Turkey Breast inquiry

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by heyer5, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. heyer5

    heyer5 Meat Mopper

    Alright guys & gals, my mother just ran by me that she might want me to smoke a turkey breast, enough to feed 8, on Christmas Eve.  I did the search function first and saw some great looking food but I didn't really see any that gave me a time frame on how long the smokes lasted.  Yes, I know, smoke to IT and not by time, which I understand.  The hard part is that I work until noon on Christmas Eve and supper would be served around 5:30 - 6:00.  This just doesn't seem feasible.

    I've never brined anything either, which I can easily understand how to do and have a couple food safe 5 gallon pales that could easily be used for this process.  I have my WSM plenty tuned in, probably have a few hundered smokes on the old girl, but never a turkey.

    Any input would be great

    How long to expect

    How many lbs I need to feed 8 people (pulled pork they say 1/4 pound a person, but that's for sandwhiches...)

    Not sure what I have left for Apple wood, but I think hickory or cherry would be a bit too potent for the light poultry, thoughts?

    Anyways, thanks guys & gals.  I'm really, really looking forward to responses.
  2. Smoking the breast alone goes pretty quick. As long as they are prepped before hand and all you have to do it get your smoker up to temp, I don't see any problem getting them done in time. I didn't brine the ones I have done.

    I would count on 1/2 lb per person just to be safe (and the leftover turkey is awesome)

    I would smoke using all 3 woods you listed. I did that combination a few years ago to some turkey breasts. I brought one in to try and we ate the whole thing in about 5 minutes it was so delicious. Mind you, my wife and I had just eaten lunch an hour earlier.

    Hope this helps,

    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  3. heyer5

    heyer5 Meat Mopper

    Thank you for the quick reply Ryan!  I have no problem using all three woods, actually, that sounds like quite the idea!

    I don't except it to be a terribly long smoke, but I don't want to have it get done late, have a 20 minute drive to where supper is, and then end up being late for church service after supper!
  4. little smokey

    little smokey Smoking Fanatic

    Yeah a whole turkey usually takes about three hours depending on weight so I totally agree with Ryan you should have no prob getting that done in time, if you are really worried do smaller breasts and just more of them.  The positive to more breasts is more skin, some people love the skin.  Make sure you put up some Qview for us on this smoke.
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    One 8 Lb Breast will feed that many but as others stated leftovers are great. I would do two breasts over 5 lbs at 325°F they will go about 15-20 minutes per pound. For low and slow, 250°F at about 30 minutes per pound but the skin will be rubbery and if you plan to eat it will require 15-20 minutes in a 425-450°F Oven to crisp. Smoke the breast to 165°F. Definitely Brine, recipe below, and allow for an overnight in the refer to dry a bit and form a pellicle...JJ

    Here is some additional reading...http://www.smoking-meat.com/october-2010-smoked-bone-in-turkey-breast
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  6. heyer5

    heyer5 Meat Mopper

    Thank you for the replies and the brine recipe!  I have yet to dunk anything in a brine, but I will be on this.  We picked up one 6.8 lb breast, which according to the time calculations you guys listed, will run roughly 3 hours.  I'll probably try to keep the smoker around 260-275, my usual range that my WSM just seems to love for some reason.

    I'll try to remember to take some pictures!
  7. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Heyer ,Hello and welcome to our World [​IMG]  .   The guys have got you pointed in the right way . The timing of 15 to 20min./lb. heat at 300*F and having been brined .

    You can add some Flavor by adding it to theBrine . . .i.e.-Garlic , Onion , a little heat if you want and forget about  the plastic thing in the Bird ; use a real thermometer , but don't remove it - the Breast will lose all it's juice [​IMG]

    Have a good day and as usual . . .
  8. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    As others have said, hot and fast will get you across the finish line in plenty of time with perfectly edible skin. I'd also do 2 or 3 as you'll be sad when the last of the leftovers are gone. I use stronger woods on bird because I do hot and fast and they need a little stronger wood to make up for less time in the smoke. For something different try Pop's brine, it's KILLER.

    I did 4 days for a 15lb (or maybe it was 18lb?Getting old, CRS) turkey and it worked out well. White meat isn't as susceptible to the "hammy" flavor as dark meat, so the breasts will just be more moist.

    for every 1 gallon of water, add:

    1/3 - 1 cup sea salt (depending if you're on a lo-salt diet)

    1 cup granulated sugar or Splenda®

    1 cup brown sugar or Splenda® brown sugar mix

    1 tbsp cure no. 1 pink salt

    The pink salt is the lynchpin to the whole thing. You can sub morton's Tenderquick, but it would be a MUCH higher amount and lead to a much saltier turkey, so I wouldn't.

    I also injected the curing brine, but with just breasts I don't think you'd have to. I also injected with Creole Butter right before cooking. If you haven't tried it, do. It's really good. I was afraid with the curing brine AND the Creole butter injection it'd be way too salty, but it wasn't at all. I used the lower amount of salt in the curing brine though.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  9. heyer5

    heyer5 Meat Mopper

    So, I've been given two different brine recipes.  One with curing salt, one without.  Which way to go is the question!
  10. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Entirely up to you. Both will be delicious. Maybe since it's your first go with turkey start off with JJ's brine and then experiment with curing later.
  11. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  12. heyer5

    heyer5 Meat Mopper

    Awesome, thanks for the input everyone!
  13. heyer5

    heyer5 Meat Mopper

    Do I need to boil the brine and let it cool before I put the turkey in it, or can I just mix the seasonings up and dump the turkey breast in?

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