You haven’t truly enjoyed chicken salad until you try it smoked. Smoked chicken adds to much flavor to an amazing summer classic chicken salad recipe. This salad will come together in just a few minutes with a few simple ingredients and you can use it in sandwiches, salads, or with your favorite sides. You will want to smoke an extra chicken just to use it in this salad.
SMOKED CHICKEN SALAD
It might seem like a crazy idea to smoke a whole chicken and then use it in a chicken salad. But, after you take one bite of this incredible salad, you will understand why. I make an extra whole smoked chicken most of the time just to have one to eat with sides and the other to make chicken salad.
It’s a very simple recipe for a chicken salad without too many crazy ingredients. The star of the show here is the chicken because it has so much flavor and smoked notes. The chicken is where all the flavor is coming from, while other ingredients play a more minor role to taste and texture.
All you need is a little crunch from celery and onions, a mix of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard, and spice it up with black pepper, dried parsley, garlic powder, and onions powder. Note that I didn’t say “salt,” I highly recommend that you don’t add any more salt until you taste the finished chicken salad. Chicken already has a good amount of salt and so goes mayonnaise, so taste before adding more.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN SALAD
First things first, get your hands on a whole chicken to smoked it. If you can’t smoke a whole chicken, you can substitute other smoked chicken like drumsticks, leg quarters, chicken thighs, or chicken breast. You can use a mix of all those chicken cuts or just one.
To smoke the whole chicken: brine chicken first in a simple solution of salt, sugar, and lemon for about 4-8 hours. Pat chicken dry after brining. Stuff chicken cavity with half an onion, half a lemon, and 3-4 garlic cloves and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Rub the whole chicken generously with chicken rub and smoke at 225° for about 2 1/2 hours, until internal temperature reads 165°. Follow my complete instructions and full recipe.
To make the chicken salad: when chicken is cooled enough to handle, break it down, and take off all the meat. Discard bones, tendons, fat, and skin. Dice chicken meat into small pieces and add it to the mixing bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and mix it all together.
Transfer prepared chicken salad into a food storage container with an air-tight lid, close it, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before servings.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHICKEN SALAD
Chicken Salad Sandwich – this is one of the easiest way to use the salad. Choose your favorite bread, add a scoop of chicken salad, some lettuce, tomato, cheese, and whichever other toppings you like. I highly recommend that you use Brioche buns or a crescent rolls.
As a Wrap – wrap it in a soft flour tortilla with some lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a slice of cheese.
Chicken Salad Salad – add a scoop of chicken salad on the bed of lettuce, spinach, or kale and toss in some tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded cheese, and any other vegetables. Ranch dressing will go very nice with this salad but you can also use other creamy or vinaigrette dressings. (Try creamy apple vinaigrette, it’s very nice together.)
As an Appetizer – make a platter with your favorite crackers, flatbread triangles, and crostini bread slices.
In a Fruit Platter – grapes and apple slices is a perfect pairing for this chicken salad but feel free to also add some vegetables like cucumber slices, celery sticks, and carrot sticks.
With a Side Dish – if you’re in a pinch for dinner, serve a scoop of chicken salad with your favorite side dishes.
HOW TO STORE IT
Store all leftover chicken salad in the refrigerator, in a food storage container with an air-tight lid. Make sure to always use clean spoon or scoop to take some out of the container. Properly stored, chicken salad should last 3-5 days.
Can I Freeze Chicken Salad?
Yes, you can also freeze it but do it without mayonnaise and mustard. If you are planning to freeze chicken salad, combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss them together. Do not add mayonnaise or Dijon mustard. Transfer chicken mixture into a zip-top freezer bag and get as much air out of it as you can. Seal, label, and freeze for up to 3 months.
MORE CHICKEN RECIPES TO TRY
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Smoked Chicken Salad
- 3-4 lb whole smoked chicken (4-5 cups chopped cooked chicken meat)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup diced sweet onion
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
To Smoke Chicken:
- Basics of smoking a whole chicken: brine chicken first in a simple solution of salt, sugar, and lemon for about 4-8 hours. Dry chicken with paper towels after the brine. Stuff chicken cavity with half an onion, half a lemon, and 3-4 garlic cloves, and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Rub the whole chicken generously with chicken rub and smoke at 225° for about 2 1/2 hours, until internal temperature reads 165°. Follow my complete instructions and full recipe.
- Make sure chicken is cooled enough to handle first.
- Break it down and take off all the meat. Discard bones, tendons, fat, and skin.
- Dice chicken meat into small pieces and add it to the mixing bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and mix it all together.
- Transfer prepared chicken salad into a food storage container with an air-tight lid, close it, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before servings.