Honey garlic BBQ smoked pulled chicken is a wonderful dish if you want to cook (and eat) al fresco. After being brined in a garlicky pickle mixture, the chicken is flavoured with a sweet mustard, chilli and garlic/onion rub and then smoked to perfection with a Traeger grill or pellet smoker. A honey garlic sauce finishes off this smoked shredded chicken beautifully.
As soon as you hear the words ‘smoked shredded chicken’ I bet your mouth will start to water. Nothing says summer like grilled or smoked recipes and this smoked pulled boneless chicken breast is what summer evenings are all about!
Honey Garlic BBQ Smoked Pulled Chicken Ingredients
There are a fair few ingredients you need to make smoked pulled boneless chicken breast. But trust me, it’s so worth it! Boneless skinless chicken breasts are the main ingredient of course. For the brine you will use pickle juice, salt and garlic.
The chicken rub for smoking is comprised of sugar, mustard, garlic, onion, chilli powder, salt, and pepper. You also need some chicken broth. And then you have the tasty honey garlic sauce for shredded chicken. For that you’ll use butter, chilli-garlic hot sauce, cornstarch, and a splash of water.
You might be wondering if you can alter the ingredients and yes you certainly can. For example, if you’re not a garlic aficionado, you can leave it out.
The same applies to the chilli powder if you don’t want the spice. And can you use chicken thighs instead of breast? Sure! Or even turkey.
How to Make Smoked Shredded Chicken
The first thing to do when making honey garlic BBQ smoked pulled chicken is to brine the chicken. Mix the pickle juice, salt and garlic and soak the chicken in that for an hour.
You can heat up the Traeger grill or pellet smoker. Now pour oil over the fresh garlic bulb and add salt, then put it in a small skillet. Mix the ingredients to make the chicken rub for smoking and, after patting the chicken dry from the brine, season it with the rub.
Put the prepared chicken on a baking sheet and put it in the Traeger grill or pellet smoker along with the prepared garlic. Remove the garlic after an hour, by which time it will be tender (and smell amazing!) You can squeeze the garlic cloves out of the skins and then mash them.
The next step in making honey garlic BBQ smoked pulled chicken is to melt the butter then add the mashed garlic, hot sauce and honey. Cook the sauce for shredded chicken, whisking often, for about five minutes.
Mix the cornstarch with some water then stir this into the sauce for shredded chicken to thicken it up.
Take the chicken out of the smoker when it’s been in there for 1½ hours and transfer it to a Dutch oven or heavy heatproof dish (don’t add a lid or cover it else the smoke flavour won’t get into it!)
Pour in the broth. Put this in the smoker along with the honey mixture and give it half an hour in there.
Now you can shred the chicken and toss it with the honey sauce. Smoke it for about 45 minutes more and then serve hot!
Smoked Shredded Chicken FAQs
There are various honey garlic BBQ smoked pulled chicken side dish options to choose from. This smoked shredded chicken would be delicious in a bun, perhaps paired with a scoop of coleslaw or a simple green salad.
Bean salad would also be really good with it, or you could try Texas caviar, which is a type of bean salad with corn. Another idea could be serving the smoked pulled boneless chicken breast in corn or flour tortillas if you don’t want bread, or even on top of mashed potatoes. Or with rice, or fries! Actually, pretty much anything goes!
If you’re new to brining, you’re probably curious what the point of it is. Well, brining means adding moisture and flavour (especially salt) into whichever meat you’re using.
The brining liquid in this honey garlic BBQ smoked pulled chicken is pickle juice and salt. Other recipes, such as brined turkey breast, use apple cider vinegar instead.
Honey Garlic BBQ Smoked Pulled Chicken Recipe
Honey Garlic BBQ Smoked Pulled Chicken
- 3 Pounds chicken breasts boneless skinless
- 2 Cups pickle juice
- ¼ Cup salt
- 3 Teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 Bulb garlic whole bulb
- 2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Cup chicken broth
Honey Garlic Sauce
- ½ Cup salted butter
- ½ Cup hot sauce chili garlic
- ½ Cup honey
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon water
- Place chicken in a casserole dish. In a small bowl, combine pickle juice, salt, and minced garlic. Pour over the chicken and brine for 1 hour.
- Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F.
- Peel away all the loose layers on the garlic. Cut the top ¼” off the bulb to expose the cloves inside. Pour olive oil over the cloves and season with salt. Place onto a small cast iron skillet and set aside until the chicken goes into the smoker.
- Combine all chicken rub seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and mix.
- Remove chicken from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Season both sides of the chicken generously with the rub.
- Place chicken breasts onto a baking sheet. Add the chicken and garlic to the smoker and close the lid.
- Remove the garlic from the smoker at the 1 hour mark.
- Gently squeeze the garlic out of the bulb and into a small bowl. Mash using a fork.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the roasted garlic, hot sauce, and honey. Whisk to combine and cook for 5 minutes.
- Combine cornstarch and water in a separate bowl. Whisk, then pour into the saucepan.
- Stir sauce and continue cooking for 5 minutes to thicken.
- Remove chicken from the smoker at the 90 minute mark. *keep the smoker on*
- Add chicken to a Dutch oven. Pour chicken broth inside and place back into the smoker. *Do not use the lid on the Dutch oven*. Place the honey garlic saucepan into the smoker. Smoke for 30 minutes. (This will keep the sauce warm and infuse it with more smokey flavor)
- Shred the chicken, then pour the honey garlic sauce inside and toss to coat. Place onto a baking sheet and return to the smoker. Smoke for 45 more minutes.
- Serve pulled chicken on a sandwich with coleslaw or on its own with veggies.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
You can’t help but love this honey garlic BBQ smoked pulled chicken. The components of the dish include a brining mixture, a chicken rub for smoking and a delicious sauce. So fire up the Traeger grill or pellet smoker and get ready for an incredible flavour experience from the smoked pulled boneless chicken breast.