seasoned.
For this process, I like to use the Jack Stack Meat and Poultry Rub, but you can use any chicken rub recipe that works for your palette.
To season your chicken breasts, you need first to discard the brine and place the chicken on a flat surface such as a cutting board.
You can now use your favorite seasoning/herbs to season the chicken breasts.
You need to use a generous amount of dry rub, and cover the chicken breasts with it.
Make sure that you cover all the chicken breasts adequately because the seasoning imparts flavor to the chicken!
Heat your smoker between 260 and 275 degrees.
Place chicken breasts in the smoker.
If your smoker comes with a meat probe, insert the probe in one of the larger chicken breasts.
You should check your meat probe’s temperature against a digital meat thermometer because sometimes meat probe temperatures can be incorrect.
As a precautionary measure, just remember to check the meat probe temperature separately.
The chicken breasts need to be smoked till they attain an internal temperature of 165-170 degrees.
The smoking time for your chicken breasts should be between 1 and 1.50 hours.
Slice the chicken and serve it on a bed of fresh baby spinach with walnuts.