Easy Smoked Turkey Breast: Texas Style

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Brisket is the first thing that most people think of when they think of Texas barbecue. Texas is the land of meat, yet man cannot survive just on beef.

Smoked turkey breast is another very popular barbecue staple in Texas.

We keep it basic, like we do with most things in Texas barbecue, and let the smoke give the flavor. A simple seasoning of salt, pepper, and garlic mixed with powerful Mesquite-smoked taste results in some of the greatest turkey you’ve ever had.

Texas smoked turkey breast

Easy Smoked Turkey Breast: Texas Style

In Texas, turkey isn’t simply offered during Thanksgiving. Throughout the year, smoked turkey breast may be found on the menus of almost every barbecue restaurant in the state.

Because of the abundance of wild turkey in Texas, it is a prominent mainstay in Texas cuisine, particularly in the realm of barbecue. Rio Grande turkeys are believed to number between 500,000 and 600,000, with an annual harvest of about 100,000.

Texas is the home to 3 subspecies of wild turkey:

  1. The Eastern Turkey (M.g. Silvestris) lives in humid East Texas and has dark-colored tail tips.
  2. The Rio Grande Turkey (M.g. Intermedia) may be found from Oklahoma to Mexico in Central Texas, with buff-colored tail tips.
  3. Merriams Turkey (M.g. Merriami) with white tail tips is found in the ponderosa pine environment of the Trans-Pecos mountains.

It’s also quite affordable when compared to other popular barbecue meats (such as brisket) and goes nicely with a variety of side dishes.

You might also like: Smoked Turkey Wings

How to tell when smoked turkey breast is cooked?

Easy Smoked Turkey Breast: Texas Style

When the thickest section of the turkey breast registers an internal temperature of 165°F, it is done.

The actual cooking time will depend on the size of the breast and the temperature of your smoker. It takes an hour and fifteen minutes to smoke a four-pound breast for this recipe.

How to make smoked turkey breast

Turkey breasts may be purchased in a variety of ways. I like boneless breast and roast turkey breast with the skin on. The skin gives an added layer of texture and taste to the smoked turkey, in my opinion.

1. Season your turkey

When it comes to seasoning, Texas, as previously said, keeps things simple. We appreciate the natural taste of wood smoke and avoid overwhelming it with a plethora of rubs and sauces.

A classic Texas turkey seasoning is made up of three ingredients: coarse ground black pepper, Kosher salt, and granulated garlic.

The proportions of each will vary according to the pitmaster’s liking, but I usually strive for a 2-2-1 ratio of coarse powdered black pepper, Kosher salt, and granulated garlic.

If you prefer more traditional barbecue tastes, try our bbq turkey rub recipe.

When preparing your turkey breast, be sure you peel back the skin and season the flesh underneath. This will guarantee that the taste is maximized.

After carefully seasoning the flesh under the skin, wrap the skin over the whole breast, drawing it tight.

Season the leftover rub all over the breast.

Smoking your turkey breast

Fire up your smoker to 250F.

I prefer to use mesquite wood or mesquite lump charcoal for this recipe. Mesquite has a rich, smokey taste that works well with a light protein like turkey.

Many Central Texas pitmasters swear on Post Oak for everything and everything, but I favor mesquite for this recipe.

Place your turkey breast immediately on the smoker’s grates, seam side down.

Let it smoke for about 1 to 1 hours.

This turkey breast takes 1 hour to cook, but the time depends on the size of your breast.

You may remove the turkey when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

I prefer to monitor the temperature using my ThermoWorks ThermoPop. It’s an instant-read thermometer that measures temperatures fast and precisely, stopping me from overcooking and leaving my smoker open for too long.

You could also use a leave-in thermometer.

In terms of presentation, I prefer to chop the turkey breast into thin slices and dish it on a lovely wooden board with some greens on the side.

What should I serve with my smoked turkey breast?

Smoked turkey breast is incredibly flexible and goes well with a variety of side dishes. It also goes well with barbeque sauce, so don’t be scared to season it up!

Here are some delicious sides to pair with smoked turkey breast:

  • The best macaroni salad for BBQ
  • Smoked baked beans
  • The best pasta salad for BBQ
  • Smoked beer mustard potatoes
  • Smoked mac & cheese


Should I wrap my turkey breast in foil while smoking?

We’ve discovered that wrapping a turkey in foil keeps it considerably moister than roasting it without it, and we prefer only covering the breast to balance out cooking time. Some claim that roasting a turkey breast-side down and turning it halfway through produces the same results as a foil-wrapped breast.

How do you keep a turkey breast from drying out in the smoker?

Turkeys should be brined overnight, first covered with lard, and just lightly seasoned. Brining the turkey prevents it from drying out during the smoking process. Basting the turkey leads to mushy skin. Seasoning the skin excessively results in inedible skin; instead, let the brine and aromatics contribute taste.

Is it better to smoke a turkey breast at 225 or 250?

Keep your smoker at about 225°F.

It’s also good to smoke the turkey breast at a higher temperature (such as 275-300°F or more), but it will cook considerably quicker. Always use an instant-read thermometer to determine whether your turkey is done.

How do you keep turkey juicy in a smoker?

While smoking the turkey, baste or spritz it with chicken stock to keep it moist and crisp up the skin. This recipe’s butter will really make your skin crisp, thus the spritzing is more to protect it from drying out.

Should I spray turkey breast while smoking?

I promise you that the answer is yes. Chicken stock, apple juice, or apple cider vinegar mixed with water are all terrific possibilities for basting the turkey while it’s smoking. Cooking spray may also be sprayed on the turkey. How often should you baste?

Do you flip a turkey breast when smoking?

Make careful to turn the turkey breast, getting under the skin all around and on the exterior. Smoke the turkey – Place the turkey breast in a big disposable pan, then pour in the chicken stock. Place in smoker for 4 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Should I put a pan of water in my smoker for a turkey?

If you’re using a smoker, fill the water pan with 2-3 liters of water, beer, apple juice, or wine. To catch the drippings, place a drip pan with a splash of water on the bottom frying grate.

Should you use water in a smoker with turkey?

Make sure you have a drip pan on hand to capture the drippings and keep your smoker atmosphere wet. I use an aluminum pan that I can place below my turkey on the grill. At the start of the smoke, fill the pan with several glasses of water.

Should I season my turkey before smoking?

If you dry brined the turkey, it may not need any further spices. Before using it on your smoker or grill, just spray it with oil. If the turkey was wet brined, treat the dried body with oil before applying the dry rub.

How long to smoke a 8lb turkey breast at 250?

Smoke the turkey for 3 to 4 hours, keeping the temperature inside the smoker between 225°F and 250°F, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest section reads 165°F.


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