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How to Make Smoked Pulled Chicken

If you have been looking for a comfort dish in smoked meat, smoked pulled chicken will come right on top of the list. Pulled chicken isn’t only affordable but tasty and flexible to be used along with many other dishes as well. If you know how to make pulled pork, you’ll understand how to make smoked pulled chicken very easily.

Since it doesn’t contain as much fat content and connecting tissues as pork, pulled chicken can be prepared really quickly.

You have to take care of a few things to ensure that chicken doesn’t dry out easily. We will talk about it in detail in the following paragraphs.

How to Smoke Pulled Chicken

Brining the meat is very important before you proceed to smoke it. Chicken is no exception to this rule.

You can prepare a simple brine solution in your home and soak the chicken pieces in it for a few hours to ensure that the flavors seep into the meat well.

Here are the brine ingredients that you can use for about 3 to 4 pounds of chicken.

  • Water – 3 gallons
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 cup
  • Kosher Salt – ½ cup
  • Brown sugar – ½ cup
  • Apples – 3 (Diced)
  • Chopped Celery – 3 stalks

While you can use all parts of the chicken to make the smoked recipe, it would be best to use the thighs or legs for this recipe.

Here are the steps you need to follow to prepare the smoked pulled chicken recipe:

  1. Boil the water on medium flame and wait until brown sugar and salt gets dissolved completely.
  2. Wait until the water reaches room temperature so that you can add the other ingredients for brining.
  3. Mix all the contents well in the brine liquid.
  4. Place the chicken thighs or legs in the zipper-locked sealed bags. If you plan to make smoked pulled chicken breasts, you can put the chicken breasts as well in these sealed bags.
  5. Pour the brine liquid into the bags and seal them well.
  6. Keep the bags in the refrigerator and let them remain there for about 12 hours. If you have enough time, you can allow the chicken to soak in the brine solution for 24 hours.

Smoking Brined Chicken

If you’re wondering how to smoke pulled chicken, here are the simple steps that you have to follow:

  1. After 24 hours of brining, take the chicken out and drain off all the liquid completely. Wipe it dry until all traces of moisture get removed.
  2. Now is the time to apply the dry rub mixture to the chicken. For the dry rub, you can use simple ingredients like the following:

o   Equal amounts of paprika and brown sugar (around 1 cup each)

o   Equal amounts of garlic powder, kosher salt, and black pepper powder (about ¼ cup each)

o   A small quantity of onion powder

  1. Nicely coat the chicken with the rub to ensure that flavors penetrate all the parts of the meat.
  2. Allow the meat to rest for a while with the rub on for about 30 minutes before you proceed to smoke the meat.

Smoked Pulled Chicken – The Actual Smoking Process

  • Set the smoker or the Pit Boss 700S to a temperature of 230 to 250 degrees F.
  • Smoke the chicken for about 2 to 3 hours. After 2 hours, keep checking the internal temperature of the meat regularly.
  • Stop cooking when the mat’s internal temperature reaches around 165 to 170 degrees F.
  • Once you check this internal temperature, please take out the meat and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes before you taste it.

How to Make Smoked Pulled Chicken Breasts

The brining and smoking process is the same for chicken breasts. However, while smoking, you have to set the smoker’s temperature to 250 degrees F and smoke the breasts for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Keep checking the internal temperature of the meat. Stop smoking when you reach a temperature of 165 degrees F.

After allowing the smoked chicken to settle for about 30 minutes, you should be able to pull them properly. Once the chicken pieces have cooled a bit, you can break apart the chicken pieces with your hand. Ensure you use your gloves for this process.

If there are juices left in the chicken pieces, ensure that you transfer them to a separate jar. When you’re pulling apart the chicken pieces, be careful to remove the flesh from the bones.

For smoked pulled chicken recipes, you might not need the skin, so you can munch on it, while you keep the pulled apart chicken aside for making other dishes.

You can prepare the pulled chicken as stuffing with any sandwiches you prepare.

You can add any vegetables of your choice and you can also make a thick sauce using the barbecue sauce and the chicken juices you had collected in a separate jar.

Some points to note while making pulled chicken:

  • You can make pulled chicken easily in any smoker of your choice.
  • Don’t worry about using any particular type of wood. Right from the classic hickory to the mild fruitwoods, all types work very well for this recipe.
  • While you can tweak the brine recipe to something very basic that involves salt and sugar, you should never skip this process totally. Please remember that it’s mandatory to allow the chicken to soak in brine for at least 3 to 4 hours if you cannot do it for 24 hours. This makes the meat tender when you smoke it.
  • You can try to be as adventurous or as simple as you want while preparing the brine solution. Culinary experts have tried experimenting with strong flavors like lemon juice, soya sauce, and olive oil during the brining process, and have found excellent results.

Final Thoughts

You have to smoke pulled chicken to the right consistency by checking the internal temperature regularly.

You can pull apart the chicken easily even with your hand only if the meat is cooked well.

Try this simple recipe in your home right now as we know you can easily make it. Your kids will surely love it!

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