Smoked Turkey Breast!

Turkey is a beautiful holiday staple!

I’m sorry, but I seem to have neglected Good Food, Bad Food! as I’ve been very busy with work and the holidays. Life just happens! I’m looking forward to updating the blog with new content though moving forward. Stay tuned, make sure you follow, and share Good Food, Bad Food! with your friends!

Turkey! It goes great with the holidays for some reason! In my house, my wife Stacey lays all claim to preparing the turkey for Thanksgiving. I’m actually forbidden to touch the turkey; it’s Stacey’s territory and I know better than to try to step on that. Besides, she does a phenomenal job with the turkey!

One thing I do enjoy preparing around this time of year though is smoked turkey breast. Smoked turkey breast is pretty easy to prepare in decently large quantities to feed larger groups of people. Recently I smoked six turkey breasts to feed approximately sixty people, and it barely took any effort to prepare!

I have to admit that one of the things that makes the turkey so easy to prepare is cheating. I start with Butterball Boneless Frozen Turkey Breast Roasts. These things come soaked in brine, which seems to turn off most smoking purists that I know, but it saves time and keeps the meat juicy. One of these turkey breast roast typically feeds ten people once all carved up. Something to remember though; you will need to let them thaw in the refrigerator for a couple of days to be able to prepare it.

The day before smoking the turkey breast, the prep begins. Start by opening up the package over a sink to drain out the excess juices. Pull out the gravy pouch and set it aside (the gravy isn’t bad at all and I’ll typically chef it up by adding a little BBQ rub to it). Then pull out the turkey, contained in a butcher string mesh wrap, and set it on a tray (you may need to rearrange and shape the turkey in the mesh, and spin the ends of the mesh, to tighten it up). Next, pat it dry with some paper towels. Then you will be ready for a dry rub!

The dry rub can be pretty simple and still pack a great flavor punch. A simple salt and course black pepper rub is all you really need for flavor your turkey breast roast and it’ll provide a great keyed surface for smoke flavor to absorb in to. Or, you can use your favorite rub! Liberally rub the turkey breast and stick it in the ‘fridge overnight to absorb the flavor.

Twelve turkey breast roasts all prepped up!

The next day, prep your smoker for a three to four hour smoke. I use a kamado smoker so I load up with lump charcoal accented with a smoking wood or two. To provide the smoke flavor, I like to use Apple wood with poultry, and I might throw a couple of small pieces of Hickory wood in too for it’s stronger flavor. Ideally, you’ll want your smoker between 225°F and 250°F (error towards the lower end of that temperature range). Once you feel the smoker has stabilized on that temperature you’re happy with, place your turkey breast on the smoker.

The smoker is all ready to go!

I highly suggest using a temperature probe inserted into the center of the turkey breast for monitoring your cook progress. I use a CyberQ by BBQ Guru. It’s a wireless BBQ controller that let’s you control pit temperatures and wirelessly monitor your cook progress remotely via your smart phone or computer.

BBQ Guru CyberQ! Damn I love this thing!

Once your turkey is on, let it smoke until you see it has reached an internal temperature of 140°F. Once it’s reached 140°F, you will need to pull the turkey from the smoker and wrap it in foil with a half stick of butter. To wrap the turkey, I use a double layer of aluminum foil with a half stick of butter (sliced lengthwise) placed in the middle. Place the turkey breast top-side down on the half stick of butter, wrap in the foil, and return it to the smoker. Re-insert your temperature probe, and continue to cook your turkey breast until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

The turkey breast roasts on their way to 140°F!
The turkey wrapped with butter and returned to the smoker.

Once the turkey has hit an internal temperature of 165°F, it’s pretty much done! All one needs to do is slice it and serve! To do this, I pour off the juices from the foil into whatever I’ll be serving the turkey in. I then place a cutting board in a larger baking sheet pan (to catch all of the turkey juice), use kitchen shears to remove the butcher string mesh wrap, and slice the turkey breast with an electric knife. Place your turkey slices in your serving dish and pour the juices from your cutting board on top of the meat, and serve!

All sliced up…
…and ready to serve!
Very moist and juicy with lots of flavor!
It doesn’t last long!
Photo Credit: Danny Lawson

The take aways:

  • If you do this right, you’ll have a really nice, moist and juicy turkey breast!
  • You’ll feel like a hero when you see how fast people eat up your turkey!
  • Smoked foods are great!
  • It doesn’t have to be difficult to be good!