If you want to make a Smoked Turkey Breast that is juicy and delicious, with a light smoky flavor your whole family will love, this is the smoked turkey breast recipe you’re looking for! My recipe is easy to make, and yields smoked turkey breast that is moist, tender, and full of flavor every time!
Don’t wait for Thanksgiving or Christmas to make this delicious, juicy turkey breast. It’s perfect for a dinner party, a family get-together, or a lazy weekend at home.
My easy recipe for smoked turkey breast is one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. It’s a delicious add-on to the feast or perfect Thanksgiving turkey for a small family dinner.
It’s easy to smoke a turkey breast, and it takes less time (and space) than smoking a whole bird. You’ll love the crispy golden brown skin on the outside and the succulent, moist turkey meat on the inside.
Ingredients for Smoked Turkey Breast
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make my Smoked Turkey Breast recipe. In Chef Speak, this is called the “Mise en Place,” which translates to “Everything in its Place.”
Not only does setting up your ingredients ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
Made with Simple Ingredients
I didn’t use a lot of seasonings for the dry rub, just black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder because most of the flavor in my smoked turkey breast recipe comes from the wet brine.
Feel free to add your favorite seasonings to the dry rub. Sweet paprika and poultry seasoning would make nice additions. For a touch of sweetness, add a little brown sugar, and for a touch of heat, add a little bit of cayenne pepper.
I used a boneless breast for my smoked turkey recipes, but you can also use a bone-in turkey breast (whole turkey breast), or a skinless turkey breast.
How to make Smoked Turkey Breast
Start by making a wet brine.
This simple brine is easy to make and easily adaptable to your taste preferences.
You can add your favorite fresh herbs and aromatics to the turkey brine ingredients for additional flavor. Bay leaves, sage, cut orange wedges, or lemon wedges would be good additions to the wet brine.
Table salt is not the same as Kosher salt. If you don’t have kosher salt, use one tablespoon of table salt (½ the amount of kosher salt).
*See the notes in the recipe card for a dry brine recipe you can use with my smoked turkey breast recipe.
I love the ThermoPro wireless meat thermometers. The easy to use app makes it easy to track the temperatures of the meats and seafood your cooking.
You get a great variety of wood chips with this starter pack. You get one bag of apple, cheery, mesquite, and hickory wood chips in each variety pack.
- Add the vegetable stock, kosher salt, black pepper, fresh rosemary, and fresh thyme to a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil (make sure all the kosher salt has dissolved). Remove the pan from the heat and let the brining mixture cool for 15 minutes.
- Add the ice to the mixture and pour into a container large enough to hold the turkey breasts (that will fit in your fridge).*You can use a large ziplock bag for this process.
- Add the boneless turkey breast to the brine, then add enough cold water to cover the roasts.
- Cover the container with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.
- Remove the turkey from the brine, making sure to get rid of any excess liquid.
- Pat the boneless turkey breast dry using paper towels.
- Season the entire breast with the dry seasoning mixture. You don’t need a lot of seasonings for the dry rub; the brine will give most of the flavor to the turkey.
- Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees. Let the roast come to room temperature while the smoker preheats. This will help them cook more evenly.
- When the smoker has reached 275 degrees F., add your favorite wood chips to the smoker tube. I used a combination of mesquite and cherry wood chips.
I use an electric smoker for smoking meats and seafood; it’s easy to use and takes all the work out of using a smoker.
If you don’t have an electric smoker, you can use a pellet smoker, charcoal grill, or gas grill to make my smoked turkey thighs. Place the turkey directly on the grill grate and use indirect heat to smoke the meat. Just make sure the grill temperature reads 275 Degrees; high heat is not your friend.
- Place turkey breasts directly on the smoker rack with a roasting pan underneath to catch all the drippings. Place a temperature probe in the thickest part of the breast.
- When the turkey breast reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees F. remove them from the smoker, place them in an aluminum tray or baking dish, and wrap the container with aluminum foil. At this point, the turkey has taken on as much smoke flavor as it can, and this step will help keep it moist as it finishes cooking.
- When the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165 degrees, remove it from the smoker.
*Remember we are cooking for an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Cook times will vary depending on the turkey size and the smoker type. White meat cooks faster and is not as forgiving as dark meat, so don’t let it cook any longer than necessary.
Let the smoked turkey breasts rest for 30 minutes before slicing to give the juice time to redistribute throughout the breast meat.
Store any leftover turkey in an airtight container for 4-5 days. To store in the freezer, double wrap with plastic wrap, then store in a ziplock bag in your freezer for up to 2 months.
Smoked Turkey Breast Cooking Tips:
Brine overnight: If time permits, brine the turkey overnight, but don’t brine any longer than 24 hours, or the meat will get mushy.
Don’t forget to thaw: Make sure the turkey breasts are completely thawed before you start the brining process.
Let the meat come to room temperature: It’s important to let the meat sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before cooking. It will help the meat to cook quicker and more evenly.
Use a digital thermometer: It’s important to keep watch on the internal temperature of the meat, and a wireless digital thermometer will make your life much easier. I like probe thermometers, and most have apps for your phone which makes monitoring the internal temperature much easier.
Let the meat rest after cooking: Letting the smoked turkey breast rest for at least 30 minutes will give the juice time to redistribute, giving you a tender and juicy turkey. Cutting them too soon will result in a puddle of juice on your plate and dry meat.
The time it takes to smoke a turkey breast depends on a few factors. The weight of the roast, the temperature of the smoker, and the type of smoker used.
For turkey, the best smoking temperature is 275 degrees F. Lower temperatures will take too long, causing the meat to get dry and tough.
At 275, it will take approximately 3 to 4 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion registers 165°F.
Yes, you definitely want to do some type of brine to help keep the meat moist. Brining also helps regulate the cooking temperature so it cooks more evenly during the smoking process. Not only will the brine help maintain the cooking temperature while smoking a good brine will also add additional flavors to the meat.
The roast should not be covered or wrapped with aluminum foil for most of the smoking process. It should be wrapped towards the end when the internal temperature reaches 145 – 150 degrees F. This will help keep the meat moist and tender.