This Pellet Grill Smoked Turkey Breast is inspired by my time in Texas touring some of the best BBQ restaurants in the country!
This perfectly smoked turkey breast is made with salt, garlic, whole peppercorns, and more.
Grab your pellet smoker, fresh ingredients, and follow along and in no time, you will have the best smoked turkey.
Did you know you can smoke more than just turkey? Check out some of my personal favorites like Pellet Grill Smoked Cheez Its,Sirloin Cap Smoked Beef Roast-Smoked Picanha, Smoked Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings with Spicy Sriracha Onion Rings, and Pellet Grill Smoked Cheese Board!
Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe
This Pellet Grill Smoked Turkey Breast recipe was inspired by my time in Texas, touring some of the best BBQ restaurants in the country.
I know what you are thinking; it’s Texas, shouldn’t we be talking about beef with Texas BBQ? But smoked turkey breast is a hidden gem that you absolutely must try.
This Pellet Grill-Smoked turkey breast recipe can be made at home and has all the same flavors that you’ll find from the best bbq joints in Texas.
Smoked Turkey Breast, The Hidden Gem of Texas BBQ
I know that nobody is waiting outside of Franklin Barbecue in Austin for smoked turkey breast, but I’m telling you you should!
Sure get a half-pound of the beef brisket and a giant Dino Beef Rib, but you don’t want to sleep on the smoked turkey breast.
The turkey is coated in coarse black pepper, kosher salt, and not much else. As the turkey smokes, the pepper forms a crust locking in the juices while a subtle smoke layer.
At first, when I saw the turkey it had the skin removed, I was disappointed, but once you taste the beautiful smoky pepper crust, you’ll forget all about the skin.
After a little more research, I learned that the skin is removed so the smoke can penetrate the meat better, plus the skin tends to be rubbery and bitter when smoked for that long.
Ingredients for Texas Style Smoked Turkey Breast
Turkey: For this smoked turkey breast recipe, you will need 6 lbs of skinless turkey breast raw and boneless.
Dry Rub: 3 Tbsp of Texas Dry Rub.
Mayo: 2 tbsp of mayonnaise.
How to Make Smoked Turkey Breast
Preheat the Smoker. Preheat Smoker to 225 Degrees F.
Remove skin and trim fat. Remove the skin and remove any excess fat from the turkey breast then place in an aluminum half pan.
Coat in may and season. Coat the entire turkey breast with a light coating of mayonnaise. Just enough to act as a binder then season aggressively with your texas dry rub seasoning on all sides.
Smoke the turkey. Place turkey breast in the foil pan on the pit and smoke for about 3 hours uncovered.
Cover and continue smoking. Cover the turkey breast with a sheet of aluminum foil then smoke for another 2 hours or until the turkey hits an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Rest. Once the turkey breast is fully cooked take the pan off the pit and vent a corner of the foil to release the steam (about 5-10 minutes). Cover back up with foil and store in a cambro or dry cooler for 1 hour to rest.
Slice and serve. Slice the turkey breast into ¼ inch slices and serve.
To Brine or Not To Brine?
When you purchase your turkey breast, there’s a good chance it’s already been brined.
If you are getting the turkey from a grocery store or a local wholesaler, it’s probably been injected with a salt solution to add weight as well as act as a preservative.
No big deal, but there’s no need to brine it again or even dry brine the night before. Now, if you are getting a turkey from a farm or a local butcher, then, by all means, brine that bird.
Here is a simple brine you can put together the night before, or just dry brine the turkey breast to make it simple.
Turkey Brine Recipe
Turkey Brine Ingredients:
- ¼ cup Kosher Salt
- ¼ cup Sugar
- ½ Onion, Chopped
- 2 Carrots Chopped
- 3 Ribs Celery, Chopped
- 4 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Tbsp Whole Peppercorns
- 1 Gallon Water
How to Brine a Turkey:
- Combine all ingredients to a pot and bring to a simmer stirring occasionally until salt and sugar have dissolved.
- Add about 2-3 lbs of Ice cubes and remove from heat. Once Brine is Ice cold add the turkey breast to the brine and store in the fridge or a cooler overnight.
- Next day remove the turkey from the Brin and pat dry before seasoning.
Tips for Smoked Turkey Breast
- No, The Turkey isn’t RAW. The turkey much like brisket or ribs will form a light pink smoke ring. Its a chemical reaction that takes place when meat is smoked. To learn more checkout this article from Texas Monthly on “The Science of the Smoke Ring”
- Even though Ive oven you time instructions this are just estimated based on my smoker and the size turkey breast that I smoked. Always cook to Temperature not Time. Always use an Instant Read Thermometer
- You can Freeze the turkey for up to 6 months. Wrap extremely tight with plastic wrap or better yet vacuum seal the turkey. Leave the part you want to freeze unsliced if possible.
- Traditionally Texas turkey breast is sliced into ¼ inch slices just like beef brisket. If you want thinner deli slices chill the turkey breast completely and use a meat slicer for best results.
- I prefer using Aluminum foil half pans because they hold the juices and keep your pit clean but its not required.
- If you don’t have a smoker you can use my gas grill smoker method that I use to cook pork ribs
Helpful Kitchen Equipment
Meat Thermometer. Forget cutting your boneless turkey breast to check for doneness, just grab a meat thermometer.
Wood Chips. If you are using a pellet grill (like a Traeger pellet grill) the best way to make smoked turkey is to use your favorite wood chunks or blend of wood chips for the best smoke flavor.
Smoker. Whether you are using a pellet smoker or an electric smoker, pull it out and get it ready for cooking! Don’t have a smoker? Consider a charcoal grill or gas grill.
Paper Towels. You are bound to make a bit of a mess. I recommend keeping paper towels nearby.
Airtight Container. Store your leftover turkey in an airtight container after it has cooled to room temperature.
What to serve With Smoked Turkey Breast
If it’s just a regular old tailgate, use my honey dijon dressing for a sweet contrast to the peppery texas turkey.
More Recipes You Will Love
- Smoked Beef Brisket: Tips and Tricks
- Texas Style Beef Ribs
- Smoked Eye Round w/ Beef Au Jus
- Smoked Green Chile Pork Tenderloin Fatty
- Deep Fried Turkey
Texas Smoked Turkey Breast Pellet Grill
- Pellet Grill
- Preheat Smoker to 225 Degrees F.
- Remove the skin and remove any excess fat from the turkey breast then place in an aluminum half pan.
- Coat the entire turkey breast with a light coating of mayonnaise. Just enough to act as a binder then season agressinvely with you texas dry rub seasoning on all sides.
- Place turkey breast in the foil pan on the pit and smoke for about 3 hours uncovered.
- Cover the turkey breast with a sheet of aluminum foil then smoke for another 2 hours or until the turkey hits an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Once turkey breast is fully cooked take the pan off the pit and vent a corner of the foil to realease the steam for about 5-10 minutes. Cover back up with foil and store in a cambro or dry cooler for 1 hour to rest.
- Slice the turkey breast into ¼ inch slices and serve.