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Questions Smoking Turkey Breast - 2nd time


Joined Apr 25, 2016
I'll be smoking a couple of turkey breasts in my MES 30 for Thanksgiving this year. I did one breast earlier this spring and it was pretty tasty but have a couple of questions.

I have 17 people coming, how many pounds should I consider purchasing?

I plan on smoking both breasts (hopefully) at the same time. Will this increase cook time?

The last time I did a turkey breast I left the skin on but when the turkey reached IT the skin was tough and chewy and had to be removed. Any idea why this would have happened? The meat was good.

I plan on smoking at 250 until an IT is 165. I'm not sure how many hours it will take (4?) as my smoker seems to take longer than others on this board.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Aug 13, 2015
Smoking more than one breast will increase your smoke time some. But it shouldn't be a whole lot.
It's hard to get decent crisp skin smoking at 250. I like smoking poultry at around 300-325
You could maybe coat the skin with olive oil which would help crisp the skin up.

I don't own a MES smoker so I have know idea how long it would take. I usually try and figure 20 mins a pound @300.

Depending on sides and how big the breasts are I would think 4 anyhow.

Hopefully someone with a MES will see this and can comment on cook times.


Meat Mopper
Joined Oct 16, 2016
Id have to agree with hardcookin, smoking at a higher temp will help get that crispy skin, 300+ on temp.

If you still want to go low and slow, an other option would be to put the turkey in the oven at 425*F for the last bit and it will crisp the skin as well.

You will want to pull it a bit early so that you don't over cook it in the oven, maybe around IT of 145-150°, then shoot for your final IT on the breast of 165° in the oven

I would think the cook time is close to the 4 hour mark with cooking only the breasts, I am sure others with more cooking experience will reply on a more accurate cook time

Good luck, I am sure it will taste great!
Last edited:


Joined Oct 14, 2016
I have a MES40 and I usually plan about 4-5 hours at 275 with a bone in breast. 3-4hrs with no bone.

As for crispy skin I let it sit on a rack(in a pan) uncovered in the fridge overnight to partially dry the skin. I also found that cooking at the higher temp helps crisp the skin better.

A very light coating of olive oil will also help. As DoneGotFat suggested you can pull early and finish in oven/broiler. Just keep an eye on IT. Once you go past 165 it will start to get dry.

As far as how much to cook. Well that kinda depends on the crowd. Me, I figure about a pound per person. But then again I love turkey sandwiches and hot turkey and gravy. Leftovers are not a problem here.

As long as you don't overcook it I'm sure it will come out great. Good luck and fair smoke.

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Group Lead
Joined May 12, 2011
Turkey breast has about a 60% yield and a Dinner portion is 8oz. So...

17 portions X 8oz each = 136 oz cooked / 16 = 8.5 Lbs / .6 yield = 14.25 Raw Turkey Breast needed. Buy extra, two 10 pounders to send leftovers home with guests. It Ain't Thanksgiving without a Turkey Sandwich at midnight!

The rest of the info above is accurate. Smoke to an IT of 145-150 and finish in a 425 oven or indirect Grill...JJ


Joined Dec 7, 2013
While the bird is in the refer drying the skin, try dusting breast with baking powder. (Very little). This seems to dry the skin better while creating very small craters for more surface area to cook and crisp up. I cook wings this way in the oven.

This year I will be doing this for the first time with a turkey breast.

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