Smoked Turkey Breast

This may be our favorite way to enjoy turkey

Don’t tell any traditionalists this, but this is even our favorite way to eat our Thanksgiving turkey

The meat stays moist, you get some smoke, but not to much and you can eat this as is, in a sandwich, a salad, I mean you can really play around here.  Which is what I enjoy in food

Lets talk about brining

Brining meats and poultry not only adds flavor, it adds much needed moisture.  Which you definitely want when smoking turkey over lower heat

Lets get the brining liquid cooking first

We have 4 cups of water, 1 cup of kosher salt, 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns


Lets place all this in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved, remove from heat and allow to cool completely

Now for the bird

We have about an 8 pound turkey breast here, that I placed in a large pot and covered with 2 gallons of water (or 32 cups)

Add in your completely cooled brining liquid


Cover this and let it brine for at least 24 hours

While that bird is getting some well earned rest we will talk about smoking  (food….which is okay)

I found Cowboy Coal to work well with my smoker.  This is natural wood coal that is already scorched, which is still better then the little preformed coal briquettes

To get the best flavor out of smoking you will need a quality bunch of wood chips, like apple, cherry, or as I am using, pecan

The smoking chips need to soak in water for at least an hour, so they impart smoke without just burning up

Here I have about 4 cups of pecan wood chips in enough water to coat them all


I have to get some Cowboy Coal going, I place a good amount in a starter loaded with newspaper and get the coals fired up

Once the coal is super hot I place it in my smoker (I used 2 loads of coal), along with a couple handfuls of the wet pecan wood chips

While this is heating up, lets talk turkey

Remove your breast from the brining liquid, which you will discard

Rinse the turkey under cold water thoroughly to remove any excess salt

Pat dry with a paper towel and rub the skin with some cooking oil

Coat with our Southwestern Dry Rub

Place your turkey at the highest section of your smoker (furthest from the heat source), we want low and slow cooking here

I cooked this for around 3 hours at around 250 F, until the internal temperature read 175 F


Once your temp has been achieved, remove the turkey and let rest for 20-30 minutes

If waiting longer, cover the breast completely in plastic wrap

Once the turkey is ready, start cutting 1 breast from 1 side away from the rib cage

Once the breast is removed, slice crosswise thinly

Then repeat on the other side

This can be served on its own, in a sandwich, etc.

I have to say it does go well with our Simply Sunday’s Barbecue Sauce!



Simply Sundays! ~ Smoked Turkey Breast

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print


For the brining liquid

2 gallons of water

4 cups of water

1 cup of kosher salt

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon of black pepper corns

8 pound turkey breast

For the dry rub

1/4 cup of oil (to rub on the turkey breast)

Southwestern Dry Rub


Place 4 cups of water, 1 cup of kosher salt, 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the salt and sugars have dissolved.  Remove from heat, uncover and allow to cool completely

Place your turkey breast in a large pot.  Add in 2 gallons of cold water, along with your completely cooled brining liquid.  Place in a refrigerator and brine at least 24 hours

Remove the turkey, discard the brining liquid.  Rinse the turkey thoroughly under cold water to remove any excess salt.  Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.  Rub the skin with some cooking oil, and coat with our Southwestern Dry Rub

Using a coal starter, get at least 2 loads of lump charcoal burning and into your smoker.  Add in your wood chips , whether apple, cherry or pecan (they need to have soaked in water for at least and hour before using)

Place your turkey in the highest section of your smoker (furthest from the heat source), we want low and slow cooking here.  Keep your smoker at 250 F and cook until a thermometer inserted deep into the breast, registers 175 F.  Remove the bird and let rest 20-30 minutes.  If allowing it to rest longer, cover the turkey completely in plastic wrap

Slice the whole breast away from the rib cage, then slice thinly crosswise.  Repeat on the other side

Tools used to make this recipe

Wilton Cyclone Whisk

Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 2-Quart Covered Saucepan

Simply Bamboo Cutting Board

© Simply Sundays 2016
All rights reserved

2 comments on “Smoked Turkey Breast

  1. Such AMAZING detail, from the brine to the wood chips and smoking! This looks delicious and I think I’m officially a fan of turkey. A few things I’d like to try here including your Southwestern Dry Rub. Seriously! :).

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