After some thorough advice from fellow SMF'ers, I was able to pull together a successful first attempt at smoking a whole turkey breast/turkey roll for lunch meat sandwiches. The debate I was having was whether to brine or cure the turkey prior to smoking. I went the route of the brine as this has served me well for yardbird in the past and I wasn't looking for a ham-flavored meat. So on to the goods...!
I purchased a whole, bone-in turkey breast from BJ's and deboned prior to brining. Can't hurt to get a little knife work in when you can! I used a brine consisting of water, brown sugar, salt, fresh garlic, black pepper, thyme, and marjoram. After mixing and cooling, I brined the breasts for approximately 24 hours.
Resting comfortably in the ziplock spa!
Once brined, I rinsed with cold water and patted dry. I then rubbed with olive oil and applied my version of "Pigs Worst Nightmare" that I originally found here: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/a/rib-rub-recipes which then led me to here: http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5274. I modified it slightly by adding celery seed and italian seasoning that was ran through a spice grinder...however, instead of typical dried apple, I sliced mine thin on a mandolin, smoked for a few hours, and then dried and ran through a blender. I'm happy with it so far!
After applying the rub, I sprinkled about a tablespoon of plain gelatin on each cut side of the breast and tied the two together to form a roll. I didn't plan ahead very well or I would've found netting to use instead. Regardless, it simply took a little extra time to tie and form the roll. I applied more rub then let it rest for several hours prior to smoking.
All dressed up and looking for a place to go!
Fired up the MES using bourbon barrel chips. I was looking to get a hardy smoke since it was going to be a relatively quick cook time. Once the smoker stabilized, in went the meat. Using Jeff's guidelines, I held a constant temp. of approximately 240 degrees. After about 3.5 hours and hitting 161 degrees I pulled the meat and wrapped to allow it to hit 165 degrees.
Sweet and smoky!
After wrapping and cooling overnight, I was super anxious for that first cut to see the inside...
Perfect! I love the contrast of color between the white meat and the rub that is created by forming the two breasts into one roll. Overall, it was a good first run with a meat like this and will definitely do it again. Next time, I would like to use a heavy pepper rub. I chose this rub though because a pastrami was next up in the smoker, but that's for another post!