For many people, the big turkey absolutely must be on the table in all of it's glory for Thanksgiving but if you really want to make it simple and tasty without the fuss, smoked boneless turkey breast is the best way to go.

They are easy to prepare, devilishly delicious, can be cooked in the smoker in under 4 hours, and are easy to slice into individual servings. It's a win-win for everyone!

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest
Feed

Barbecue's Greatest Secret.. My Original Rub Recipe!


recipe-ad-rub

These smoked boneless turkey breasts are simple and easy but the way to make them indescribably delicious is by using my rub to create that perfect crust on the outside.

Ask anyone who has used my original rub on any cut of turkey for Thanksgiving and they'll tell you that it just wouldn't be the same without it.

promise you’ll love my dry rub/seasoning recipes and my barbecue sauce recipe or you don’t pay!

Reasons to buy: Support the newsletter and the website | Own “the recipes” | Get the email newsletter 100% AD FREE from now on | Includes the Texas style rub recipe | Immediate download + email download

Order the Recipes for Jeff's Rub and Sauce

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Brine Time: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 240°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 165°F
  • Recommended Wood: Apple
What You’ll Need
About Brining

I almost always brine poultry and especially the cuts that contain mostly white meat like the turkey breast. Brining turns out birds that are a lot more awesome than they are without brining.

Brining in a nutshell is simply soaking meat, such as turkey, in a 6% salty solution for several hours. The salty solution is drawn deep into the meat fibers making it more flavorful and more moist. If you add flavors such as herbs, spices, juice, etc. to the brine, those flavors also end up inside the meat. It's easy to see how potentially beneficial and exciting this can be.

Below you will find the turkey brine recipe that I created for this Thanksgiving and I am using it on all of the turkey that I prepare this month.

Make the Brine

Get the brine made up a day or two early so it can cool down in the fridge before you need to use it. You can always add ice but that dilutes it some.

Ingredients:

  • 3 quarts of water (approx.)
  • 1 to 1.5 quarts of ice
  • A couple of 4-inch sprigs of thyme
  • A couple of 4-inch sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of course ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
  • 8-10 garlic cloves smashed with the side of a knife to release lots of flavor.
  • 1 cup of kosher salt

Directions:

Add 1 quart of the water, the rosemary and thyme, black pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic into a medium sized pot. Cover the pot and bring it just to boiling and then turn off the heat. Let the ingredients steep in the water for 20-30 minutes before removing the cover. Put the “tea” in the fridge to cool down. I recommend giving it several hours at least but overnight is best.

If you procrastinated, don't worry.. I have your back. Simply pour the hot brine through a sieve into a gallon sized pitcher. Add about a quart of ice and stir the ice and brine mixture to cool it down.

Add more ice if you need to to cool it on down.

Finally, to the pre-cooled brine mixture, add enough cold water to bring it up to a gallon.. you should have a total of 1 gallon of liquid in the pitcher.

Add 1 cup of kosher salt to this liquid and stir gently for a minute or two until the salt is completely dissolved.

This, my friends, is your brine.

Note: if you want to make a simple brine with nothing extra, add 1 cup of kosher salt to 1 gallon of cold water and stir until the salt is dissolved. This will also do wonders for the juiciness of the turkey.. it just won't add anything other than a little bit of saltiness to the meat.

Initial Prep

There's not a lot to do to these boneless wonders. Remove the outside packaging but leave them in the net they come in as this holds them in that football shape while they cook.

Brining the Turkey Breast(s)

Place the netted turkey breasts into a large zip top bag and pour brine over them to cover.

Seal the bag and place it down in a larger bowl in case of leakage.

img_1529-250x167

Brine the turkey in the fridge for about 4 hours.

When the brining is complete, rinse the turkey breasts under cold water and discard the brining liquid.

img_1530-250x167

Season the Turkey with Jeff's Original Rub

Once again, leave the nets in place around the turkey breasts.

Brush some cooking oil onto the turkey breasts and season liberally with Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here).

img_1532-250x167

Set Up Smoker

Setup your smoker for cooking at 225-240°F with indirect heat. Fill the water pan if your smoker has one.

Make sure you have enough wood for 3-4 hours of smoke. I used apple wood for these but any good smoking wood will work great.

Let the smoker preheat for about 30 minutes and you are good to go.

Smoke the Turkey

Place the turkey on a Weber grill pan or a Bradley rack for easy transport to and from the smoker. You can also use an ordinary cooling rack for this.

Set the pan or rack on the smoker grate and close the door to let the cooking commence.

You can expect these boneless turkey breasts to take about 3.5 to 4 hours but time is not an indicator of when the turkey is done.


Remember that the only way to know if your turkey is both safe to eat and not overcooked is with an accurate digital thermometer.


I monitored the temperature of my smoker and the turkey breasts with the new “Smoke” thermometer by Thermoworks and I have been so impressed with with this new smoking gadget!

The main part of the unit stays outside by the smoker..

img_1574-250x167

The receiver part of the unit goes around your neck, in your pocket or on the table next to where you are.

img_1569-250x167

This is the best product that's come out in a long time for us smokers.. range is about 300 feet, big, easy to read numbers, batteries last 1800 hours, it lights up, it's splash proof and it's super easy to set the high and low alarms.

The best part is that it comes paired together from the factory so when you turn it on, it's immediately ready to go.

Get your hands on one of these and you'll see what I mean.. it looks and feels extremely tough. Check it out!

Turkey is safely done at 165°F however, as we've discussed before, turkey tends to keep cooking for several minutes after you remove it from the heat.

I usually figure on about 3 degrees of carryover cooking on these and to be on the conservative side of safe, I  remove them from the heat at 162°F.

Finish and Serve

When the boneless turkey breast has reaches 162°F, remove it from the heat immediately and carry it into the house.

img_1570-250x167

Tent a loose piece of foil over it and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. During this time, it will rise to 165°F and the juices inside will redistribute throughout the turkey.

When the rest time is finished, remove the netting with scissors or a sharp knife. Be careful so you don't disturb the rub crust on the outside more than is necessary.

img_1575-250x167

Slice the boneless turkey breast into ½ inch pieces and serve.

Can you see how juicy that is?

img_1603-250x167

Get the Digital Recipes for Jeff's Rub and Sauce
**Instant Download!**

Limited Time Website Deal!

Save 20% on Jeff’s Rub Recipes and Sauce Recipe

Use coupon code THANKFUL during checkout


jeffs-rub-recipe jeffs-sauce-recipe

***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!

If I could give these recipes away, I would do that. I really want you to have them! But, then, this is how I support the newsletter, the website and all of the other stuff that we do here to promote the art of smoking meat.

Read these recent testimonies:

"Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well!" ~Peter S.
"I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while." ~Darwyn B.
"Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future!" ~Michelle M.

You see the raving testimonies and you wonder, "Can the recipes really be that good?"

No worries! Make up a batch and if it's not as good as you've heard.. simply ask for a refund. Now that's a bargain and you know it. Let's review:

  • You decide you don't like the recipes.. you don't pay!
  • The recipes are absolutely amazing!
  • Once you order, there'll be no more recipe ads in the email version of the newsletter

Well.. what are you waiting for.. click on the big orange button below to order the recipes now.

Limited Time Website Deal!

Save 20% on Jeff’s Rub Recipes and Sauce Recipe

Use coupon code THANKFUL during checkout


Order the Digital Recipes for Jeff's Rub and Sauce

I really, really appreciate the support from my newsletter friends and be sure to let me know if you have any questions about this.

Some Other Turkey/Thanksgiving Recipes

Maple Barbecue Turkey

smoked-maple-barbecue-turkey

The Famous Bacon Butter Turkey

smoked-bacon-butter-turkey

Lots of Butter Turkey

img_1688-1000x667

Cranberry Bacon ABT's (appetizer)

IMG_8565-1000x667

Rum Injected Double Smoked Ham

rum-injected-smoked-ham

Jeff's Smoking Meat Book

smoking-meat-book-cover-275x289The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that "no smoker should be without this book"!

With more than 800 reviews on Amazon.com and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended.

It is a Bestseller in Barbecueing & Grilling books on Amazon.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | German Edition

Digital versions available via Nook | iTunes | Kindle

Get Almost Anything at Amazon

If you enjoy the newsletter and would like to do something helpful, then..

The next time you decide to order something at Amazon.com, use THIS LINK to get there and we'll get a small commission off of what you purchase.

Thank you in advance for using our special link: http://www.smoking-meat.com/amazon

Printable Recipe

Print

Smoked Boneless Turkey Breast for Thanksgiving

4.3 from 3 reviews

For many people, the big bird absolutely must be on the table in all of it's glory for Thanksgiving but if you really want to make it simple and tasty without the fuss, smoked boneless turkey breast is the best way to go.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 mins
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Hot Smoking

Ingredients

  • Boneless turkey breasts (each one weighs about 3 lbs and feeds 5 to 6 people)
  • Turkey brine recipe (below)
  • Cooking oil
  • Jeff's original rub

Instructions

  1. Remove the turkey breast from the packaging but leave the net intact as this is what holds it's shape while it cooks.
  2. To a medium pot add 1 quart of water, 1 TBS of course ground black pepper, 1 TBS of red pepper flakes, 2 long sprigs of thyme, 2 long sprigs of rosemary and 8-10 garlic cloves smashed with the side of a knife.
  3. Bring to a boil then remove it from the heat and let it steep covered for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Place the mixture in the fridge for several hours to cool.
  5. To make the brine, add 3 quarts of cold water to a gallon sized pitcher and 1 cup of kosher salt.
  6. Stir the mixture until the salt is dissolved.
  7. Add the cooled mixture from the fridge into the brine and stir to combine.
  8. Place the turkey breasts into a brining container and pour the brine over the turkey to cover and then into the fridge for 4 hours.
  9. After brining is complete, rinse the turkey breasts under cold water.
  10. With the net still intact, brush on a little cooking oil and season the outside of the turkey breasts liberally with Jeff's original rub.
  11. Set the seasoned turkey onto Weber grill pans, Bradley racks or regular cooling racks and they are ready to go into the smoker
  12. Setup your smoker for cooking at 225-240 °F with indirect heat.
  13. When the smoker is preheated, place the pan with the turkey breasts into the smoker.
  14. Let the turkey cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 162°F.
  15. Remove the turkey from the smoker and let it rest under loose foil for about 10-15 minutes.
  16. Remove the net from the turkey breasts being careful to not disturb the crust more than necessary.
  17. Slice and serve.

 

About the Author

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!

8 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Ron Yates November 25, 2016 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    Hi Jeff,

    I followed your brine recipe, but reduced the salt by 25%. Brined the turkey breast for about 8 hours.

    Smoked for appropriate time, but the meat was WAY TOO SALTY. No one in my family finished their turkey. If I cut into the middle of the turkey breast it was good, but close to the outside way too salty. And I only used 3/4 the amount of salt you have on your brine recipe.

    Is my family the only one to experience this?

  2. Vince November 24, 2016 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    JP, followed the recipe to a T, got a thermometer where I can closely watch the internal temps… Rave results, everyone enjoyed. Biggest superlative was the tenderness. I took the meat off the smoker 3 hrs before meal time. I didn’t cut until an hour before cook time and it was still tender than anytime I’ve fried/baked traditionally. Will do again and it freed up my oven for the other dishes. THX AGN…

  3. Robert Grant November 23, 2016 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    Can in smoke a turkey Brest the day before it is needed?
    Any tips on temperatures?

  4. Steven November 19, 2016 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Just wondering, if the only breast I can get is injected with the solution like they do should I still brine it?

    • Jeff Phillips November 19, 2016 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      I highly recommend brining even pre-injected birds. The process you can do at home is far superior to what they do in the factory and there should be no worry of it being too salty as long as you follow the 6% solution I recommend.. 1 cup of kosher salt to 1 gallon of water.

      • Steven Kurdziel November 20, 2016 at 4:42 pm - Reply

        Another question. Gonna make some legs with this like your previous article. Can I just use this same brine for the legs?

      • Steven November 21, 2016 at 1:53 pm - Reply

        Thanks. I will be making Turkey legs with the breast using your other recipe. Was wondering if I could use the breast brine recipe for the legs so I don’t have to make two brines.

  5. John Lyons November 17, 2016 at 9:18 am - Reply

    Maple smoked turkey is definitely my favorite way to cook a bird. My first time in 2014 I smoked one bird and was criticized for running out. The next year I got (barely) two 14 pound birds into my BGE, and that is now my standard practice. I can cook two in the time to cook one, and my big family now expects two for Thanksgiving. Great recipe. Thanks.

Leave a Reply to Robert Grant

Click here to cancel reply.