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Oct 26, 2008 09:19 AM

Half a Turkey Breast - Help

I have a 2.5# half turkey breast, bone in and skin on. I have brined it and intended to roast it. My dilemma is the best method. Since it is a half of a breast the density of the meat changes quite a bit (this is why I thought brining would help keep mositure in).

Was originally thinking 15 minutes at 450 then lower the heat to 325 until my probe thermometer tells me it's done.

Does anyone else have an alternate suggestion? I really want to avoid a dry piece of meat.


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  1. I cook a whole turkey un-stuffed at 450 for about 2 hours and it is the moistest bird you can find. Although I have found that depending on whats in your brine you can get some burnt flavors with that high a temp. You might consider a braise of sorts, start a pan over med-high heat with a little oil or fat and brown the breast on all sides. Place a roasting pan off to the side, deglaze your saute pan with stock or white wine and add this liquid to your roasting pan without covering the breast. Cover the pan tightly and place in a pre-heated oven at about 325. This is a great method when you have a bone in piece of meat that you don't want to dry out.

    1. You can pound it flat about 1/2-3/4" and stuff it. Place meat between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a wine bottle (bottom end) till of even thickness.

      Saute some veggies--onions, celery, carrots, red bells, etc. Add some crumbled cooked sausage and season with thyme, S&P, a tiny bit of sage.

      Toss some pecan pieces, dried cranberries, and a few chopped ripe figs, and some bread cubed to about 1/2". Toss in the saute pan with just enough broth or water to very lightly moisten. Spread some chutney over the flattened breast (inside). Press on the stuffing about 1" thick. Starting with the tail, roll up toward the wide end. Wrap with some kitchen string or secure with skewers (sort of like using safety pins) Brush wiith olive oil, and bake at about 275 till a themometer registers 180. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then slice to serve.

      Pretty on a platter, and tasty.

      You can alter the ingredients to suit your own tastes. Olives? Anchovies? veggies selection? Mustard? Glaze? Make it your own.

      1. This is from the latest edition of cooks illustrated, where they describe a method for cooking turkey in pieces (leg and thigh, half a breast, etc).

        Heat oven to 275 degrees, roast the breasts skin side down for about an hour, then turn them over to have the skin side up. Continue roasting until a meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees inside for the breasts. Then take out the breasts and let them rest 30 minutes or they say up to 1 and 1/2 hrs. (They use this time to prepare their gravy) Then preheat the oven to 500 degrees and brown the cooled turkey for 15 min. Then let the turkey rest again for 20 min.

        According to them, the low heat method cooks the breast more evenly... while the old traditional method of high heat to brown, and then low heat overcooks the outer parts of the breast by the time the inner parts of the breast finally get cooked.

        3 Replies
          1. re: Mellicita

            Years late to the thread, but tonight I tried the CI method for 1/2 turkey breast as paraphrased by you, and it was a smashing success! I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the tips. :D

            1. re: trizydlux

              Also years late. Yesterday I ordered 8 half fresh turkey breasts from the butcher (our kids and dogs love the easy way I make them.

              I put two half breasts in a microwave safe bowl (not plastic) and add 1/2 cup of marinade (usually a soy, teriyaki or asian ginger), mix and microwave on high for 6 minutes.

              While in the microwave, I preheat the gas grill to 400 degrees F.

              When reaching temp, I turn off the middle burners and turn the front and rear to half power, place the turkey skin side down across the center of the grill so they receive no direct heat.

              Grill approx15-18 minutes and turn, grill second side about 15 minutes. Test with fingers or a pick for doneness. Turn off grill and let sit in closed grill for 10 minutes or until temp gauge falls to 200 F.

              Remove to carving board, let rest 5 minutes and slice.

              Often, I will halve (lengthwise) some Idaho potatoes, and microwave for the same 6 minutes, then coat the cut side with a little olive oil and sprinkle paprika on them, place face down on the upper rear rack of the grill and cook for the same length of time as the turkey.


              I also use this same method with Turkey thighs. I don't need to change the cooking time, as the 1/2 breast from our butcher tend to be 2.5-2.75 lbs and the thighs just under 2 lbs.

              This week's price for fresh Turkey breats halves $1.99 lb, thighs $1.59 lb, whole turkey $2.79lb (south central CT)