Last Updated on January 6, 2022 by Carne Diem
Origin: Nose To Tail, American
Method: SmokerJump to Recipe
Smoked Turkey Breast
I don't know about you, but I love Thanksgiving. I hate the fact that it only comes once a year so I am constantly looking for ways to have a Thanksgiving dinner as frequently as possible.
Thankfully I have found a way to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner year round. Now you can enjoy your tryptophan-induced food coma whenever you desire with this quick and easy smoked turkey breast.
I know in our family the white meat was always the most sought after growing up, so this recipe uses all white meat turkey breast. We use a boneless breast so you don't even have to worry about deboning anything. The kids, however, will miss out on pulling apart the wishbone.
Making the Easy Thanksgiving Turkey Breast
The recipe works equally well with bone-in turkey breast, so if that is all you can find, or that is your preference, then go for it. If your turkey breast came with a gravy packet, remove it and use it if you would like, or make your own gravy.
Sometimes with thawing a boneless turkey breast they can become a bit misshapen. Simply reshape by making sure all of the turkey is in the twine netting. After the turkey cooks, it will maintain its shape, no worries. Next, apply a generous seasoning of your favorite BBQ rub for poultry. We often make our own, but this time we used some Plowboys Yardbird, which is always a hit.
Time to fire up the smoker
Preheat your smoker for 250 degrees. For the smoked turkey breast we like to cook over a milder flavored fruit wood such as apple or cherry. We used apple for this one. For this cook we are using our Gateway Drum Smoker, but use any smoker you choose. Gateway Smokers are one of our favorites for cooking between 250 and 350 degrees, where I want just a bit more smoke flavor. The meat dripping onto the hot coals, helps to season the meat even more. You can check out Gateway Smokers here:
The owners of Gateway Smokers are also responsible for the Blues Hog BBQ Sauce line, which is hugely popular on the competition BBQ circuit and for use at home, so pick up some sauce while you are at it.
Rotate the meat about every 90 minutes
To help ensure even cooking you will want to rotate the meat 90 degrees about every 90 minutes. We also highly recommend monitoring the meat with an in-meat thermometer. Our personal favorites are FireBoard products, but there are a lot of good products out there so just do your research before you purchase one. You can read more about the benefits of in-meat thermometers here:
When the meat reaches about 150 degrees, we like to add a few tabs of butter on top of the smoked turkey breast to help flavor and moisten the turkey as it finishes its smoke bath.
From grill on until grill off, the turkey breast takes about 1.5-2 hours, BUT ALWAYS GO BY MEAT TEMP NOT BY TIME! (I must admit my fat thumb accidentally hit caps lock but it is one of my BBQ pet peeves so I left it, because it can be the difference between average BBQ and great BBQ). Don't just assume the meat is done at 2 hours, check the temp.
When the center of the turkey has reached a temp of 160 degrees it is time to remove it from the smoker. We always double check the temp with an instant read thermometer. If you only own 1 tool for BBQ this is what you should own. If you know what your meat temp is, you can cook great BBQ on anything, anywhere.
Give the meat a rest to maintain juiciness
After removing the smoked turkey breast from the smoker, place it on a cutting board, cover with foil, and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes. It is always good practice to let all of your meat rest for a few minutes after cooking as it helps the meat retain its moisture, instead of spilling it all over the cutting board.
Time to carve and serve the smoked turkey breast
After letting the turkey rest, it is time to show off your carving skills and slice up the turkey. Remove the mesh and slice the turkey. If you went with the boneless turkey breast this is going to be the easiest turkey carving you have ever done.
Now it is time to eat!
This smoked turkey breast is so quick and hassle free, you will even have ample time to make up a couple of your favorite Thanksgiving sides. We love to serve it up alongside our White Castle stuffing, mashed potatoes, and lingonberries. You can check out the stuffing recipe here, it is also super quick and easy:
For an added bonus, there is also minimal cleanup afterwards, so you will be passed out in the recliner watching NFL reruns in no time. Have leftovers? Give our Louisville Hot Brown: Kentucky’s Turkey Sandwich a try.
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Smoked Turkey Breast
- Grill or Smoker
- 1 Boneless Turkey Breast
- About ½ cup of your favorite BBQ rub for poultry
- 3 Tab Salted Butter divided
- Remove your turkey breast from the packaging and be sure to remove the gravy packet, it it came with one. Make sure all of the turkey breast is within the mesh netting.
- Sprinkle liberally with your favorite BBQ rub for poultry. We typically make our own, but Yardbird by Plowbows is a great place to start for a store bought rub.
- Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees.
- Cook the turkey to an internal temp of 150 degrees, rotating the turkey 90 degrees every 30 minutes. This typically takes roughly 1.5 hours, but that is just an estimate.
- Top with the divided butter, and continue smoking until you reach your target temp of 160 degrees. This typically takes about 15-30 minutes.
- When you reach your target temp, remove the meat to a cutting board, and tent with foil. Let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing.
- After the rest, slice the turkey and serve with you favorite dressing and sides.