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Smoking just a turkey breast, questions

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by voldaddy, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. voldaddy

    voldaddy Meat Mopper

    I'll be smoking 2 breasts only for Thanksgiving, and have a couple of questions.

    Should I brine them like I would a whole turkey? If so, since it's just the breast, should I reduce the brine time?

    I know to cook by temp, not time, but I need a "guesstimate" on time as I don't want them to be done 3 hours too early, or not ready in time.

    I have a MES and will smoke at 275 with hickory to about 165, then foil and rest for an hour or so.

    I won't have a chance to do a test run, so I want to try to plan this as best as possible.

  2. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The first thing (and I've got a turkey breast and a whole bird in now) I would do is brine just like usual over night and then rub it and then into the smoker at about 275-300 (I'm at about 288* now) and take them too about 165-170 in the thickest part of the breast and thats all take it out and let it rest. You could wrap it in foil if you want to and if you put a little liquid into the foil with the bird and then enjoy.[​IMG] If you want to you can lay some bacon over the bird 2-3 slices and that would help it not to dry out too.
  3. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yup, brine over night, then a rinse, good dry, an rub it. Add yer favorite rub an smoke.

    I would not rest any longer then 30 minutes, it really don't need ta. Now if ya wanna try somethin extra, mix up a 50-50 blend a melted non salt butter an honey. Brush that on right outa the smoker an then let it rest.

    The rule a thumb (an that depends on yer thumb!) is 1 ta 1 1/2 hours a pound, which I seldom find true. I'm goin with a WAG here an say 20-30 minutes a pound? I never do just a breast always a whole bird, so you guys what do the breast only might be able to give a better time extimate.
  4. tn_bbq

    tn_bbq Smoking Fanatic

    Brine them the same way you'd brine a whole bird. It's hard to over-brine them, so i wouldn't sweat it.

    Depending on your cooking temperature, you can smoke a turkey in just a couple hours. Most likely it'll take about 4 hours. If you get a little rushed you can crank the heat and if you do finish early, you can keep the meat hot in an insulated cooler.
  5. voldaddy

    voldaddy Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the info. I'll brine in Trav's mixture, as it seems to come highly rated.

    I'll look for a good poultry rub for the outside, and some butter under the skin. Maybe garlic butter or herbed butter? Any suggestions here? I don't want to overpower the turkey, merely enhance it in a subtle way.

    Of course, I'll have to let the family know how much work this was, how exhausting the prep and slaving over a hot smoker was. [​IMG]
  6. raceyb

    raceyb Smoking Fanatic

    Just unsalted butter and basil or some other aromatic herb. Just mix it right into the butter then start rubbing.
  7. clintconaway

    clintconaway Fire Starter

    I just smoked a 6lb this morning and I tell ya I used tips brine and for the rub I used some brown sugar,cellery seed, Garlic powder measure to flavor it worked out great
  8. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    good sugestions here.......sage, cellery, and onion are pretty classic flavors......i like cajun as well.
  9. sm5

    sm5 Newbie


    Just came across this forum. I was searching for this exact info. I have not smoked a turkey breast yet, new to smoking. So thanks to the original poster and for those who replied. Will be checking out the forum. :)

  10. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I agree with Rob - Cajun is killer on a TB - the honey butter idea sounds great too
  11. raceyb

    raceyb Smoking Fanatic

    Hi Steph! Welcome to the SMF! Have ya introduced yourself on the Rool Call forums yet? If you do, you'll get a proper welcome here. [​IMG]
  12. voldaddy

    voldaddy Meat Mopper

    Got 2 turkey breasts at Publix. I got the fresh ones, not frozen, for $2.59/lb. I also got a poultry bouquet of fresh herbs of rosemary, thyme, sage, and marjoram to chop and make herbed butter to rub under the skin. I bought 2 turkey bags to brine them in.

    On the brine, do I need to heat it up to thoroughly dissolve? If so, can I do it tonight and put it in the fridge until I use it tomorrow?

  13. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yup ya sure can.