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First Try at a Smoked Turkey Breast

run4jcrun4jc Posts: 107
edited 10:20AM in EggHead Forum
Don;t get me was great - moist and tender. My only disappointment was the lack of smoke flavor. I brined it in a solution of 1 cup turbinado sugar, 1/2 cup kosher salt, dash of lemon pepper and a bay leaf. Boiled the brine and let it cool. Brined overnight. Olive oil then covered with my favorite rub. Cooked at 325 dome with plenty of hickory. It was good - but I'd sure love to know how to get it more 'smokey.'





It was good - but I'd sure like some ideas!


  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    That sure looks nice.

    I very seldom brine and am not sure if that would affect the smoke.

    Usually any fowl will take on a lot of smoke flavor. Save some pieces in the fridge and you will find the left overs will have more intense smoke flavor.

    I usually follow mad max's turkey or will just season and cook on a raised grid with apple, cherry or grape vine. Usually there is enough smoke flavor.

    We have a bbq resturant out here that does a real good chicken quarters and half's that has a huge amount of smoke flavor. I have not been able to get that intense amount of smoke flavor in any chicken I have done on the egg.

    I am wondering if cooking a a very low temp and a lot of smoke is how they are doing it?

    Just makes for more testing.

    Your cook looks great, thank you for sharing.

  • KlagKlag Posts: 208
    That looks perfect! I bet it was juicy as hell too!
  • SlotmercenarySlotmercenary Posts: 1,071
    i have never brined a bird and they all seem to come out plenty smokie enough. give one a try with just a rub and smoking wood. Pecan wood is awesome with turkey.
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    Here is a couple of thoughts......Brining is excellent for moisture retention and also for getting some flavor into the meat. You didn't mention the amount of water used, but it looks to be a couple of gallons. The standard brine ratio is 8 ounces of salt per gallon of water, I use 6 ounces of Morton's kosher per gallon. So, first off you may have had a weak brine.

    At 325° dome your actual cooking temp was closer to 300°, which means you were on the low end of roasting. Not to say you can't get some smoke flavored roasted turkey, because you can. But if you were shooting for "smoked turkey", your pit temps were just too high. You need to start off with low pit temps to allow the smoke a longer time to penetrate the meat, then you can ramp up the temp later on to maybe crisp up the skin. (visualize the difference between smoked salmon and grilled salmon that is smoke flavored)


    I start my breasts off around 225° to 250°, then watch the internal temperature and ramp the pit temp up or down as needed. I'm actually okay with rubbery skin as I usually chill the breast anyway, and I'm going for flavor of the meat in this application. I do a lot of them for Christmas gifts and once you hit the right combination of brining, and smoking they are much better than the "smokehouse" ones you may have tried.


    Now, In order to do this safely, the best action is to add some curing agents to the brine. This allows you to cook at lower pit temps without fear of any "baddies". Tenderquick is a product designed for home use and has both nitrates and nitrites in a salt carrier. There are others, generally referred to as pink salts. Hams and certain smoked sausages have been cured prior to smoking.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • run4jcrun4jc Posts: 107
    GREAT tips all - I appreciate it - that's what makes this one of the best forums (of any kind) going. The turkey really was juicy - I was just hoping to get that intense smoke flavor and it wasn't there.

    With respect to all, I think thirdeye has the answer. I'm a strong believer in brining for flavor, not moisture, and mine just wasn't strong enough. It was a cup of sugar and half a cup of salt in around 2 or more gallons of ice water.

    I have a digiq and I started with 325 pit (probe clipped to the drip pan) but it wasn't a secure clip so I moved it to the dome probe and bumped the digiq to 340. I'm thinking that it was around 325 pit still. Which supports thirdeye's point even more - I was 'roasting', not smoking.

    Interestingly, I have done chicken breasts at the lower temp and ended up with a much more smokey flavor.

    Meanwhile, again, thanks all - and you are right - it is a great 'experiment' that everyone enjoyed!
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