Turkey isn’t just for holidays anymore! This smoked turkey breast can be enjoyed anytime of the year with it’s juicy meat and crispy seasoned skin, it’s perfect for any occasion.
Smoked Turkey Breast
While one may associate all things turkey with the holidays, we’re here to tell you that this smoked turkey breast can be done year round. Smoked turkey has long earned it’s place among the other BBQ and smoked staples. This recipe only solidifies that notion!
This juicy turkey breast right off the smoker infuses the element of smoke with seasoned butter right on the meat and a select blend of seasonings on the skin. The combination is a treat that will enhance any BBQ or outside event.
How to make Smoked Turkey Breast
Turkey Breast – Look for a turkey breast no smaller than 3 pounds. Turkey breast is done once it hits 165° so the longer it’s in the smoker the more time it will have to infuse that delicious smoke you want.
Butter – Softened and non salted butter will allow you to dictate your own taste for salt.
Onion Powder – Packing a subtle but powerful touch of flavor, be careful to not use too much, you don’t want it to be all you taste.
Dried herbs – a small amount of dried herbs mixed into the seasoning will give the turkey an earthy finish. Rosemary, sage, and thyme all compliment turkey very well.
Paprika – Ranging in flavors from mild and sweet to spicey, domestic paprika is typically mild and sweet with a vegetable like taste. This will add contribute to your rubs flavor profile.
Garlic – Fresh garlic cloves minced will bring that garlic punch you want while not overpowering the over all flavor.
Preparing the turkey breast:
Remove your turkey breasts from the packaging and drain all of the juices. Allow the breasts to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Resting the breasts well allow the seasonings to adhere to the breasts a bit more easily.
Smoking meat at 225° has a tendency to dry things out. To combat this, you want to make sure that you have an element on your recipe to add moisture to your meat of choice. With turkey, everyone loves a nice juicy buttery taste in their meat.
Combine half of all of your seasonings with the softened butter and pressed garlic and mix until smooth. While gently separating the skin from the meat with your hand, rub the meat of the bird with your seasoned butter. This may get messy, but it’s worth it, this I promise you. Be sure to cover as much as the meat as possible and lay the skin back down over the meat. While it won’t create a perfect seal, this will give you a nice pocket to allow the seasoned butter to be absorbed into the meat while smoking.
Prepare your smoker as needed and preheat it to maintain a temperature between 225° and 240°. Turkey pairs well with a variety of wood. Maple, hickory and cherry all do very well with smoked turkey. For our cook we used cherry wood.
Once you have prepared the meat of the turkey breast, it’s time to concentrate your efforts on the skin of the breast. There are few things that come out of a smoker that is better than nicely seasoned, crispy turkey breast skin.
Apply oil to the entire exterior of the breast then pat the seasoning onto the breasts. Be sure to pat the seasoning on rather than smearing it on. Smearing will wipe off the seasoning and create bare areas. It can also disturb the seasoned butter you applied below the skin earlier.
After having seasoned the entire breast, insert an internal meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. Be sure to avoid any bones when inserting the probe, bones can give you a misleading readout on your temperature.
If the turkey has a popper, leave it in. If you take out the popper, there will be a hole in your breast. This isn’t only aesthetically unpleasing but can create an uneven cook in that area of the breast. While you will be leaving in the popper, it is best practice to refer only to your probe thermometer as they are much more accurate.
With your smoker now maintaining a temperature between 225° and 240° and the prob thermometer inserted, place your turkey breast into the smoker. Smoked turkey breast take about 35 minutes per pound to cook up to the required internal temperature of 165°. Cook time will vary depending on your temperature and the size of the breasts so it’s a good idea to allow yourself ample time as you keep a watchful eye on your thermometer.
When the breasts reaches 165°, remove it from the smoker, place it on a clean cooking tray. Tent the entire breast with foil and allow it to rest for about 15 minutes. Don’t tent it too tightly but just enough to cover the breast and the cooking tray it’s placed on. Tenting the breast will allow the juices in the turkey to redistribute throughout the breast before you prepare to slice it.
Once your turkey has rested the 15 minutes, remove the foil and begin to slice it in quarter inch thick slices. Plate, serve and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
What wood should I use for smoked turkey?
Turkey is a very versatile meat. This means that it lends itself to a wide variety of wood flavors. We’ve found that the best matches are maple, hickory or cherry wood.
Should I brine the turkey before smoking?
Luckily, it isn’t necessary to brine a turkey before smoking. The process of cooking low and slow in the smoker actually draws moisture into your bird as opposed to drying it out or evaporating the moisture.
How long does it take to smoke a turkey?
While maintaining a temperature of 225° in your smoker, your turkey breast will take approximately 35 minutes per pound.
How to Serve
Smoked Turkey Breast is so versatile that you can pair it up with a wide variety of side dishes. Try some Watermelon Feta Salad or Grilled Corn Salad to add some color to your table. For hot sides you can always go with a companion turkey knows well, the sweet potato. Choose from a Smoked Sweet Potato Casserole and Smoked Sweet Potatoes to fill this need!
CLICK TO PIN THIS SMOKED TURKEY BREAST FOR LATER
Smoked Turley Breast
- 3 lbs Turkey Breast
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 2 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Rosemary
- 2 tsp Thyme
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 1 – 1.5 tbsp Salt to taste
- 1/2 – 1 tsp Pepper to taste
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 3 tbsp Oil
- Remove your turkey breasts from the packaging and drain all of the juices. Allow the breasts to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- Combine half of all of your seasonings with the softened butter and pressed garlic and mix until smooth.
- While gently separating the skin from the meat with your hand, rub the meat of the bird with your seasoned butter.
- Prepare your smoker as needed and preheat it to maintain a temperature between 225° and 240°. For our cook we used cherry wood.
- Apply oil to the entire exterior of the breast then pat the seasoning onto the breasts.
- Combine the rest of your seasonings.
- Pat, don't smear, the mixed seasoning on.
- Insert an internal meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. Be sure to avoid any bones.
- When the breasts reaches 165°, remove it from the smoker, place it on a clean cooking tray.
- Tent the entire breast with foil and allow it to rest for about 15 minutes.
- Once your turkey has rested the 15 minutes, remove the foil and begin to slice it in quarter inch thick slices. Plate, serve and enjoy!