How To Make The BEST Smoked Turkey Breast

smoked turkey breast sliced
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This smoked turkey breast is not only super delicious but also an easy way to try your hand at a smoked turkey recipe without tackling the whole bird. A turkey breast is perfect for a smaller crowd; leftovers make the best turkey sandwiches or soup.

smoked turkey breast sliced and pictured on a cutting board

Get a little practice before Thanksgiving and fine-tune your pitmaster skills with the easy-to-follow smoked turkey breast recipe. Then for the big day, you can try your hand at a whole smoked turkey.

Don’t forget to check out all of our Thanksgiving recipes so you can plan the perfect holiday dinner.

You’ll Love This Smoked Turkey Recipe

  • Fast. Well, it’s relatively fast compared to a whole turkey’s cooking time.
  • The dry brining method eliminates the need for a giant container for a liquid brine. And trust me when I say this method gives you a juicy and super flavorful turkey.
  • Great for smaller crowds. A turkey breast is an excellent choice for smaller crowds, and it’s easy to make on any weekend.
  • The BEST smoked turkey sandwiches. Think sourdough, turkey, cranberry sauce, and a little brie—leftover turkey heaven.

What You’ll Need

  • A dry rub or your favorite wet brine. I prefer a dry rub always, but if you have a wet brine recipe you love, feel free to use it with this recipe.
  • A turkey breast. Either bone-in or boneless. Turkey breast can be a little harder to find when it’s not the Thanksgiving season. But rest assured, many deli counters will stock them all year round. You can also check the freezer aisle.
  • A smoker. Use the smoker that you are most comfortable with. I like using a ceramic egg or an offset barrel smoker. A Traeger pellet grill is divine because it feeds the pellets and regulates the temperature once you set it.

Brine For Smoked Turkey

There are two methods for brining a turkey. One is a wet brine, and the other is a dry brine with a flavorful dry rub. My smoked turkey rub is to die for.

dry rub for turkey. spice blend in a mortar

What Kind Of Smoker

I haven’t decided yet if one smoker is better than another. I firmly believe that if you know how to use the equipment you have, you can make it work.

Currently, I’m using a Kamado Joe for smoking. It took a little trial and error. But, after a bit of practice, I’m approaching pitmaster status with it.

You can use an offset barrel smoker or even a Traeger pellet smoker. The concept is still the same. Cool smoke until it’s done.

Kamado Joe

Traeger

Offset Barrel

How To Cook Smoked Turkey Breast

Smoking a turkey breast might seem scary at first but let me take you through it step by step. Once you see how easy it is, you’ll have all the confidence you need to prepare your turkey, set up your smoker, and cook a juicy smoked turkey.

Prepare Your Turkey

Start by brining your turkey with a dry brine. You will want to start the brining process a day ahead of time. You can use a wet brine if you prefer; however, don’t wet brine your turkey longer than 12 hours, or the meat may get mushy.

  1. Prepare the dry rub for your turkey. You may have leftovers that you can store in an airtight container.
  2. Rub the turkey breast generously with the dry rub. If you use a boneless breast, you can tie the turkey breast up to ensure that it cooks more evenly.

Build a fire In Your Smoker

I like to use the double indirect method for smoking turkey breast. This involves setting the smoker up for indirect heat and then using a slow roll chimney for further deflect the heat during the smoke.

  1. Add lump charcoal to one-half of the smoker. Never use charcoal briquets in your smoker.
  2. Light the charcoal using a BBQ torch or a starter block.
  3. Allow the charcoal to catch fire, and then open the top and the bottom vents as wide as they will go.
  4. Close the lid of the Kamado grill and allow the dome to preheat as the fire comes to temperature. This step is crucial for maintaining a steady and consistent smoker temperature.
  5. Bring the heat of your smoker up to 225℉. [225 to 275℉ is an acceptable range for smoking.]
  6. Add a few chunks of fruit wood. I recommend apple, pecan, hickory, or alder wood for turkey.

Finish The Smoker Set Up

  1. Add the heat deflector from the slow roll chimney setup.
  2. Add the grate support and the grill grates.
  3. Set up a drip pan under the meat.

Cook Your Turkey Breast On the Smoker

  1. Smoke the turkey until the internal temperature reaches 150 to 155℉.
  2. Brush the turkey with melted butter and continue to smoke until the internal temperature is between 155 and 160℉.
  3. Remove the turkey from the grill, cover it with a foil tent and rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

Expert Tips For Smoking With The Kamado Joe

I learned a few super helpful tips that made cooking on this mysterious ceramic egg so much easier. I’m going to pass them on to you.

  1. The double indirect method. This method of cooking involves an indirect fire and a heat deflector.
  2. Preheating the dome. Heating the dome of the ceramic grill is important. You want the dome to feel very warm to the touch. You should still be able to touch it, but it should be noticeably warm.
  3. Trusting the pit thermometer. The Kamado Joe has a pit thermometer built in. Trust the temperature of the built-in thermometer.
  4. How to set up the airflow. A top vent in the chimney and a bottom vent controls airflow. While the grill is heating up, you want maximum airflow.
  5. When to change the airflow. when the smoke comes up to temperature (225-275℉), you’ll want to slow the airflow by closing the bottom vent to approximately one finger’s width and the top chimney to the first line.
  6. Using a probe thermometer to monitor the cook. A probe thermometer is essential. It’s the only way to assess your meat’s internal temperature accurately. I like to use a remote probe thermometer that can be monitored on my phone. It’s best not to open the grill when smoking.
slice the turkey with a shap knife

What Temperature To Smoke

There are a lot of diehard rules around what temperature is best for smoking. Ask 20 pitmasters, and you’ll get at least 15 answers.

The bottom line: 225 to 275℉ is an acceptable range for smoking.

A higher smoking temperature will develop bark quicker and can become tough if you don’t wrap it.

A lower temperature is fine for beef and pork but fails to crisp the skin on turkey and chicken. So you might have to raise the temperature at the end of the smoke to ensure that the skin is crisp.

My preferred range is 240-260℉ most of the time.

As you experiment with your smoker, you’ll find the right temperature that works with your smoker for the type of meat that you are cooking.

BBQ is a journey of love, and it’s a lot like art and wine. You like what you like. Once you know the basics, you can learn to adjust the smoke to get that perfect flavor and texture!!

smoked turkey breast sliced

How Long To Smoke

The time it takes to smoke a turkey breast depends on many factors. The size of the turkey breast. The heat of the fire. And even the temperature outside.

The most reliable way to test for doneness for outdoor cooking is a probe thermometer. (affiliate link)

Temp For Smoked Turkey Breast

Pull Temp 155 to 160℉. To achieve the perfect temperature, you should pull the turkey off the heat source when the internal temperature reaches 155 to 160℉.

Finished Temp = 165℉. The internal temperature for a fully cooked smoked turkey breast should be 165℉. Because turkey breast is lean, you don’t want to overcook it, or it may be dry.

Carry overcooking continues during the resting time. As the heat moves from the meat’s outside to the inside, the final temperature will rise to 5 to 10 degrees.

How Long To Smoke A Turkey Breast

How long to smoke a turkey breast will depend on its size, your smoker’s temperature, and outdoor conditions. This is why a probe thermometer like Thermoworks Grill Thermometer takes all the guesswork out of the cooking.

More Turkey Recipes To Try

Grab the essential turkey seasoning blend recipes, and let’s get cooking. Turkey recipes aren’t just for Thanksgiving.

What To Eat With Turkey

There are so many yummy side dish recipes that go with turkey. A few clear winners are roasted sweet potatoes, stuffing, and turkey gravy with mashed potatoes.

Leave A Review

Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment and a 5 ★ review. Your feedback helps other readers and helps me continue to offer recipes at no cost. Happy Cooking!!

smoked turkey breast sliced

Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe

This smoked turkey breast is not only super delicious, but it's also an easy way to try your hand at a smoked turkey recipe without tackling the whole bird. A turkey breast is perfect for a smaller crowd, and leftovers make the best turkey sandwiches or turkey soup.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Dry Brining Time 1 day
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 188 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 3 to 4 lbs turkey breast, boneless or bone-in
  • butter, for basting

Poultry Rub

Instructions
 

Prepare The Turkey Breast

  • Prepare the poultry rub by grinding the spices in a spice grinder and mixing them with the salt.
    3 ½ tablespoons kosher salt, 1 ½ teaspoon dried sage, 1 ½ teaspoon thyme, 1 ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 ½ teaspoon pink peppercorns, ¼ teaspoon juniper berries, ¼ teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • Prepare a baking sheet by placing a wire rack over the heavy sheet pan.
  • Generously rub the turkey breast with the poultry rub.
  • Tie the turkey breast with butcher string to keep the shape uniform during the smoking.
  • Dry brine in the fridge for 1 to 4 days.

Set Up Your Smoker

  • Start by setting up your smoker and heating it to 225℉. 225 to 275℉ is an acceptable range for smoking.
  • Add a few chunks of fruit wood. I recommend apple or alder wood for turkey.
  • Set up a drip pan under the meat.
  • Smoke the turkey until the internal temperature reaches 155℉. Brush the turkey with melted butter and continue to smoke until the internal temperature is between 160 and 165℉.
  • Remove the turkey from the grill, cover it with a foil tent and rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

Video

Laura’s Tips + Notes

Pull Temp 155 to 160℉. To achieve the perfect temperature, you should pull the turkey off the heat source when the internal temperature reaches 155 to 160℉.
Finished Temp = 165℉. The internal temperature for a fully cooked smoked turkey breast should be 165℉. Because turkey breast is lean, you don’t want to overcook it, or it may be dry.
Carry overcooking continues during the resting time. As the heat moves from the meat’s outside to the inside, the final temperature will rise to 5 to 10 degrees.

YOUR OWN NOTES

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Nutrition

Calories: 188kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 43gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 3131mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.01gCalcium: 11mgIron: 1mg
Keyword smoked turkey
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