Smoked Chicken Salad | Grilling

Joshua Bousel

I like to fill my smoker as much as possible whenever running it—why waste good heat and space? Plus, I contend that the more meat in there, the better things seem to come out. So while I had a fire going to smoke a few duck breasts a couple of months ago, I decided to throw in a chicken and turn it into a smoked chicken salad that I could enjoy throughout the week.

To tell the truth, I'm not much of a chicken salad fan, but using fresh smoked chicken seemed like a way I could enjoy it. So I halved a whole chicken, sprinkled it with barbecue rub, and slow smoked it over applewood until the meat was just cooked through. After the chicken rested, I pulled meat from the bone, roughly chopped it, and mixed with with a combination of traditional chicken salad ingredients and some extras that would compliment the barbecue flavor, like smoked paprika, cider vinegar, hot sauce, and celery seeds.

My inclination was correct: I did enjoy this chicken salad much more than others I've had in the past. The smoked flavor on the chicken was somewhat strong coming out of the cooker, but the mayonnaise-based dressing tempered it. The celery and scallions added a nice freshness, while vinegar and lemon juice gave a contrasting tang that hinted at a white barbecue sauce. So no smoker space went to waste, and out of it I got a barbecue-influenced chicken salad that I think is a definite step up from the usual.