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Mar 15, 2011 07:00 AM

Smoking a boneless turkey breast. What temp and for how long?

Eager to get started on grilling season. Think I'd like to smoke a turkey breast out on my Portable Kitchen grill. Any ideas on how best to do so?


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  1. 225 to 250 degrees til breast temp reads 160. Use a remote probe thermometer to avoid losing heat and smoke. I inject with a combo of apple juice, worstheshire sauce, cider vinegar and spices. Dry rub on exterior . For full birds I shove a cut up onion and orange in the cavity before trussing. I always get a nicely smoked and moist bird, but due to low temp, skin is not crispy. Smoker is either my Brinkmann or Traeger.

    Others use a higher temp , in the 300 to 325 range, and in a weber kettle grill or UDS/BDS or eq. vs a true smoker which gets the skin crisp but also reduces cooking time and thus less smoke.

    I spend a lot of my time over on BBQ Brethren.

    Smoked turkey breast process


    1. Brining it first is the only way to fly. If you are cold smoking it then an internal temp of 190 is perfect. I don’t recommend hot smoking it in a kettle but if you do pull it at 190 too.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Woodfireguy

        Thanks. Do you have a recommended brining solution?

        1. re: Westy

          This is where you get to put your personality in this procedure. The basic sodium content is 1 cup salt to 1 gallon of water. A little more salt if it’s kosher. When you heat this to melt the salt you can add ½ cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoons red chili flakes. That will get you a basic brine for 24 to 36 hours of brining before smoking. I would play with things that you can add depending on what your brining. For turkey I think sage, bay leaf and juniper berries would be nice. Make sure you heat the water so everything gets happy, then cool before adding meat

          1. re: Westy

            My standard turkey brine has a little less salt, then a lot of soy sauce, fresh sage, black pepper, and honey.

        2. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<Brining it first is the only way to fly. If you are cold smoking it then an internal temp of 190 is perfect. I don’t recommend hot smoking it in a kettle but if you do pull it at 190 too.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

          190-200 degrees as an internal temp for pork shoulder or brisket is perfect for pulling. For poultry, due to its lack of collagen content, 160-165 ensures a cooked thru and moist bird. I';ve never smoked a chicken or turkey past 165 (and chicken pulls at 165) but I would expect much a drier finished product if doing so.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jjjrfoodie

            Thank you, Ur right. 165 to 170 are a good temp to remove it. The temp will keep climbing even after you take it off but the brine really helps keep it moist. I think it’s best to cold smoke them. Don’t you

          2. Somewhat related, I really like Steven Reichen's recipe for Turkey pastrami. By changing the spice blend, you can certainly make other flavor profiles. Basically, it's cured for 24 hours (rather than brined), then smoked to 165 degrees.


            1. I'm doing something similar. But I have pieces of wild turkey breast — about 8 pieces amounting to perhaps 4-5 pounds. I brined them overnight, but I'm afraid they'll dry out in the smoker. Should I tie them up in a bundle to keep some of the juices in, or smoke the pieces separately? Thanks.

              The picture below shows about two-thirds of the total laid on the smoker rack, in the fridge. There are a couple of pieces that are much smaller.