If you're a fan of smoky flavours, this smoked chicken salad will ruin you for all other chicken salad sandwiches. A bit of work, BIG payoff!
A few weeks back, we scheduled a big smoking day. Part of the drive was to actually photograph some of our favourite smoked foods, for future blog posts.
Really, though? We were both just really in the mood for a smoked chicken salad sandwich. *That* was the huge motivator for all of that planning, prep, and work!
Oh, was it EVER worth it!
It had been far too long since I’ve done up a batch of my smoked chicken salad recipe. Honestly, this sandwich is one of the best parts of having a smoker.
Using smoked meats - and Cold Smoked Mayonnaise - just brings so much flavour to an otherwise regular chicken salad.
I love how the crunch of the celery and onion - and the flavour of the parsley - brings some great texture contrasts and different flavors to an otherwise very basic chicken salad sandwich.
Sure, it would be a ton of work - smoking the mayonnaise and chicken separately - to just make this recipe from scratch, but once you’ve done up some smoked mayo, you’ve got it on hand for several weeks, at least.
So, next time you’re smoking anything, throw on some extra chicken, and try this recipe! It’s a great way to elevate some classic comfort food!
This is a simple recipe, with very simple ingredients... but a couple of those ingredients are the result of earlier work:
We use our Smoked Chicken Breasts, with or without dry rub.
Any barbecue rub on the chicken will influence the final flavour of the chicken salad, so just keep that in mind!
Anyway, that post has all kind of information on smoking chicken, either in a smoker or using a charcoal grill. This recipe can be made the same day - after the chicken cools - or the next day, even.
I usually prefer breast meat for chicken salad, but if you’ve smoked up a whole chicken - or some extra chicken thighs - feel free to use those for all or part of the ~ 4 cups of chicken.
We make Cold Smoked Mayonnaise in the cooler months, and enjoy using it to elevate all kinds of dishes.
The deviled eggs you get with using smoked mayo? *Chef’s kiss*.
Smoked Sea Salt
This recipe calls for Smoked Sea Salt as just an additional layer of smokiness, but it’s definitely optional. If you don’t have any smoked sea salt, feel free to use regular salt.
How to Make Smoked Chicken Salad
The full recipe follows at in the recipe card at the end of this post, here is a pictorial walk through with some additional tips and infoJump to Recipe
Chop your smoked - and cooled - chicken into small, bite sized pieces.
I usually aim for ½ inch pieces, you’re looking for about 4 cups of chicken, when you’re done.
Slice each rib of celery into 2-3 long strips, chop into small pieces. Chop red onion to desired size.
Add smoked mayo to the mixing bowl, stir to combine.
Note: You can use more or less mayo, to your tastes. This will also depend on how juicy/dry your chicken is
Taste the chicken salad before seasoning with smoked sea salt and black pepper. The amount of seasonings you’ll use will vary wildly based on how the chicken was seasoned before smoking.
This chicken salad should be good for 3-5 days from the day the chicken was smoked.
Always store chicken salad in a fridge, as foodborne pathogens are a risk when mayonnaise based salads are held at room temperature for too long
How to Serve Smoked Chicken Salad
As a sandwich: We love this on some grainy bread, with a little bit of lettuce. You can add a slice of tomato, some bacon, and/or cheese if you like, IMHO it really doesn’t need anything.
As a lettuce wrap: After I went keto, I’ve started serving my portion as a lettuce wrap, surrounded by a couple of big leaves. It’s a great low carb meal!
On crackers: If you cut your chicken a bit smaller, this makes a nice topping to spoon on crackers as a snack.
Piped into mini bell peppers: This makes a great low carb appetizer option!
Smoked Chicken Salad Variations
While we love this original recipe as is - as a classic chicken salad, allowing the smoke and basic flavours to take center stage - you can definitely customize it to your own tastes.
Add Some Fresh Fruit
Try adding a finely chopped Granny Smith apple or a cup or two of halved or quartered seedless red grapes is a great way to elevate any chicken salad.
The sweetness of the grapes provides a particularly nice contrast to the hefty smoke flavour in this salad, specifically.
Add Green Onions
Depending on my mood, sometimes I’ll swap all or some of the red onions for sliced up green onions. Both types go really nicely with smoked chicken.
Want to toss in 1 tablespoon or so of Dijon mustard? Go for it.
A dash of worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, or a spritz of lemon juice?
A bit of garlic powder, chili powder, some celery seeds, or even a sprinkle of the same dry rub you used when smoking the chicken (fresh stuff, not involved with preparing the chicken, please!)?
Awesome. It’s all good!
“Mail it in” for the Chicken
As much as I can say “It’s all about the chicken, the rest of the ingredients are where you can play with it”, you CAN swap out the chicken.
If you happen to have some smoked mayonnaise on hand, but NO smoked chicken... you can totally shred up a rotisserie chicken or bbq leftovers, and follow the rest of the recipe.
It won’t be anywhere near as smoky, but the mayonnaise will definitely elevate it.
More Smoker Recipes!
Looking for an excuse to smoke some food? I've got you...
Back Bacon [Canadian Bacon]
Cold Smoked Mayonnaise
Cold Smoked Potato Salad
Crispy Smoked Chicken Wings
Crunchy Smoked Bacon
Hot Smoked Salmon
Montreal Smoked Meat
Smoked Cheese Balls
Smoked Chicken Breast
Smoked Corn on the Cob
Smoked French Fries
Smoked Jalapeno Poppers
Smoked Mac and Cheese
Share the Love!
Before you chow down, be sure to take some pics of your handiwork for posting on social media! If you Instagram it, be sure to tag me - @CelebrationGenerationCA - or post it to My Facebook Page - so I can cheer you on!
Also, be sure to subscribe to my free monthly email newsletter, so you never miss out on any of my nonsense. Well, the published nonsense, anyway!
Finally, if you love this recipe, please consider leaving a star rating and/or a comment below!
Smoked Chicken Salad
- Chop your smoked - and cooled - chicken into small, bite sized pieces. I usually aim for ½" cubes, you’re looking for about 4 cups of chicken, when you’re done.
- Slice each rib of celery into 2-3 long strips, chop into small pieces. Chop red onion to desired size.
- In a large bowl, combine chicken, celery, red onion, and parsley.
- Add smoked mayo to the bowl, stir to combine.
- Taste the chicken salad before seasoning with smoked sea salt and black pepper. The amount of seasonings you’ll use will vary wildly based on how the chicken was seasoned before smoking.
- Cover smoked chicken salad with plastic wrap, or transfer to an airtight container. Chill for 30 minutes before serving, if possible.