Turkey breast is a great way to start your Thanksgiving celebrations, especially if you aren’t hosting too many people. But trust me, when you smoke a turkey breast, it gets a charred flavor that is absolutely not worth missing on! So, let us discover how you can make a perfectly juicy smoked turkey breast!
Now many of you here may wonder why just smoke a turkey breast when Thanksgiving is usually about enjoying a whole turkey. Usually, a whole turkey is enough to feed a large crowd of people. But, if it happens that you aren’t hosting as many people, then a turkey breast truly is a much better option than a whole turkey.
Firstly, just a turkey breast will not take as much time as a whole turkey to cook. Moreover, one or two turkey breasts are enough to feed at least 2-4 people. Also, turkey breast is juicy and is the perfect thing to serve on special occasions like Thanksgiving, of course, with a lot of other sides to complement it!
Now, it may seem like a task to smoke a turkey breast. But it actually, honestly, is not! Yes, it is a time-consuming process, but most of the time goes into resting the turkey breast to make sure that all the spices get into it along with the injector juice. This is what will eventually give the turkey all its flavor and also a juicy finish.
So, in this article, you will find a complete guide on how to make this exceptionally juicy smoked turkey breast at home! Starting with the equipment you will need, followed by the ingredients, method, time, and also nutritional information, this article is one stop for all the information you need! So, let us discover this amazing recipe, after which you wouldn’t want to have your turkey in any other way!
Other Thanksgiving Recipes That You Can Try
- Leftover Turkey Hash
- Alton Brown’s Classic Brined And Roasted Turkey
- Salt Crusted Turkey
- Apple Cider Brined Turkey
- BBQ Turkey
- Turkey Sandwich
- Turkey Melt Sandwich
- Hot Turkey Sandwich
- Turkey And Cheese Sandwich
- Zesty Garden Turkey Club
What Equipment Will You Need To Make Smoked Turkey Breast?
- Bowl – Starting with the most basic equipment of them all, you will need three bowls to put this recipe together. One small one to melt your butter in and the other two for the turkey injection juice and spice rub, respectively.
- Baking Tray – You will need a large baking tray to keep the turkey on, followed by all the seasonings, and then finally, to store the turkey too.
- Plastic Wrap – Plastic wrap is important after you rub the turkey and inject it, as it will help keep all the juices and spice rub intact while the turkey is resting.
- Measuring Cups – Using a set of measuring cups is advised here. Yes, this isn’t baking, but precise measurements will give a perfect balance of ingredients to get a great flavor on the turkey breast.
- Measuring Spoons – For ingredients needed in smaller quantities, you will need a set of measuring spoons. However, as these ingredients are mostly flavorings for the spice rub, you can use regular teaspoons and tablespoons, too, if you don’t have measuring spoons.
- Whisk – You will need a whisk to make the injection marinade.
- Probe Thermometer – While making the smoked turkey breast, it is actually quite important to check the temperature every now and then, as a little bit of a difference can cause changes to the texture of the turkey. So, a probe thermometer will be needed.
- Tongs – You will need a large pair of tongs to take the turkey out of the smoker once it is ready.
- Smoker – Of course, it isn’t a smoked turkey breast without a smoker! So, you will need a large smoker to carry out the smoking process. I would recommend using a pellet smoker, as it works best.
- Smoker Pellets – Lastly, to get the smoker going, if you are using a pellet smoker, you will need pellets. I would recommend using applewood pellets as they don’t have a pungent smell. But, if you can’t find them, you can use any other type too.
How Much Time Will You Need To Make Smoked Turkey Breast?
|Preparation Time||Resting Time||Cooking Time||Total Time|
|30 Minutes||3 Hours||40 Minutes||4 Hours 10 Minutes|
What Ingredients Will You Need To Make Smoked Turkey Breast?
- Turkey Breast – The main ingredient in this recipe is turkey breast. One turkey breast that weighs anywhere between 1 ½ to 3 lbs will be enough for this recipe. A turkey breast with the bone in it is preferable. However, you can even use a boneless piece if you would like.
For The Injection Marinade :
- Butter – You will need ¼ cup of salted butter to make the injection marinade for a single turkey breast. The butter will help make the breast crisp like most fat does and will also give it an irresistible flavor.
- Oil – You will also need ¼ cup of oil as we will be using a combination of two fats to make the injection marinade. Vegetable oil is the best one to use as it does not have a pungent smell or flavor.
- Worcestershire Sauce – Worcestershire sauce will help give the turkey breast an umami flavor, so you will need three tablespoons of the same. If you don’t have any at home, you can use a substitute for the same.
- Water – You will need ¼ cup of regular, room-temperature water to make the injection marinade, which will give the breast some moisture.
- Lemon Juice – You will need ½ tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice to give the turkey breast a nice and slightly citric flavor. It will also help tenderize the meat. I would suggest using freshly squeezed juice, but in case you use bottled juice, just make sure it does not have any added sugar to it.
- Sage, Thyme, Garlic Salt, Onion Salt – Lastly, you will need half a teaspoon of each of these flavorings to add to the taste of the turkey breast.
For The Turkey Rub :
- Butter – To spread the rub evenly onto the turkey breast and also to give the breast a great flavor and char, you will need ¼ cups of room-temperature salted butter.
- Chili Powder And Paprika – It isn’t a spice rub without these two spices, for sure! The paprika will help add color and a subtle kick of spice, whereas the chili powder will help with that extra flavor. You will need one tablespoon of each.
- Onion Salt And Garlic Salt – Again, these are vital ingredients when it comes to spice rubs; you will need a tablespoon of each.
- Salt And Black Pepper – Lastly, to complete the spice rubs, you will need two simple but very vital seasonings, which are salt and pepper. One teaspoon of each will be enough for this recipe.
Steps To Make Smoked Turkey Breast
This recipe is actually very simple to make but requires some pre-preps, which are really vital. Firstly, once your turkey breast is completely thawed, pat it dry with a paper towel thoroughly and keep it aside.
Next, mix all the ingredients together for the injection marinade in a large bowl with a whisk and then fill the meat injector syringe with it. Start poking the turkey with the syringe and insert the marinade into the poked holes.
Here, make sure not to poke the same place over and over again. Also, once you have poked a hole, move the needle around there and add as much marinade as possible. Once you are done injecting the marinade, it’s time to apply the spice rub.
For that, take the room-temperature butter and rub it all over the turkey breast. Next, mix all the spices together for a rub in a small bowl and start rubbing them onto the turkey breast, making sure you also apply them under the skin.
Once you are done with this step, wrap the turkey up with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 2.5 to 3 hours. If you have a little extra time on your hands, you might as well refrigerate the turkey for 24 hours, as that will give the best result in terms of texture and flavor too.
2. Smoke The Turkey
Just around half an hour before you plan on smoking the turkey breast, preheat your smoker with the pellets to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. I would highly suggest using a probe thermometer here to check the temperature, as you wouldn’t want it to go too high or too low.
The maximum it can go to is 350 degrees Fahrenheit, but we will try to maintain a temperature of 225 – 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the smoker is at an optimum temperature, place the turkey breast in it with the breast side up.
Close the smoker and let the turkey be. Ideally, at a temperature of 225-250 degrees, a single turkey breast should take somewhere between 30-40 minutes. Do make sure you check the internal temperature of the turkey breast at the 25-minute mark with a probe thermometer.
Once the internal temperature of the turkey breast reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, your turkey breast is ready to be taken out of the smoker. Let it rest for 15 minutes once it is out of the smoker, after which you can carve the turkey breast and serve it with your favorite sides!
What Can Be Served With The Smoked Turkey Breast?
- Sweet Potato Rolls – Sweet potato rolls, with their subtly sweet flavor and a herby finish, go very well with a classic smoked turkey breast.
- Angel Biscuits – Angel biscuits are the perfect combination of a soft dinner roll and a crumbly biscuit, making them a great accompaniment to smoked turkey breast.
- Green Beans – Slow cooker green beans make a crunchy and subtle flavored side to serve with smoked turkey breast.
- Cornbread Stuffing – Everyone knows what a lovely combination of stuffing and turkey makes, so, of course, it has to be one of the recommended sides!
- Potato Salad – If you are looking for a starchy and creamy accompaniment to go with your smoked turkey breast, then potato salad makes a great option.
- Roasted Parsnips And Carrots – Smoked turkey breast is a healthy meal and in case you want to keep the meal healthy overall, then roasted parsnips and carrots make a wonderful side option.
- Cauliflower Gratin – The combination of cauliflower with a creamy base and baked cheese tastes exceptionally good with roasted turkey breast.
- Mac and Cheese – Lastly, if you want to go completely indulgent with your choice, some gooey mac and cheese is a great side option to serve along with your roasted turkey breast.
|Saturated Fat||3 grams|
|Vitamin A||616 micrograms|
|Vitamin C||1 milligram|
What Will The Smoked Turkey Breast Look And Taste Like?
Whenever any of us is trying a new recipe out, we all anticipate what the end result will be like. Of course, some of you may have smoked turkey or any sort of meat before. But, for those of you who are new to the whole concept of smoking meats, I am sure that you might be wondering what to expect in the end. Let’s see what that is!
When it comes to what the smoked turkey breast is supposed to look like, it will have a charred top surface. The surface should be golden brown or a maximum of dark brown. If the color is pitch black, that means the temperature of the smoker was too high.
Talking about the flavor, if your turkey is smoked correctly at the optimum temperature and also taken out at the right time, then it should be extremely juicy and not dry at all. The spice rub creates a char along with a strong flavor on the skin, and the injection marinade will help give the insides a delicious flavor and also make the turkey breast juicy.
Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe
- 3 lbs Turkey Breast
For The Injection Marinate
- 1/4 cup Butter
- 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/4 cup Water
- 1/2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Sage
- 1/2 teaspoon Thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Onion Salt
For The Turkey Spice Rub
- 1/4 cups Butter
- 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1 tablespoon Paprika
- 1 tablespoon Onion Salt
- 1 tablespoon Garlic Salt
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- Thaw the turkey completely and pat it dry with a paper towel.
- In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the injection marinade and fill the meat injector syringe with it.
- Poke the turkey breast with the syringe and move the needle around to insert as much of the marinade as possible. Do this all around the turkey breast.
- Once you are done injecting the turkey breast with the marinade, you can make the spice rub and apply it on the turkey breast.
- To make the spice rub, mix all the dry spices together in a bowl and keep it aside.
- Apply the room temperature butter all over the turkey breast and then apply the spice rub all over, even under the skin.
- Wrap the turkey up with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours.
- Half an hour before you plan to smoke the turkey, preheat the smoker with the pellets at 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once the smoker reaches optimum temperature, place the turkey breast in, with the skin side up.
- On the 25 minute mark, insert a probe and check the temperature. If it reaches a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, take it out of the smoker and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Carve the turkey and serve with your favorite sides!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it necessary to use a pellet smoker for this recipe?
Pellet smokers do work really well, in my opinion, but if you don’t have one, then you can use the one that you have.
Can extra spices be added to the spice rub?
Yes, the above-given spices are a general guide, but in case you like some other spices, too, you can go ahead and add them to the spice rub.
What sort of pellets work best for the smoker?
In my opinion, applewood pellets would work wonderfully well as they have a mild aroma.
Does the turkey really need to rest once the marination is done?
Yes, you will have to rest and refrigerate the turkey breast for at least 2 hours before you smoke it, or else the flavors of the marinade and the rub won’t seep into it.
How can you prevent the turkey breast from drying out while it is being smoked?
The best way to prevent the turkey breast from drying out while it is being smoked is to make sure you check the temperature of the smoker and that it doesn’t go too high.
Do you put the turkey directly on the rack inside the smoker?
Yes, you can place the turkey directly in the middle of the rack of the smoker.
Do you need to wrap the turkey breast in foil before you smoke it?
This process isn’t required if you are using a pellet smoker.
This smoked turkey breast recipe creates an irresistible turkey that is extremely juicy and flavorful. This turkey is the best thing ever to serve on Thanksgiving, especially if you are hosting only a small number of people.