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Need Tips.. Looking to Smoke a Turkey Breast and/or Whole Chicken

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Not at the same time. I have a ECB.. Just did my first smoke.. My next one I want to do a whole chicken or a turkey breast. I really want to do a couple of turkey breasts at Thanksgiving.


So my questions are what's a good way to brine the chicken or turkey?

Do I need to rub either before smoking?

What temp should I smoke them at?

How long should they rest before I serve?


I've never cooked either before.. I've grilled chicken on a gas grill and on charcoal, but not a whole chicken.


Any and all help is appreciated.

post #2 of 14

I like to smoke my poultry at higher temps. I usually shoot for 325° or higher. For turkey I usually do bone on breasts and smoke them to an IT of 165°, then foil and rest for 30-45 min. Same for chicken for that matter. I really prefer to spatchcock my chickens. They cook better that way.


here's a few good reads for you:







post #3 of 14
post #4 of 14

Here are some Brine and Rub Recipes. A rest can be as short as 15-20 minutes on the counter or if you don't care if the skin is not crisp, you can wrap in foil and towels and rest in a cooler for about three hours and still have a hot bird...JJ


Juicy Smoke-tastic Chicken and Turkey


Here is a Brine and Rub that is a Favorite with members of my Family. I like Apple and/or Hickory with Chicken or Turkey. We determine doneness by measuring the Internal Temp (IT) in the thickest part of the Breast and Thigh, 165* and 175*F respectively. For a One Step Smoke with Crispy Skin the birds have to be smoked at a temp of 300-325°F. You can figure about 15 minutes per pound to reach the desired IT. Electric smokers usually only go to 275°F. With these you will be smoking at the most common temp range of 225-275°F. You can figure on about 25 minutes per pound cook time + or - 5 minutes depending what part of the range you choose. Usually the skin will not crisp so if the skin is not Crisp enough when the IT is 145*F in the Breast, put the Bird in a 425*F Oven to finish cooking to 165* and Crisp the Skin...JJ



Families Favorite Brine


1/2C Kosher Salt

2T Paprika

2T Gran. Garlic

2T Gran. Onion

2T Dry Thyme

2T Black Pepper

1C Vinegar (Any)

1-11/2Gal Cold Water to cover Chix


1/2C Brown Sugar, Optional

1T Red Pepper Flake Optional


Mix well and Soak the Bird over night or up to 24 Hours.

Remove the Chix, rinse if desired and pat dry with paper towels.

Place in an open container in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours for the Skin to dry.

This will give a crispier skin when Smokng or Roasting...


Bubba Chix Rub


1/2C Raw Sugar

2T Paprika (I use Smoked if I'm just Grilling)

1T Cayenne

1T Gran. Garlic

1T Gran. Onion

1tsp Black Pepper

1tsp Wht Pepper

1tsp Allspice

1tsp Bell's Poultry Seasoning or Thyme


Mix well. You can put directly on the skin or mix with Butter, Oil or Bacon Grease and rub on and under the Skin.

Reduce Cayenne to 1 teaspoon if less heat is desired. Add 1T Kosher Salt if the bird is not Brined.


Place a pan with some veggies under the Turkey to make some Gravy. Here's a recipe. 


Smokey Turkey Gravy


1- Lg Onion,

4-5 Carrots,

3-4 Ribs Celery

3-4 Peeled Cloves of Garlic

Toss them in a pan under the Turkey, and let the whole deal Smoke for one hour,

THEN add 4-6 Cups Chicken Broth,

1/2tsp Dry Thyme (4-5 sprigs Fresh)

1/2tsp Dry Sage (2 sprigs Fresh)

1-2 ea Bayleaf

Finish the Smoking process to the IT you want.

While the Turkey is resting, dump the pan juices, veggies and all into a 2-3Qt Sauce pot and bring the Jus to a boil, lower the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. Strain out the veggies and let the Jus rest a minute or so for the Fat to rise. Skim off the bulk of the fat then using strips of paper towel laid on top of the Jus then quickly removed, take off the last little bit of fat.Bring the Jus back to a simmer. Mix 2T Flour and 4T Chicken Broth for each Cup of defatted Jus. Whisk together to make a Slurry with no lumps, add a little additional Broth if needed. Whisk the Slurry into the simmering Jus, bring back to a simmer and cook 5-10 minutes to cook out the flour taste and fully thicken the Gravy. Adjust the seasoning with Salt and Pepper and serve.

The purpose of Smoking the Vegetable for 1 hour before adding the Broth and Herbs is...The Smoked vegetables Roast in the Dry heat concentrating their Flavors and Sweetness giving the finished Jus a Richer, Deeper, Full Flavor.

Serve the sliced Turkey with plenty of Gravy and Enjoy...JJ

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses.. Now here's a couple more:


Do I have to brine it?


What type of container do you brine in?

post #6 of 14

No you do not have to brine, but it gives the opportunity to add your choice of flavors and it does add moisture. Anything that will hold the bird and a Gallon of water will do...JJ

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

I forgot to take pictures.. But I smoked my first bird and used a white BBQ sauce someone posted as a dressing afterwards..


I ended up patting the bird dry and stuffing the cavity with lemon, lime, and orange.. I smoked it for about 2.5 hours and used apple wood.


Turned out moist and good. Matter of fact I smoked it Saturday afternoon after I deer hunted and we ate some last night and I made a sammich for today.


My next thing to tackle will be a turkey breast. After the chicken I feel confident. I want to smoke one before Thanksgiving so I know what to expect.


I appreciate all the advice.

post #8 of 14

You're set to go ... JJ and Case have you covered... 100% :drool

post #9 of 14

I'm about to smoke a rather large turkey breast and have been looking for a good brine/rub to use and JJ's looks pretty perfect.  Thanks for that!


My question is this:  I've heard that the skin absorbs most of the smoke and removing it can allow the meat to soak up more of it.  I'm really after more of a healthy snack to have on hand, not to have turkey dinner.  Do you guys ever cook with the skin off?  Any advice for temperatures -- is low n slow acceptable when you're not worried about crisping the skin?

post #10 of 14
I've done skinless turkey breast with great success. 225 for about 4 - 4 1/2 hours until the temp indicates done. Once with beer in the water tray, once with apple juice. In both cases a simple rub, and in both cases, ver good moist results I used apple and hickory.
post #11 of 14

Here is a great brine to use:



I usually just use the brine and since it is a simple basic brine you can add to it as you want to adjust the flavor profile. I have done things like using cranberry juice and orange slices in my brines, also different herbs and/or poultry seasoning. It really is a great way to add flavors.


As for the cooking I am a bit different than most. I love a super tender juice meat on my birds, the skin I don't care about as much, so I actually do all my chicken and turkey at 250°, and I cook it all the way to 180°. I leave the skin on for the cooking process, then toss it (or chop it up for the dogs). The meat comes out super moist and tender, darn near just falls off of the bone. Chickens usually take 3-4 hrs. and turkeys 6-8 hrs. using that method, but never had complaints yet!

post #12 of 14
I'm new here, I need a little help. I have a 3lb turkey breast roast. (Butterball) im going to smoke it in a masterbuilt electric smoker. What temperature and how long do it smoke it for. I saw on other forums that its only like 3 hours. I wasent sure that was long enough.
post #13 of 14
Originally Posted by Bobby Ds View Post

I'm new here, I need a little help. I have a 3lb turkey breast roast. (Butterball) im going to smoke it in a masterbuilt electric smoker. What temperature and how long do it smoke it for. I saw on other forums that its only like 3 hours. I wasent sure that was long enough.


It is all about internal temp, not time. If you are doing just a breast I would say a guestimate is going to be around 1.5-2.5 hrs. depending on how hot your smoker is running. Regardless you want to go by internal temp of the meat.


On a side note - breasts by themselves tend to dry out very easily. I would suggest draping some slices of bacon across it to help keep it moist..... and everything tastes better with BACON! :36:

post #14 of 14

Set that whole chicken in a brine for about 8 hours and it will be as tender as pulled pork.  

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