Smoked Turkey Breast

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This smoked turkey breast is great for entertaining because it feeds a crowd. Plus there’s not much to do except wait while the brine turns the bird luxurious and then wait again until the grill turns it irresistible.

Smoked Turkey Breast
photographer: Ken Burris
Nutritionist Tested & Approved
  • Total Time: 9 hours (including 6 hours brining time)

  • 12 cups (3 quarts) water, divided

  • 3/4 cup kosher salt

  • 1 medium shallot, roughly chopped

  • 1 medium clove garlic, smashed

  • Zest of 1 lemon, removed in large strips with a vegetable peeler

  • 10 thyme sprigs

  • 8 sage leaves

  • 4 bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries

  • 1 6-pound bone-in whole turkey breast, (see Shopping Tip)

  • 1 pound wood chips, (about 8 cups), such as apple or hickory wood

  1. Equipment: 1 pound wood chips for smoking, such as apple or hickory wood

  2. 12 servings, with leftovers

  3. Place 4 cups (1 quart) water, salt, shallot, garlic, lemon zest, thyme, sage, bay leaves and allspice berries in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

  4. Pour the brine into a large bowl or clean tub; add the remaining 8 cups (2 quarts) water. Set turkey in the brine and refrigerate for 6 hours.

  5. Two hours before preheating the grill, place wood chips in a large bowl of water to soak.

  6. About 20 minutes before you are ready to grill, preheat a gas grill with all burners lit to 300°F or build a fire in a charcoal grill and let it burn down to low heat (about 300°F).

  7. Drain the wood chips. If using a gas grill, fold a 12-by-20-inch piece of heavy-duty foil in half to create a 12-by-10-inch double-thick piece. Transfer the wet wood chips to the center of the foil and crimp up the edges to create a “basket.” (If you have a gas grill with a smoking box, place the chips directly into the box.) Set the foil basket on the grill rack directly over the heat source. If using a charcoal grill, you will add the chips directly to the coals as the turkey cooks.

  8. If using a gas grill, turn off one burner (leaving 1 to 2 burners lit, depending on your grill). If using a charcoal grill, move the coals to one side.

  9. Remove the turkey from the brine, pat dry and set on the unheated side of the grill rack. If using a charcoal grill, place one-third of the wood chips on the coals. Close the lid and roast undisturbed for 40 minutes.

  10. Rotate the turkey 180 degrees, add half the remaining wood chips to the coals if using a charcoal grill, cover and continue roasting for 40 minutes.

  11. Rotate the turkey 180 degrees one more time, add the remaining wood chips if using a charcoal grill, cover and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meat without touching bone registers 165°F, 40 minutes to 1 hour more. Transfer the turkey to a clean cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Nutritional Facts

Per 3-ounce serving (without skin)
Saturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Dietary Fiber
Added Sugars
4 lean meat
Carbohydrate Servings

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