How To Make Smoked Shredded Chicken


Make the best smoked chicken with this easy BBQ recipe. Low and slow smoked over pecan wood and cooked in a delicious BBQ sauce and brine, this is the best way to enjoy classic grilled meats.

Smoked chicken recipe

You don’t have to give up smoked chicken as I will walk you through the entire process of making the best smoked chicken.

This shredded chicken is made with boneless, skinless smoked chicken thighs. For maximum smoke flavor, pecans are the best wood as they are slow and intense. You can even mix with cherry or apple or any other fruit wood. This IS best made with fresh chicken thighs, but can also be made with leftover chicken if you have any.

Temperature control is crucial when it comes to chicken. A great mix of marinade and brine makes the chicken tastier and flavorful. This is how smoked chicken strips are made.

Smoked BBQ chicken in a bun and onion salad

Which cut of chicken is best for smoked chicken schnitzel?

The thighs are the best part when preparing smoked shredded chicken. It has more fat and is the best part of a chicken, which can take longer to heat up. A combination of thighs and brine adds more moisture, and dry chicken is very low. Chicken thighs have that special way of becoming more tender, which is good for chewing. Boneless and skinless thighs are ideal for smoked chicken cutlets. As much as the skin keeps the chicken moist, skinless chicken is better without the skin. 

Smoked Pulled Chicken Sole

One of the best ways to lock in moisture and flavor in the chicken when smoking is to use a good quality brine. As with our classic buffalo wing brine, this blend uses salt to lock in the meat’s natural juices to keep it from drying out when smoked.

  1. You mix salt, beer, water and a flavor of your choice.
  2. Wait for the salt to dissolve in the water. 
  3. If you use smoked salt there may be a color change, but if it is white it will become transparent.
  4. Add sugar to the mixture. 
  5. Also add hot sauce to the mixture.
  6. Stir evenly until you have a balanced mixture

The best smoking wood for shredded chicken

The best woods for smoking chicken are soft fruit woods like apple, walnut, or maple. For this recipe we use pecans. It has that strong smoky flavor that makes shredded chicken smoky. It is not detracted from the original flavor of the chicken. It is an excellent type of wood that mixes easily with other fruit woods and will add an extra sweet flavor to your chicken. If you can’t eat nuts, you can try fruitwoods like cherry and apple.

What temperature for smoked chicken?

When smoking shredded chicken, make sure it’s at two different temperatures. The smoker should be set at 230 degrees F, but when YOU start smoking your chicken, the starting temperature should be 175 degrees F. 

Using 160-165 degrees F has been the standard time for any type of chicken, but the above temperature is great for cooking smoked shredded chicken.

How long to roast shredded chicken? 

Smoking shredded chicken takes longer than you think. You have to do it slowly and you need less heat. You cannot speed up the process by using more heat than necessary. The preparation time is about 15 minutes. Prep revolves around marinating, gathering all the necessary equipment, seasoning, preheating, and gathering all the ingredients. The smoking temperature should be 230 degrees F. The brining time is 3 hours. These three hours include all of the marinating, lightly rubbing, and chilling to soak up the brine and flavor well. The final temperature of the meat is 175 degrees F.

Other tips

You don’t need to hold air in the bag before closing it. Keeping the air out of the bag allows the meat to have more contact with the dressing or marinade( source ).

Temperature control is very important when it comes to smoking chicken; otherwise you won’t enjoy it. It is not only the temperature regulation, but also the choice of wood. The temperature levels are easy to adjust once you know how to set your smoker’s temperature.

How to make smoked shredded chicken

When smoking shredded chicken, it’s best to use the type of marinade that your chicken will give you flavorful chicken with maximum flavor. If you have no idea what kind of sauce to use, I recommend using barbecue sauce. You can never go wrong with barbecue sauce. With the right choice of wood and the right ingredients, you get the most out of your smoked shredded chicken.

Smoked Pulled Chicken

Beautiful Shredded Grilled Chicken made with smoked chicken thighs cooked over pecan smoke and served on a seed filled red onion bun. Smoky, sweet and spicy!
Course dinner, main course
American cuisine , BBQ
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 2 hours
Brine time 1 hour
Total time 3 hours 10 minutes
For 4 people


  • 5 pounds of boneless chicken thighs
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce
  • BBQ rub


  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 cup kosher salt


  • 8 seed rolls or brioche
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced


  • Pour the water into the brine bucket. Add the salt and stir until completely dissolved. Dip chicken thighs in water. Put the bucket in the fridge and let it sit for an hour.
  • Preheat smoker to 107°C. While your smoker is heating up, remove the chicken from the brine and place on a drying rack. Pat dry with baking paper.
  • Transfer the thighs to a large chest. Add the barbecue marinade, brush the drumsticks evenly, and coat as much as possible.
  • Place chicken thighs in smoker, spreading evenly over cooking grates. Leave at least half an inch between each leg to ensure even smoke coverage. Close the chamber door and smoke for 2 hours or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 71°C(165°F).
  • Remove the legs from the smoker and wrap in foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Use a meat grinder or forks to scoop out the chicken meat. When pulled evenly, move the chicken to a great pain. Add the BBQ sauce and stir for even coverage.
  • Serve with your favorite side dish or on sandwiches with thinly sliced ​​red onions.

The Last Word

The above stages won’t leave you without enough information on the perfect smoked chicken cutlet recipe. Pecan is the type of wood I prefer, and the barbecue sauce gives the chicken a great marinade. Temperature regulation is still a more important aspect.

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