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Smoked Turkey Breast

Smoked Turkey Breast is brined and grilled with hardwood smoke for a tender, juicy and flavorful main dish to serve for any holiday or family dinner. Great for small Thanksgiving dinner, Friendsgiving or Christmas gatherings.

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Smoked turkey breast is more than a holiday dish, we enjoy them all year long. They are great to grill over the weekend to have on hand for sandwiches all week long and much more budget friendly than deli meats.

 

Turkey breast on a platter, half sliced

Ingredients for Smoked Turkey Breast:

Turkey Brine:

  • Warm Water
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Lemon
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Peppercorns

For the Turkey:

  • Bone-In Turkey Breast
  • Butter
  • Green Chile Powder
  • Granulated Garlic
  • Ground Rosemary
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Dry Mustard
  • Green Chile Rub or Best Dry Rub

How to Brine Turkey:

step by step making salt water turkey brine with lemon, rosemary, peppercorns

  • In a large pan, add warm water and kosher salt. Mix with a whisk until salt has dissolved.
  • Squeeze lemon into salt solution and add lemon rinds, rosemary and peppercorns. Mix well.

brining a turkey breast

  • Place turkey breast into brine, cover and refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours.

draining a brined turkey breast in a colander

  • Remove turkey breast from brine into a colander and drain well. Discard brine.

Don’t skip the brining step. It’s the best way to cook flavorful turkey that is tender and juicy. 

How to Smoke Turkey Breast:

spatchcocking a turkey breast collage

  • Pat turkey dry with paper towels and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Spatchcock the turkey breast. Using poultry shears, cut down both sides of the backbone to remove it.
  • With a sharp knife, score the breast bone, but do not cut through the breast meat. 
  • Pull the sides of the turkey breast apart, turn over on the baking sheet, pressing hands down to flatten the turkey breast.

seasoned butter injecting into turkey breast

  • Mix melted butter and add green chile powder, granulated garlic, ground rosemary, smoked paprika and dry mustard.
  • Using an injector, inject butter mixture into turkey breast and under skin.
  • Sprinkle with dry rub all over.

spatchcocked turkey on a grill

  • Prepare a grill fire to about 325° using pecan or hickory for smoke flavor.
  • Place turkey over indirect fire and cook with the grill closed.

smoked turkey on a baking sheet - sitting on grill

  • Cook about 11/2 hours to 2 hours until internal temperature, near the bone reaches 165°.

smoked turkey breast on a cutting board

  • Remove from grill and rest 15 minutes before slicing.

  • Using a sharp knife, slice the breast meat away from the bone in two pieces.

slicing turkey

  • Slice thin as needed and serve immediately.

Variations & Cooking Methods:

This same method will work for a whole turkey and you can follow the cooking directions and times we use for our Cajun Smoked Turkey. Boneless turkey breast will also work but will cook quicker. We also use this same brine and grilling method for whole chicken or chicken breasts.

This recipe was cooked on our Big Green Egg ceramic grill with hardwood lump charcoal and pecan wood chunks for smoke flavor. A pellet grill, gas grill with wood chips, an electric smoker and even a conventional oven using a roasting pan will work for this turkey breast recipe. Cooking times may vary slightly but using a digital meat thermometer is key to knowing when your turkey is cooked through.

sliced turkey on a platter

How to Store and Freeze:

Smoked turkey will stay fresher if it is unsliced, wrapped in 2 layers of plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 4 days. Sliced turkey can be stored in an airtight container or vacuum sealed bag for 4 days in the refrigerator.

To freeze smoked turkey, wrap with 2 layers of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil or vacuum seal. Freeze up to 3 months.

Turkey breast is a great option if you family only likes the white meat. We will often cook a whole turkey and enjoy the breast meat for a Sunday dinner and use the leftover dark meat to make turkey salad.

sliced smoked turkey on a platter

This is the best smoked turkey recipe for juicy turkey breast. The turkey brine and cooking over indirect heat will help make this the best turkey you have ever cooked.

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smoked turkey breast, alf sliced
Yield: 14 servings

Smoked Turkey Breast

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Smoked Turkey Breast is brined and grilled with hardwood smoke for a tender, juicy and flavorful main dish to serve for any holiday or family dinner.

Ingredients

Turkey Brine:

  • 6 quarts warm water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 whole lemon, quartered
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns

For the Turkey:

Instructions

  1. In a large pan, add warm water and kosher salt. Mix with a whisk until salt has dissolved.
  2. Squeeze lemon into salt solution and add lemon rinds, rosemary and peppercorns. Mix well.
  3. Place turkey breast into brine, cover and refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours.
  4. Remove turkey breast from brine into a colander and drain well. Discard brine.
  5. Pat turkey dry with paper towels and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
  6. Using poultry shears, cut down both sides of the backbone to remove it.
  7. With a sharp knife, score the breast bone, but do not cut through the breast meat. 
  8. Pull the sides of the turkey breast apart, turn over on the baking sheet, pressing hands down to flatten the turkey breast.
  9. Mix melted butter and add green chile powder, granulated garlic, ground rosemary, smoked paprika and dry mustard.
  10. Using an injector, inject butter mixture into turkey breast and under skin.
  11. Sprinkle with dry rub all over.
  12. Prepare a grill fire to about 325° using pecan or hickory for smoke flavor.
  13. Place turkey over indirect fire and cook with the grill closed.
  14. Cook about 11/2 hours to 2 hours until internal temperature, near the bone reaches 165°.
  15. Remove from grill and rest 15 minutes before slicing.
  16. Using a sharp knife, slice the breast meat away from the bone in two pieces.
  17. Slice thin as needed and serve immediately.

Notes

Store leftover turkey wrapped in 2 layers of plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 4 days.

To freeze smoked turkey, wrap with 2 layers of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil or vacuum seal. Freeze up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

14

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 367Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 190mgSodium: 4586mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 69g

Nutritional information is estimated and may not be accurate.

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