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Cold smoke chicken breast


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Chicken is one of the few meats that I would NOT recommend cold smoking due to the risks. Yes, you will find some who do it but it is much more common to hot smoke chicken - and it is safer.

If you really want to try it then you will need to brine it first. Use the freshest chicken breasts you can get and rinse them thoroughly.

60 g of salt (cooking salt is fine)
40 g sugar
2 litres water
100 ml vinegar (any type)
5 g Cure #1 (added last after all of the other brine ingredients have been thoroughly mixed)

You can add some herbs if you like (rosemary, oregano etc.)

Soak the chicken in the brine overnight

Smoke in a cold "cold" smoker (above a tray of ice) for no longer than 2 hours

Keep refrigerated until ready to cook.


The same brine can be used for preparing hot smoked chicken too - just dont add the Cure #1.
Then hot smoke at ~120 C until the internal temperature reaches 75 C

If you do want to cold smoke chicken I would avoid serving it to young children or anyone who may have an impared immune system.

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Most BBQs can be used as hot smokers so long as they have a lid and good air control to the coals. If you have a kettle BBQ, bullet smoker or even a multi-burner gas BBQ you are good to go. A good digital BBQ thermometer really helps too.

Cure#1 contains Sodium Nitrite which is used when curing meats to inhibit bacterial growth. You may find this link useful...


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That was Sodium Chlorate. We used to buy it when I was young to make fireworks - weedkiller and sugar. Unfortunately it is now all sold with a fire suppressant in it. Potassium Nitrate though (aka saltpeter), as well as being a good fertiliser, is also one of the ingredients in gunpowder.

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2 minutes ago, Stevepiglet said:

Yeah we used to make smoke grenades by mixing it with sugar 😅

They smelled lovely! 

Could never get hold of potassium nitrate. 

Probably for the best. I do at least still have all my fingers 

Looking forward to sharing experiences with you at the next smoking weekend 🧪 💨💥:lurk:

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