Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe
Juicy and delicious, this smoked turkey breast is brined is a citrus based liquid and then covered in a savory rub and rosemary butter. The meat is succulent, incredibly moist, and full of flavor!
Servings: 6 people
- 4-5 lb Turkey Breast, either boneless or bone-in
For The Turkey Brine
- 12 cups cold water
- ½ cup salt
- ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 8 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 10 whole peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange
- 1 cup white wine, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay
- 2 cups ice
For The Flavored Butter
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons coarse ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt, kosher, sea, or Himalayan salt
In a large bowl, combine the water, salt, brown sugar, garlic, rosemary, peppercorns, bay leaves, lemon, orange, and white wine. Ensure you squeeze the juice from the lemon and orange into the bowl and then add in the rinds.
Add 2 cups of ice to the brine and then cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Preparing The Smoker
After the 24 hour brine process, remove the turkey from the liquid and place on a large dish. Discard the brine mixture.
Preheat the smoker until it reaches an internal temperature of 225°F. Use a mild flavored wood such as apple, cherry, or pecan. Fill a water pan with 8-10 cups of water and place it in the smoker.
Preparing The Turkey
While the smoker is heating, combine the garlic powder and onion powder in a small bowl and then set aside.
In a separate bowl, use a handheld mixer on low speed to mix the room temperature butter, salt, pepper, and finely chopped rosemary until well combined, about 20 seconds. Set aside.
Using paper towels, gently pat the turkey until dry. Using your hands, generously cover the meat with the dry rub.
Apply all of the rosemary compound butter to the turkey using a spatula or basting brush, ensuring you cover each crevice on all sides.
Once the smoker has preheated to 225°F, place the turkey directly on the smoker rack. If your turkey has a bone, ensure you place it bone side down.
To help keep as much smoke in as possible, insert a digital meat thermometer into the side of the breast at an angle, ensuring it does not touch the bone. Close the lid to the smoker.
Smoke for 3-4 hours until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165°F.
Remove the turkey from the smoker and put it on a plate. Cover with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.
- You can buy a turkey breast at your local grocery store. If you can't find one at your local grocer, check with a local butcher shop. They tend to freeze whole turkeys and thaw and cut them as needed throughout the year.
- For this recipe, I recommend using an all natural, unbrined turkey breast (not Butterball). Butterball turkeys contain a solution that help keep them moist and juicy, which defeats the purpose of my brine process and recipe.
- You can use either a fresh or frozen turkey breast with this recipe. If it's frozen, make sure it's fully thawed before you start the brine process. Always thaw a frozen turkey in the refrigerator and never at room temperature.
- Don't skip the brining process. Brining helps distribute moisture throughout the meat during the smoking process. It also regulates the cooking temperature so it cooks more evenly.
- Adding ice to the brine helps ensure the temperature of the meat can get to 40°F as fast as possible so there is no bacteria growth.
- Ensure there is a water pan in the smoker to help regulate the internal temperature. Doing this also provides moisture to the meat while smoking. Even if your smoker doesn't come with a water pan, you can place a disposable aluminum pan on the rack of any type of smoker.
- During the first 2 hours of the smoke, the internal temperature of the meat will start to increase at a consistent rate. This is normal. At hour 3, it will start to slow down considerably.
- Best practices teach against removing the temperature probe from the meat to check other areas because some of the juice will run from an extra pierce. While this is true, when you smoke meat the moisture level tends to be higher so you can afford one additional temperature check in a different part of the meat.
- Turkey breast smoking times will differ depending on size. It takes about 35-45 minutes per pound when smoked consistently at 225°F.
- Smoking multiple turkey breasts at the same time works well and should not change the overall smoke time.
Calories: 565kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 66g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 203mg | Sodium: 11037mg | Potassium: 878mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 585IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 2mg