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slathering smoked chicken breasts with bbq sauce

Smoked Sweet & Tangy BBQ Chicken

Rachel Riesgraf
Chicken breasts are perfectly seasoned with my go-to sweet BBQ dry rub then smoked until tender and flavorful. The chicken is then slathered with homemade sweet, spicy and tangy BBQ sauce and finished over direct flame until the BBQ sauce is caramelized and the chicken is nicely charred.
5 stars
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Dinner / Lunch
Servings 4 servings


  • 4-5 chicken breasts
  • olive oil

Sweet BBQ Rub

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon each black pepper, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper

Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup white distilled or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • ½ tablespoon worcestershire
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon each garlic powder and onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon each salt, chili powder and paprika
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)


  • Make the BBQ Sauce. In a small saucepan, combine all of the BBQ sauce ingredients and simmer over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, or until sauce thickens to desired consistency. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
  • Make the Dry Rub. While the bbq sauce simmers, mix together the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Season the chicken. Drizzle the chicken breasts with a little olive oil and rub it around on all sides. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with the dry rub. Let the chicken marinate while you prepare the grill.
  • Preheat the smoker. Preheat the grill to 225 degrees F.
  • Smoke over indirect heat. Place the chicken on the smoker and close the lid. Smoke for about 45-60 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145-150 degrees F. Using a thermometer is the best way to ensure you don't overcook and dry out the chicken.
  • Finish over direct heat. Generously baste both sides of the chicken with bbq sauce and finish cooking over direct heat. Sear on both sides until nicely charred and the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
  • Let rest. Remove the chicken to a plate and loosely cover with tinfoil. Rest for about 10 minutes before serving to let the carryover cooking increase the internal temperature to 165 degrees F.
  • Serve. Serve the chicken with more BBQ sauce for dipping.
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