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Help with my first turkey breast

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by scvinegarpepper, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. I am going to be attempting my first turkey breast on the smoker this weekend. I'm doing a breast really because it's my first one and I don't want to spend the money on a whole turkey and I screw it up. Poor law student here trying to make ends meet. I'm trying to get all of my questions asked this week so I have all my ducks in a row before I get started this weekend. Thanks for any advice, this will be a continuing thread over the week. FYI, I will be using one of those standard upright Char-Broil H2O smokers, with the water pan (unless someone tells me I should not use the water pan).

    1.   Should I put the bird directly on the rack or keep it in a pan the whole time?
  2. Dutch

    Dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    SC VP-you asked:

    1.   Should I put the bird directly on the rack or keep it in a pan the whole time?   

    If you are wanting to save any of the drippings you can smoke the breast in a foil pan but you will have greater smoke penetration by placing your bird directly on the rack and then placing a foil pan on the rack below the bird.
  3. old school

    old school Fire Starter

    Your at the right place for help!  I've only smoked wild turkey breast w/o the skin so I can't be much help but many on here can.

     I brine over night, rinse, add bacon and yes I do use water but that's a whole different debate/topic.

    One thing I can add though is take pic's for a q-view!!! [​IMG]
  4. Thanks so much for the advice. I want as much smoke as possible, so I will put it directly on the rack. Two more questions...

    1.   I was planning on brining, so if I do brine, there is no need to inject, correct?

    2.   Also, I plan on using chunks instead of wood chips, for the first time. I am also going to use lump charcoal for the first time. Do I need to soak the chunks like I do the chips? I've heard conflicting theories.
  5. 1.  I would either brine, or inject.  You don't need to do both. 

    2. Chunks are a great choice.  Just set them around the perimiter of your fire so they just smoulder.  If you put them directly on the fire, they will just burst into flames and cause trouble for you.  I personally don't soak because I'm trying to get smoke, not steam. Good call on the lump.  It burns hotter and doesn't leave all that ash to smother your fire out.

    Good luck, I know your bird will be great.  Don't forget the pics.
  6. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would brine it, and since it is very lean drape some bacon pieces across it to help keep it basted and moist while it cooks. Don't bother soaking the wood, it really doesn't do anything, and I would suggest a mix of hickory and mesquite - more hickory than mesquite. Try to keep your smoke chamber temps low so you don't boil the moisture out of the meat, just toss the little bit of skin after it is all cooked. Makes awesome sandwiches!
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I would brine it just for giggles. Now don't let it stay in the brine for over a couple of hours for then meat will tend to get mushy if you leave it brining any longer then that. I would also put the bird right on the grate for the best smoke flavor. Now I would recommand soem fruit woods like apple, cherry, or even pear or peach is good too. So good luck and I'll have to check in for antmore questions that you may think up. Then don't worry or get scared it will be one great ti...e very soon.
  8. bhelton

    bhelton Smoke Blower


                     Never seen anyone say that brining the meat to long makes it mushy. I'm also planning to do Trukey legs and brests this weekend. I was going to brine overnight. Is that not a good idea?
  9. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can over brine stuff.... you have to try, but you can do it. A vauge rule of thumb is something like 1 hr. per lb. of meat., so if you have a 5 lb. brest you can do 5 hrs. or so. I have brined turkey breast overnight with no issues though.
  10. Thanks so much for all the advice. I picked up my fresh turkey breast today. Got one 6.7 lbs. I will be brining tomorrow. However, I also picked up some wings to marinate/inject and smoke also. I've smoked wings before, but never with a turkey also. Can I do them at the same time? Here's my problem: I won't be able to fit all the wings on the upper rack with the turkey on there also. I have another lower rack under that, but it sits pretty much directly on top of the water pan.

    1.   Can I still cook the wings on the lower rack directly over the water pan? Or will the direct steam cause a problem?

    2.   If I do cook the wings below, will the drippings from the turkey above affect my wings below in any way?

    3.   Finally, what sort of wood would you recommend for chicken wings and a turkey? Something lighter like apple, pecan, etc.? Thanks!!
  11. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Fruit woods are great for fowl. The turkey breast i did a few weeks ago i didn't brine .Just injected w/ a cajun butter injection and seasoned under and on top the skin the night before smoking. smoked over apple in the MES till 160 internal at various points .
  12. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I like to smoke small, boneless breasts for sammies and I smoke mine keeping the heat around 250F, I do wrap it in bacon, but I also rub a little maple syrup on it a few times. I brine mine a bit differently than most, I do the same with chicken breasts. I'm not familiar with the "mushy" overbrine on poultry, I have seen it (and done it) with beef before though. I brine, and then de-brine. Sounds odd, but works as I have done it many, many times. It's the only way I will cook chicken breasts (though I cook them at a much higher heat than the turkey breast)> Good luck!

    Just curious - are you in Charleston?
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  13. I am in Charleston. Living here and going to law school. But I've lived in S.C. my whole life either here, Columbia (college), or the Pee Dee (growing up).