smoking a turkey breast

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by tlhiv, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. tlhiv

    tlhiv Smoke Blower

    i have two 5lb pork shoulders (for pulled pork) and a 8lb frozen turkey breast (that is currently thawing in the refrigerator) that i plan to smoke saturday. the frozen turkey breast says on that package that it is the breast with portion of wing meat, neck, skin, and ribs and back. since i have never smoked a turkey breast before, i would appreciate some advise.

    i have read a little on here about how to smoke the turkey, and several have indicated that they inject the turkey with beer. however, my wife nor i are beer fans, and in fact i don't (yet) have an injector. i've also read that many have said to smoke at 275F, but this is a little high for my boston butts. i try to keep my smoke chamber temperature around 240-250F for my boston butts, and i was wondering if this is ok for the turkey. i want to make sure (obviously) that the turkey doesn't stay in the danger zone too long.

    as for preparing the turkey, would jeff's rub be too strong for it? my BIGGEST concern about smoking the turkey is making sure that it doesn't get dry. i have read that i need to let it get to 170F, and i plan to stop cooking at once it reaches that temperature. i was thinking of basting (spritzing) it with apple juice regularly as well as rotating and turning it each time i baste. i would appreciate any advise that you have.

    thanks in advance.
  2. grothe

    grothe Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    275 isn't too high for butts
    Jeff's rub would be fine
    Lay strips of bacon across the breasts to keep them moist and it adds a little flavor to them

    my 2 cents
  3. tlhiv

    tlhiv Smoke Blower

    good idea about the bacon. i'll plan on doing just that.
  4. elde

    elde Smoke Blower

    Brine that bad boy - and toss some dried garlic, dried onion, and some nice (fresh or dry) herbs into the brine. You vastly reduce the chance of it drying out and add some flavor at the same time.
  5. txbbqman

    txbbqman Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    +1 For what Gene said.....bacon is wonderful
  6. I inject mine. Just buy the injector marinade with the cheap plastic injector attached.
  7. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Here be some recipes fer ya, several folks on here swear by um.

    Slaughterhouse Poultry Brine By Tip Piper of Hillbilly Vittles
    1 ½ Gal Water
    ½ C Salt (picklin er kosher)
    ½ C Dark Brown Sugar
    2 tsp Garlic Powder
    2 tsp Onion Powder
    2 tsp Cajun Spice (Louisiana Cajun Seasoning)
    2 tsp Celery Seed

    Slaughterhouse Poultry Injection
    ½ Pkg Good Seasons Italian Dressing
    2 tsp Garlic Powder
    2 tsp Celery Seed
    2 TBS melted Butter (non salted)
    2 C Apple Cider

    Slaughterhouse Spritz (Good fer everthin!)
    8 oz Apple Cider
    6 oz Water
    4 oz Whiskey
    2 oz Cider Vinegar
    Ya don't have ta inject a breast, small enough ta not need it, I would brine it though.

    The spritz will give ya a decent skin at 250*, not like fried but decent, use it all the time an sell alotta birds. Spritz each hour. This spritz works fer anythin ya smoke, pork butt, ribs, birds ya name it. The spritz won't taste like whiskey either, but leave it out an it affects the outcome.
    gotarace likes this.
  8. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Gonna try the poultry brine on my next turkey, full or legs but probably legs.
    Thanks travcoman, sounds like a good one.
  9. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    BRINE that Turkey. You will love it. Use Travs recipe below or heres one I just did an hour ago. Actually I made the brine last nite and we just ate the bird for dinner.

    1 gal water
    1/2 cup kosher salt
    1 1/2 cups suger
    1/8 cup satarains liquid crab boil
    2 tbs black pepper
    1 tbs rosemary
    1/2 tbs thyme
    1/8 cup molasses
    1/8 cup white wine, not cooking
    1/8 cup worcestershire
    1/2 cup garlic
    1 medium onion quartered

    Use a container small enough so liquid will cover the bird.

    Take about 4 cups of water from the gallon of water the recipe calls for. Add the salt, sugar, black pepper, rosemary and thyme and bring to a boil. I feel this helps leach out the flavors of the spices better than adding them dry. When it reaches a boil, take off heat, add molasses and stir. Let sit for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, add turkey to the remaining water and add the other ingredients. Finally add the water/spice mix and let sit for at least 12 hours in the refrigerator. Smoke until an internal temp of 160-165 is reached.
  10. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    You will be fine at 250 for a turkey breast but the skin may taste like rubber. I would brine in Travcoman45's brine recipe as I'm one of those that swears by it. Jeff's rub would be good on it or you can just use the spices you like and not do a rub. Good luck and don't forget the Qview
  11. tlhiv

    tlhiv Smoke Blower

    thanks for all the help folks. i'll just plan on putting my butts as far away from my offset firebox as possible and put the turkey breast closer to the firebox so the temperature will be a bit higher. i will brine the breast to help with moisture. i must say, i'm excited about being able to say that i'm smoking breast and butt ;)
  12. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    1/8 cup satarains liquid crab boil?

    Don't think we have that that I have seen in Jersey, any substitutions?
    I'll see if I can find it and give the recipe a try but not sure if I will be able to.
  13. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What he said. Brine and they won't whine.
  14. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I spelled it wrong. Zatarains. You should have it, especially on the east coast. I cant think of any brand name ones, but should have some sore of equal in the store. Its a good recipe, try it when you can.
  15. Here's a link to their site so that you know what you're looking for.®...oil-p-596.html

    There are a few other brands of liquid crab & shrimp boil, but Zatarains is the most-widely distributed. Hopefully you can find some. I try to keep some on hand, but am out right now and haven't had any luck finding the liquid concentrate in AZ.

  16. tlhiv

    tlhiv Smoke Blower

    i ended up going with a brine consisting of water (of course) and bacon fat (from 1/2 lb of fried bacon), butter, and honey. who wouldn't want to take a bath in that???
  17. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    But wouldn't the bacon fat along with the butter just separate from the water anyway as your brine cooled? I know they would meld if you decided to heat the brine first but once you cooled it and place the chicken in your brine should be cooled.
    Have you tried doing a brine that way before or is this just an experiment?
    Let us know how well it worked, and pictures would be great!
  18. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Yes would like to take a bath in that. But as far as using it as a brine? I would think that the fats in the brine, being bacon fat and butter would separate and rise to the top, and as mentioned, solidify. I too am curious as to how it turns out. Keep us posted. If it works, I'll try it too:)
  19. tlhiv

    tlhiv Smoke Blower

    Here's some Q-View of the turkey smoke.

    This is the turkey in its butter/bacon fat/honey brine.

    Here she is being prepared for the smoker. She's stuffed with celery, carrots, onions, and apples. How can I cover that hole?

    How about covering it with bacon? [​IMG]

    Here's the finished bird about 15 minutes before carving. It was as good as I've ever eaten.
  20. Great job!!

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