Author Topic: Brined Smoked Turkey Breast  (Read 8806 times)

McSev2010

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Brined Smoked Turkey Breast
« on: September 18, 2013, 08:53:23 PM »
I noticed there's a lot of chicken on this thread, but not whole lot of turkey.  Since there's only 2 of us here, a whole turkey doesn't make sense but a turkey breast sure does.  It's one of the first meats I learned to smoked, and if you brine it, it comes out pretty much perfect every time.  Adding bacon to the turkey takes it to whole new level of awesomeness.  Make sure you get a bone in turkey breast - it's the only way to go, IMO.

First, you thaw your turkey breast (s) and then you brine.  (I bought plastic lidded buckets for just this purpose on Amazon.)  A simple brine solution is really 1 gallon water  with  1/2 cup table salt (or 1 cup of Kosher Salt).  I add handfuls of rosemary, garlic, thyme and even a cup of orange or lemon juice depending on whether the breast is already "pre-basted" or not.  If the breast is "prebasted" by the supplier, I will skip brining overnight and instead just shorten it to a couple hours.

Once I have taken the bird out of the brine, rinsed and dried it,  I'll coat it with mayo.  Yes, you read that right, mayo and not the "light" kind either.  Only Hellman's in this house. You can choose to coat it with your favorite rub, or as I like to do, take toothpicks and pin bacon strips across the breast.  (You're laughing, but I'm telling you, it rocks the bomb when you're done. )  I've used peppered bacon, Oscar Meyer bacon, any kind of bacon and it comes out fantastic no matter what bacon I use.  Yeah, everything is mo' betta with bacon!

I used a combo of apple and cherry woods  (even pecan works in this case) for turkey. Slip it in your smoker and smoke at 225F. You're looking at 3-5 hours, depending on the weight of your turkey breast.  Once it reaches 161-163F take it out of the smoker and wrap it foil and towels for hour - you can also place it in a small cooler, just as you would pork.  Don't skip this - it really makes a difference.  Slice and serve.








DivotMaker

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Re: Brined Smoked Turkey Breast
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2013, 09:04:44 PM »
Oooh, McSev - that sounds really good!  My only problem is a life-long aversion to mayo in any shape or form.  :o   What do you think might be a reasonable substitute that doesn't involve the "M" word?

You're bacon comment reminded me of something I saw recently...

"When we were young, we had Bob Hope, Johnny Cash, and Steve Jobs.  Now, we have no hope, no cash, and no jobs....  I pray every night nothing happens to Kevin Bacon!"
Tony from NW Arkansas
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McSev2010

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Re: Brined Smoked Turkey Breast
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2013, 09:09:13 PM »
Oooh, McSev - that sounds really good!  My only problem is a life-long aversion to mayo in any shape or form.  :o   What do you think might be a reasonable substitute that doesn't involve the "M" word?

You're bacon comment reminded me of something I saw recently...

"When we were young, we had Bob Hope, Johnny Cash, and Steve Jobs.  Now, we have no hope, no cash, and no jobs....  I pray every night nothing happens to Kevin Bacon!"

If you're not going to use mayo, use vegetable oil or a veggie based butter spread - it's thick enough it should stick pretty well :-)

And I too pray nothing happens to Kev...I mean, Bacon ;-)

DivotMaker

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Re: Brined Smoked Turkey Breast
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2013, 09:34:28 PM »
Thanks, McSev! I usually use butter or olive oil on birds, so I guess I'm ok!  Thanks for the thoughts on Kev! ;)
Tony from NW Arkansas
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Smokster

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Re: Brined Smoked Turkey Breast
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2013, 11:46:46 PM »
With thanksgiving not too far away, I will give this a shot.  When doing a whole turkey, do you put the probe in the breast meat and aim for a target of 161-163?  Will that suffice and cook the meat properly around the legs, etc. Also, do you finish in the oven to crisp the skin?
Tony from Toronto
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McSev2010

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Re: Brined Smoked Turkey Breast
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2013, 05:32:07 PM »
When doing a whole bird I have always put the thermometer in the thickest part of the breast, not touching bone.  Once the breast gets to 160F, I check the thickest part of the thigh (dark meat is better about 10F higher than the breast) to see if it's around 165F. If it is I then pull the bird and wrap in foil, big fluffy towels and cooler it. (As in, use an appropriately sized cooler for the bird you need to contain.)  I let it sit for an hour, sometimes a little more. If the thigh hasn't reached 165F, I will let the smoker run another 45 mins and check again.  I've never had to check more than once with a bird where I've done it this way.

One thing to note that when I smoke a full bird, I operate under the adage thou shalt not bind or truss fowl you're smoking.  I'd rather butterfly a big turkey and smoke that way so that it cooks more evenly.  I also do not stuff a bird (I know people who try to do this - shockingly)  I'm smoking. I'm also not married to crispy skin - I want moist, juicy smoked meat.  In my house, no one cares about that typical Thanksgiving presentation. :-) They just want some good bird.

Here's the thing - you must have a digital thermometer for this. Digital therms give a far better accurate temp than a regular analog thermometer.

Hope this helps!


DivotMaker

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Re: Brined Smoked Turkey Breast
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2013, 07:28:32 PM »
To get almost crispy wings or chicken skin in the smokin-it, air dry the chicken uncovered for a couple of days in the fridge. Sprinkle a little bit of corn starch on the skin. Add your rub. Put the cooking grate on the lowest setting . About as good as you are gonna get in this type of smoker.......

and if you can swing it....get the #3. It will hold full packers and big slabs of spares with no trimming....and still cheaper than the competitions smaller size offerings...........

Smokesaurus recommended this for crispier skin.  He's pretty much a legend on another bbq forum.  Check out his posts here if you get the chance - lots of knowledge!
Tony from NW Arkansas
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Smokster

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Re: Brined Smoked Turkey Breast
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2013, 05:15:59 PM »
McSev:  Thanks for the detail feedback.  This definitely gives me something to work with.  I haven't tried smoking a turkey yet, but I am looking forward to it in the near future.

DM:  Air drying makes sense as does the corn starch.  I'll give it a shot during my first attempt. Thanks.

Tony from Toronto
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es1025

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Re: Brined Smoked Turkey Breast
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2013, 09:27:44 AM »
Mcsev, how long did you brine the turkey breasts?

I have read 3-4 hours s/b enough.
Ed from Northern NJ
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swthorpe

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Re: Brined Smoked Turkey Breast
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2013, 07:23:55 PM »
I wish I could find a bone-in turkey breast, but everything I find in my parts is boneless.  I am smoking a 7.5# turkey breast this weekend, and will definitely give the bacon a shot!   I am curious along with es1025 about how long you brined...and es indicated that 1 cup of salt was too salty for his turkey breast, but I am assuming that your turkey breast was not?   Perhaps this is a function of the brining time?
Steve from Delaware
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Re: Brined Smoked Turkey Breast
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2013, 07:35:15 PM »
I bet the brine time is highly-dependent on whether or not there is any injection in the breast already.  I know, at least around here, it's hard to find turkeys (whole or breast) that are all-natural.  Most have the dreaded "solution added," which is going to add a lot of saltiness if you also brine.  I bet the 1 cup is ok for a turkey with NO additives.
Tony from NW Arkansas
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swthorpe

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Re: Brined Smoked Turkey Breast
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2013, 01:26:10 PM »
I posted that I cannot find bone-in turkey breast in my area.  Today, I unwrapped the turkey breast that I am smoking tomorrow, and to my wonderful surprise...it was bone in!   Joy!   So, it's in the brine now, will be rubbed tonight, and on the smoker tomorrow, bone and all!
Steve from Delaware
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es1025

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Re: Brined Smoked Turkey Breast
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2013, 03:41:13 PM »
Steve
I read no more than an hour per pound for brining. I am smoking a tb on Sunday. 4 hours in the brine and then some non salt seasonings. 1 oz of cherry wood. Temp between 225-240. A 6lb should hit 165 in 3.5 hours.
Ed from Northern NJ
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swthorpe

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Re: Brined Smoked Turkey Breast
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2013, 04:01:00 PM »
Sounds good!   So, my tb is 7lbs, but it will get about 5 hours of brining.  As I just posted on another topic, I don't know what the effect of the stuff that was injected in the breast by the mfr for moistness will do.   I am also using cherry wood for the smoke, 225F, and will be expecting 3 to 3.5 hours.
Steve from Delaware
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