How to Smoke a Turkey Breast in 11 Easy Steps

My first experience with turkey breast smoking was on Thanksgiving eve some twenty years ago, and as I look back to those early years, I realize that learning how to smoke a turkey breast is one of the best culinary secrets I have acquired over the years. I remember using a cookbook that evening, and as I tried to follow the steps, my siblings were there urging me on.

Having mastered the brining art after scores of meals cooked, I can safely say that many people have enjoyed my smoked turkey with no exception down the years. Whether you are preparing this delight for a special occasion or another family treat, following the outlined steps here will give you a good grasp of what to do.

Smoke Turkey
Smoke Turkey – Photo from


  • 6-8 lb measure of Turkey Breast
  • 1/2 cup measure of Apple wood chips (any other mild wood can be used)
  • Meat thermometer
  • Brine
  • 4 cups of warm water
  • 1/4 cup measure of Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup measure of white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon measure of thyme, marjoram, tarragon, oregano and bay leaves
  • 12oz fill of non-alcoholic beer (buckler)
  • Bouquet Garni mixture (a pinch
  • Mixture of drip pan
  • 1 cup measure of water
  • 1 tablespoon scoop of black pepper
  • Bouquet Garni- Dried
  • 1/4scoop of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon measure of salted butter
  • Brine bag
Raw Turkey Breast
Turkey Breast

The Preparation Process

  1. Have a colander in place along with a brine bag. Place the turkey after rinsing into the brine bag while making sure that the cavities are up-facing
  2. Easy Brined Turkey
    Easy Brined Turkey – Photo from
  3. Mix the ingredients needed for the brine in a pitcher with the sugar and salt. Make sure you stir till all the ingredients combine smoothly. If needed, add warm water aid the combination process.
  4. Place your mix in the fridge till the next day
  5. Your wood chips should stay in water till the following day
  6. When it is about two hours to the time for smoking the turkey, remove it from the fridge and rinse. Leave to drain and warm at room temperature
  7. Your smoker should be up to 235 degrees before placing half of the wood chips over the hotplate
  8. The drip pan should be underneath the turkey seat. Doing this will enable it to steam up the turkey breast so that it will stay moist while it gets smoked
  9. The turkey must be placed on the smoker with its back to the seat and in about 35 minutes, each pound should be well cooked.
  10. The basting is next, and it should be done one time each hour so that the butter will keep the turkey skin in crispy texture
  11. The untouched half wood chips should be added on after every 2 hours so that the internal temperature of the inner breast can get to 170 degrees. Using a pop-up timer will be of help here.’
  12. Cover the turkey with foil after removing from the pellet smoker. Wait for about thirty minutes before carving the turkey. The outcome of the turkey after smoking is that it will not be overly pinkish as an oven roasted turkey will appear.

Why I Brine

Brining is done by adding salt to water in a bucket of water after which you drop a piece of turkey into it. What will happen after that is that, the salt content in the turkey will reach a balanced state so that the internal and external content will be the same. Its processed chemistry describes as this osmosis. Brine is the chemical description of saltiness and is used here as a flat term for salting of turkey.
The dipping and cooling of the turkey in the water ensure that the inner layers get their dose of salt hence the process is called brining. If you decide to add the other flavoring into the water as well, the dissipation and distribution will be complete following the same process.

Brining with turkey is a different ball game compared to pork or beef. Poultry has a different physiology that makes it easy and pliable for the brining process. I remember after the first time I tried brining, the turkey was a lot tastier and juicier than when the flavors were rubbed in.

Options for Getting Turkey Breast Evenly- Smoked

Some options to use when smoking turkey breast include:

Spatchcock Turkey
Spatchcock Turkey – Photo from

1. Spatchcocking or Butter-flying

Spatchcocking or Butter-flying involves displacing the sternum and bones so that the turkey can be flattened out before smoking. In doing so, this enables the turkey to get even-cooked easily.

2. Dry-brining

 Dry-brining means rubbing the turkey with the flavors and sale before putting it up in the fridge for a few nights. This way, the salt will even out through the turkey, loosening up the muscles for an easy and juicy outcome when you cook.

3. Baking Powder Rub

Baking powder rub involves adding baking powder to the mix when dry-rubbing the turkey. When this happens, this will lead to the formation of micro-bubbles on the turkey exterior while it gets smoked. This will enhance the juiciness.

4. Indirect heat Slow-cooking

Slow-cooking with indirect heat is such that the legs will be positioned to face the heat directly. This will put more pressure on the legs but will give enough time for the breast meat to be gently and evenly cooked and for the smoky flavor to envelope the turkey as desired

In all of these steps, while you prepare, monitor the temperature, so it gets within the stipulated 150 degrees in Fahrenheit. Afterward, let the delicacy rest for about 4 minutes before serving to your guests, family or loved ones.


By following the simple outlined process here, you will be able to smoke your turkey breast to your delight and if you have learned the lessons as prescribed dutifully, feel free to share on your social networks so your friends can benefit as well.  The tips on brining should be easy for you to follow if you pay the needed attention as you try it out.

Leave your comments, observations, and questions underneath this page and I will appreciate your suggestions on how to get better results if you find out any.

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