Smoked Pulled Chicken Recipe For The Perfect Sandwich

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My husband loves chicken and from our time in Tennessee, he fell in love with pulled chicken. I swear he ate it every chance he could get. We would often go to a local restaurant that specialized in smoked meats, and he would always order the pulled chicken. The first time I tried it, I was hooked. The combination of the smoky flavor with the sweetness of the barbecue sauce was incredible.

Every time we go back to visit Tennessee, we make sure to stop at that restaurant and get our fix of smoked pulled chicken. It’s become one of our favorite memories from our time there. And each time we eat it, we can’t help but think about all the wonderful memories we’ve made in that state.

I’m so glad we have something like smoked pulled chicken to remind us of our time in Tennessee.

It’s a delicious dish that always brings a smile to our faces. To bring that same feeling home, I created a smoked pulled chicken recipe that’s just as good as the restaurant version.

What is smoked pulled chicken?

Smoked pulled chicken is a type of chicken that has been smoked and then shredded or “pulled” into small pieces. It is often used as a filling for tacos, burritos, or enchiladas, or served as an entree with rice and beans.

How do you make smoked pulled chicken?

To make smoked pulled chicken, the chicken is first placed in a smoker and cooked until it is tender and juicy. Once the chicken is cooked, it is then shredded or “pulled” into small pieces.

At what temp to pull chicken off the smoker?

The ideal temperature for pulled chicken is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This ensures that the chicken is cooked through and juicy.

How long does it take to smoke pulled chicken?

It typically takes about 2-3 hours to smoke pulled chicken. The cook time will vary depending on the size of the chicken, as well as the type of smoker being used.

What goes well with smoked pulled chicken?

Smoked pulled chicken is wonderful in a sandwich but can also be enjoyed with rice and beans, in a taco or burrito, or on its own as an entree.

What is the difference between pulled chicken and shredded chicken?

Shredded chicken is simply chicken that has been cooked and shredded into small pieces. Pulled chicken is smoked chicken that has been shredded into small pieces. The smoking process gives the chicken a unique flavor that sets it apart from shredded chicken.

How do you store smoked pulled chicken?

Smoked pulled chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for 2-3 months.

Smoked Pulled Chicken Recipe For The Perfect Sandwich

The key to getting the perfect smoked pulled chicken is all in the rub and sauce. For this smoked pulled chicken rub the spotlight ingredients are:

Smoked paprika

This secret ingredient goes a long way in giving your food that lovely smoky flavor without actually using any smoke. Smoked paprika is made by drying and smoking red peppers over an open fire until they turn a deep red color. The smoked paprika flavor profile is earthy and smoky with a touch of sweetness and heat. It’s often used to add depth of flavor to dishes like stews, soups, sauces, and marinades.

Smoked paprika is also a great way to add some smoky flavor to grilled foods without having to use an actual grill. Just sprinkle it on meats or vegetables before cooking them in the oven or on the stovetop. You can also use smoked paprika to make a quick and easy spice rub for chicken, beef, or pork.

Dry Mustard

In any smoked dish, dry mustard’s sharp, biting flavor is a must. Dry mustard is made from ground, roasted mustard seeds. The flavor is strong and somewhat bitter, with a pungent aroma. It’s this combination of flavors that makes dry mustard an essential ingredient in many recipes. With this smoked pulled chicken recipe, for example, the dry mustard adds a depth of flavor that takes the dish to the next level.

This powdery spice is also amazing in grilled meats, BBQ sauces, and even as a seasoning on roasted vegetables. If you want to add some zing to your cooking, dry mustard is the way to go. When used sparingly, dry mustard can really liven up a dish. But be careful – too much and it will quickly become overwhelming.

The secret to this smoked pulled chicken recipe is in my homemade white barbecue sauce. With a simple mixture of mayonnaise, vinegar, and black pepper, this sauce is easy to make and packed with flavor. The mayonnaise adds creaminess and body, while the vinegar gives it a tangy kick. And the black pepper gives the sauce a bit of heat.

Smoked Pulled Chicken Recipe

This recipe for smoked pulled chicken is perfect for your next backyard barbecue. The chicken is cooked low and slow over indirect heat, resulting in tender, juicy meat and the secret white sauce adds a delicious tangy flavor. Serve the chicken on buns with your favorite barbecue sauce and coleslaw for a complete meal.
Servings 6


Rub Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
  • teaspoons kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded lightly

White Barbecue Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • Pinch or two of onion powder
  • Pinch or two of cayenne

Sandwich Ingredients

  • 12 large slices of toasted bread
  • 6 crisp lettuce leaves
  • Green Tomato Chowchow
  • bread-and-butter pickles or other tangy relish


  • Prepare the smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature to 200°F to 220°F.
  • In a small mixing dish, combine the rub ingredients. Rub the breasts with the paste and leave them out at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
  • To make the sauce, whisk together the mayonnaise and half of the vinegar. Add 1 tablespoon of water and seasonings, then whisk until smooth. Spoon out ¼ cup of this mixture to use as a mop later on; set it aside for now. Note that both the sauce and mop can sit at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes before cooking or eating; however, if there is any delay beyond that window, refrigerate them as a safety measure.
  • Drizzle one-third of the mop over the breasts. Place the chicken in the smoker and cook until done, 25 to 30 minutes. After 15 minutes in a wood-burning pit, turn the breasts and mop again. Other smokers don’t require you to turn or mop the breasts during cooking; simply drizzle them with an additional mop as soon as they come out of the smoker.
  • To pull the chicken, remove any large pieces of skin and discard them. Remove the chicken from the bone in chunks or strips, using your hands, two forks, or whatever you find easiest. Place the meat in a mixing bowl and drizzle with some of the reserved barbecue sauce mixtures; toss to coat. Season the pulled chicken to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Assemble the sandwiches, slathering sauce on one side of all the bread slices. Arrange a lettuce leaf on each of six bread slices, then top each with a chicken breast and a hearty dollop of chowchow. Top each with a remaining bread slice, halve, and serve with the remaining sauce on the side.