Smoked Chicken Salad Sandwiches
By: John McLemore
Folks in the South love chicken salad. There are so many different variations of chicken salad and you’d most likely find it on the menu at a baby or wedding shower! Well, once you taste this Smoked Chicken Salad you won’t want to wait for a birth or wedding to enjoy the goodness. You’ll want it 7 days a week (and twice on some days!).
3 bay leaves
3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons meat tenderizer
¾ cup pecans, very coarsely chopped
¼ cup butter, melted
1.4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 (5-ounce) bag dried cranberries
1 1/3 cups mayonnaise (approx.)
¼ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 soft hoagie buns
Red leaf lettuce
Preheat smoker to 225°F. Fill water tray with water and add bay leaves.
Pierce chicken breasts with a fork and sprinkle with meat tenderizer. Place chicken on middle rack of smoker and smoke for 45 minutes per pound or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Meanwhile, place pecans in a small disposable aluminum foil pan, pour melted butter over top and sprinkle with kosher salt. Stir well to coat pecans. Place plan on top rack of smoker during the last half of smoking time for the chicken. Smoke pecans for 30 minutes. Remove from smoker and drain on a paper towel. Remove chicken. Let cool, then chop.
Ina large bowl, combine chopped chicken, pecans, celery and dried cranberries. Add 1 1/3 cups mayonnaise. Season with Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. (Add additional salt and pepper to suit your taste, if necessary.) Lightly spread each side of the buns with mayonnaise, and place a large leaf of red lettuce on the bottom half. Place a generous amount of chicken salad on top of lettuce and enjoy