Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Aug 22, 2008 04:25 PM

Turkey breast on the grill?

I'm new to the whole gas grilling thing and still figuring out what does or doesn't work. So this weekend's question is - what's the best way to cook a whole turkey breast on the grill? I'm pretty sure someone is going to say "brine it," so before going in that direction I want to add that part of my goal is to have turkey for sandwiches and salads during the week that isn't full of sodium like the supermarket kind. But maybe someone's going to tell me that brining doesn't drastically increase the sodium content of the meat - that's just my assumption. Maybe some other type of marinade? I'm open to all suggestions.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Brining is the best way to prepare a turkey breast so that it will remain moist when it's fully cooked. I very much doubt it will have anywhere near the sodium level of an industrially produced turkey breast, so go ahead and do it. You won't be sorry.

    Make a standard brine - I just kind of wing it. 1/2 cup salt, 1/4 cup sugar, the juice of one lemon, some smushed garlic cloves and enough water to cover generously. 12 hours is good, if you can manage it. Then pat dry and grill over indirect heat - that means place the turkey on the side of the grill that doesn't have heat underneath. Grill until it reaches 160o to 165o on a meat thermometer. You can, of course, use some kind of barbecue sauce to brush on toward the end of the cooking time - use whatever you like. I'm a bit of a purist and prefer the turkey a bit plainly grilled.

    1. Even though I know brining makes a tastier, juicier bird, I usually don't think that far ahead unless it's Thanksgiving! When I'm just doing the turkey breast, I finely chop fresh sage, thyme, and a little rosemary. Mix about a cup of the chopped herbs with some kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, and some softened butter (way less butter than herbs, maybe 1/4c? I never actually measure.) Then I smear the mixture between the skin and the flesh, usually while saying Ew! Ew! Ew! because I have my hands inside a slimy bird carcass. The squealing probably isn't a necessary step.

      Then I rub some olive oil on the outside of the skin, and plop it on the BBQ on low heat till the meat thermometer says it's ready!

      1 Reply
      1. re: bex109

        That's the way I go too but in addition: I have a two burner grill. First I heat it up on high until it's very hot (10-15 min). Then I turn both burners to medium and sear both sides of the breast. Then I turn one burner off and the other to low, stand the breast up on it's ribcage on the off side with half the breast facing the heat for about 20 minutes and baste it a time or two. Then I turn it so the other side faces the heat for the same time and baste. Then I check it with the thermometer and repeat the turn and baste procedure until it tests done. Juicy turkey and crispy skin!

      2. I cook turkey "london broil" (boneless breast) on my gas grill and it is great for sandwiches. I don't brine, I generally do a mexican-inspired rub (cumin, ancho, black pepper, brown sugar, little salt) after squeezing fresh lime all over it. Let it marinate for about a half hour. The key is to let it sit (covered) afterwards to finish cooking, otherwise it gets really dry. But I love how this method gets me some crispy edges.

        1. I find it too dry and use a larding needle, often with bacon in it.

          1. I'm reviving this thread because our Thanksgiving plans just got changed to everyone going out to a nice restaurant. But I REALLY wanted to try grilling a turkey this year. We won't leave the house till about 12:30 and my guess is we'll be back around 5pm. How much time does it take to grill the average turkey breast? Think I could do it T-Day morning, or should I do it the day before?

            My other thought was utilizing my newish Le Creuset: could I roast a turkey breast in the morning before we leave? Could I leave it alone during the time we're gone? Recipes?

            I just want to be able to have some fresh turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce when we get home that night!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Thanks4Food

              I would say cook the day before. We grill a whole turkey, with a dry brine, and it usually takes under 2 1/2 hours. Turkey breast would take a lot less time. And we're going to try that this year.

              We are not brine fans. Dry-brining, refrigerating for 2-3 days, and then wiping down, produces one fine turkey here.I think it will work for a couple of breasts as well.