It is time to learn how to smoke turkey breast on a pellet grill. You can use bone-in or boneless meat to prepare this succulent and juicy smoked turkey breast on a pellet grill.
The turkey is seasoned to perfection using a dry rub with or without a brine.
You can also make this spread with any pellet grill or smoker for weeknight dinners, holidays, or any event.
Smoked Turkey Breast
Undoubtedly, this recipe is the best-smoked turkey breast recipe you will ever have.
You can start with a delectable apple cider brine, season with a turkey rub, and complete it with a few hours in the smoker.
It is the combination of these three elements that will bring you a succulent, juicy turkey breast that is unmatched. Just try it yourself.
In addition, smoking a turkey breast imbues the turkey with an incredible smoky flavor.
You can rest assured that this turkey will taste completely amazing between the brine, seasoning, and smoke.
Plus, if you want a delectable holiday meal but are only cooking for a few people, then it is also an excellent option.
What Type of Turkey Should I Use: Bone-In vs. Boneless?
Keep in mind that the decision about bone-in vs. boneless turkey is purely based on your preference.
However, in general, bone-in meat normally comes with more flavor and is more succulent compared to boneless meat.
The bone permits the turkey to retain more moisture. Normally, bone-in breasts are a little more affordable (by pound) compared to boneless breasts.
Typically, a boneless breast is only one breast, and on the other hand, a bone-in turkey breast normally comes with both breasts intact.
However, places like Trader Joe’s sell bone-in breasts with just one breast if you are looking for something bone-in and small.
But remember that both types of breasts will need to be cooked until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
To Brine or Not to Brine?
There’s a good chance that it is already brined when you purchase your turkey breast.
And, it is probably injected with a salt solution if you are getting the turkey from a grocery store or a local wholesaler. This is done to add weight as well as act as a preservative.
This is no big deal, actually, but there won’t be a need to brine it again or even dry brine the night before.
That being said, if you are getting a turkey from a local butcher or a farm, then, of course, proceed to brine that bird.
How to Slice and Carve Turkey
Note that these tips for slicing and carving up a turkey breast will work well for any poultry that requires slicing. This is to say that this isn’t a skill you only need around the holidays.
Before you proceed to slice into the turkey, I strongly suggest that you always wait for 15 to 20 minutes.
This is because if you slice it up too soon, you are going to waste all of the juices that have been running wild inside the meat. This will dry out your turkey.
Ensure that you make your first cut right at the breast bone of the turkey, then proceed to find the breast bone and run your knife alongside. That way, you can swipe the meat away from the bone.
After that, you will have to follow the knife along the top and bottom to completely release it.
Then, pull the meat away from the carcass. That being done, slice the turkey into smaller pieces. I always slice against the grain of the meat.
Smoked Turkey Breast
Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours, 5 minutes
Resting Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people
To maximize the juiciness and flavor, this simple smoked turkey breast is brined, then gently hickory smoked and sliced.
- 4 Ib boneless turkey breast (tied)
- 8 cups of ice
- 4 cups of water
- ¼ cup of kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- First, you are to get a pot or saucepan and add the water, salt, rosemary, bay leaves, and black peppercorns to it. Then, bring it to a boil over high heat.
- After that, boil the brine for a minute until the salt dissolves, and then allow it to rest off the heat for 5 minutes.
- That being done, add the ice cubes, which should get the temp of the brine below 40 degrees F within a few minutes.
- Afterward, proceed to check that the brine is below 40 degrees, and then you are to add the turkey breast, which should be completely submerged. You are to brine in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, but ideally, it should be one day ahead of time.
- Now, when you are ready to cook, get rid of the brine and pat the outside of the turkey dry with paper towels. Allow the turkey to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes while you warm up the smoker to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. I suggest you go for either apple wood, cherry wood, or hickory for the pellets.
- When that is done, place the turkey breast on the grill grates of the smoker and insert the temp probe, if your smoker has one. Now, proceed to smoke the turkey for 3 hours until it reaches an internal temp of 160 degrees F. During resting, carryover cooking will bring the temp up another 3 degrees.
- Finally, you are to allow the meat to rest for a minimum of 15 minutes, then proceed to slice and serve.
More than often, I serve this turkey breast as the main course at a dinner place, along with a side of roasted sweet potatoes, roasted butternut squash, or roasted acorn squash.
You also have the option of pairing it with the sweeter sides, but you could also pair it with wild rice salad, white bean salad, carrot raisin salad, or Thanksgiving green beans.
You can use your leftover turkey breast in place of chicken for recipes like curry chicken salad, Waldorf chicken salad, Cobb salad, and cranberry chicken salad.
In addition, you have the option of slicing it thinly and putting it into sandwiches. You can also try it with the same ingredients as the chicken cordon bleu Panini sandwich.
How Do You Store Leftovers?
You can store your leftovers, if you have any, in an airtight container and place them in the fridge, which will allow them to last for 3 to 4 days, or you can just cover them tightly with aluminum foil.
Keep in mind that this is extremely important to keep the meat from drying out.
Can You Freeze Leftover Turkey Breasts?
To freeze, just place it in a tightly sealed container, which will make it last for up to 2 months. Then, allow it to defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating it when you are ready to eat it, given that the meat is extremely susceptible to drying out.
It is highly recommended that you use hickory pellets with turkey, but cherry wood and apple wood are also great choices.
The truth is that most manufacturers do make wood pellets or wood chips, and they will tell you which ones to use with poultry, which is just another good guide for making your selection. You even have the option of trying a blend.
And, I prefer a wet brine, but if a dry brine is what you want, then you can just add other spices there, such as onion powder, garlic powder, and so on. You can also try 1 tablespoon of sea salt for 24 hours.
That being said, this concludes this guide, as you now know how to perfectly smoke turkey breast on a pellet grill.