Reverse Seared Chicken Breast [Recipe & Walkthrough]

This BBQ reverse seared chicken breast brings the best of two worlds together. The chicken is smoked low and slow for juicy, tender meat, before then finished with a high heat sear to give it that charred finish we all love!

reverse seared chicken breast 2

I love barbecue chicken.

And of all the different chicken cuts, my favorite by far has to be chicken breast.

Yes, chicken thighs are melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and chicken quarters offer tender flavors, but nothing is quite as satisfying as biting into a large cut of beautifully cooked chicken breast.

chicken breast with bbq grill sear marks

The challenge when smoking or grilling them is to achieve a grilled seared finish while still keeping the inside juicy and tender.

Enter the reverse sear method.

Reverse searing is normally associated with red meat, particularly beef. So you often see recipes for reverse seared tri-tip, or flank steak.

chicken resting on barbecue grill grates

It’s the perfect method for perfectly cooking the inside of your meat low and slow, before finishing it off on a searing high heat to give your meat the finish that we love when BBQ grilling.

It toes the perfect balance between the juicy flavors of BBQ smoking, while retaining everything we love about grilled meat.

Chicken breast dry rub

I’ve included a quick homemade dry rub for the chicken. I use it for almost all chicken that I put on the smoker, and this is no different.

The ingredients are:

  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp kosher/table salt
  • 2 tbsp black pepper

It’s a pretty straightforward recipe that includes my favorite BBQ flavors: Paprika, cayenne, onion.

If you’re nervous about spice, then you can easily use a little less cayenne and chili powder to give yourself something a bit more mellow.

If you’d prefer to use something store-bought then I recommend any of these:

reverse seared chicken breast
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4.70 from 33 votes

Reverse Seared Chicken Breast

This BBQ reverse seared chicken breast brings the best of two worlds together. The chicken is smoked low and slow for juicy, tender meat, before then finished with a high heat sear to give it that charred finish we all love!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, BBQ
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts boneless and skinless

BBQ Chicken Dry Rub

  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Rinse the chicken under a cold tap and pat dry with a paper towel
  • Combine all BBQ dry rub ingredients in a small bowl. Use a tablespoon to mix, and aim to break down any lumps that have formed.
  • Place chicken breasts on chopping board or counter surface. Liberally cover the chicken with the rub, making sure to cover the underside of the meat too.
  • Transfer the chicken to a ziploc bag (you might need to use two or more to fit all the chicken in). Place in the refrigerator and leave for an hour.
  • Set up your grill or smoker for 2-zone indirect cooking. Aim for a cooking temperature of 225°F.
  • Cook the chicken at 225°F, until the internal temperature has reached 150°F
  • Remove chicken from grill and cover.
  • Increase cooking temperature to high, and place the chicken back on the grill, directly over heat. Grill for one minute on each side.
  • Aim for internal temperature of 160°F
  • Remove from grill cover in foil. Leave to rest for ten minutes. Serve and enjoy.

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