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OK, so I bought a 6.5lb bone in Publix Turkey Breast. It is in a rather high solution of salt so I didn't brine it.  Just rubbed with Bahia Mojo (citrus) Rub and then injected with a white wine, butter and crystal (hot sauce). Put it over an aluminum tray to catch drippings and set smoker at 225 with two chunks of mesquite. I didn't do anything special with the skin, figure it wont be worth keeping but maybe I'll get a surprise. Plan to pull at 160 after maybe 3-4 hours. This is just a test for now, prepping for the big bird for Thanksgiving!Smoked Turkey Breast 24 Oct 2021


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  • Smoked Turkey Breast 24 Oct 2021
Last edited by Flyingman
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Folks, I must say it was a bit disappointing. I pulled the breast at 161 Deg F, it had a nice smoked exterior, smelled wonderful. I wrapped in foil for about an hour then carved a few slices. First, it was indeed moist, but fully cooked. The rub I used was a Mojo (citrus) and I don't think I'll use that again. Didn't go well with the mesquite. The injection of wine, butter and crystal was evident.  The texture of the meat was off, it was a bit tough.

So I'm thinking I should go higher, maybe closer to 165-170 to get a bit softer meat. Avoid the citrus flavors in the rub.

Have to say my old standby gas grilled rotisserie turkey is pretty darn good.  I'll be trying the smoked breast in my lunch today, expect opinion might be more favorable after it's cooled off a while in the fridge.

Any suggestions?

Even with store bought injected turkeys or turkey breasts, I dry brine.  I try to pull at 158 and let it rest to get to 160 deg. I usually dry brine outside as it is cool enough in my area. I also use cure #1 for safety while dry brining. Here's my recipe:

Ingredients per 15# turkey
  4 tablespoons kosher salt
  1 teaspoon sage ground
  1 teaspoon rosemary ground
  ½ teaspoon celery seed ground
  ½ teaspoon garlic granules
  ½ teaspoon onion powder
  1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1 teaspoon apple cider mix (unseasoned -no cinnamon)
Use 6 Tablespoons mix per 12-15# of turkey.
Optional: add 1 teaspoon cure #5 per pound of turkey to mix when smoking turkey

Mix ingredients well.  Pat dry the turkey so it is not wet. Spread some mix under turkey skin over breast.  Rub mix in cavity. Sprinkle evenly around outside of turkey, should be able to cover all the turkey. Place turkey in a stainless steel, plastic or glass pan in a fridge.  There will be some liquid pulled off by the salt, at end of dry brine period, discard liquid.

Quickly rinse turkey and pat it dry. Spread some butter under the breast skin and 2 tablespoons over the rest of turkey.  Cook as normal.

I smoke at 225 until internal temperature reaches 158-160.  Let turkey rest for at least 30 min. Turkey will be best if left overnight to firm up for slicing.

I use 3.5 oz apple wood and 15 oz cherry wood.

FWIW I just made a smoked turkey sandwich and it was pretty darn good. I know mesquite is a stronger wood flavor but that is a common wood used for turkey. I think smoked anything us usually better the next day(s) anyway.

I don't think I'll use the Mojo rub on a bird anymore. Pork was fine.

So what about the texture? How would I get the turkey to soften up a bit, cook to a higher temp? I did 160, but originally thought 165.

Last edited by Flyingman

This is what ThermoWorks has to say on cooking turkey breasts:   Turkey Breasts: 5 Steps To Juicy Turkey | ThermoWorks .  This is a great recipe for smoking turkey:

Sweet and Spicy Smoked Turkey with Smoked Gravy

Recipe by Jeff Mauro from “The Kitchen”.


1/2 cup Sweet BBQ Rub, recipe follows

One 10- to 12-pound turkey, untrussed and spatchcocked

12 medium carrots, peeled

12 ounces mini bell peppers or sweet Melrose peppers

2 cups turkey or chicken stock

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Sweet BBQ Rub:

1 cup turbinado sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup kosher salt

3 tablespoons chili powder

3 tablespoons smoked paprika

2 tablespoons granulated garlic

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Rub the Sweet BBQ Rub all over both sides of the turkey. Transfer to a disposable aluminum pan breast-side up and refrigerate overnight, uncovered, to dry brine.
  2. The day of roasting, let the turkey sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Add the carrots and peppers to the pan and put the turkey on a wire rack above the vegetables.
  3. Preheat a gas grill, charcoal grill or smoker to 350 degrees F. If using a gas or charcoal grill, set up a smoke box or small disposable aluminum pan with fruit wood chips. Once the smoke is rolling, put the turkey and vegetables on the grill in the pan, close the lid and smoke for 1 hour.
  4. After 1 hour, rotate the turkey and add the stock to the pan to deglaze. Continue smoking until the breast meat registers 160 degrees F and the thighs hit 165 degrees F, another 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Let the turkey rest 45 minutes to an hour while you make the gravy. Remove the carrots and peppers from the pan and set aside. Strain the drippings from the pan using a fat separator.
  6. To make the gravy, melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk well to make a roux. Slowly add the strained drippings and whisk. Let simmer to reduce to the desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  7. Slice the turkey and serve over a medley of the smoked carrots and peppers with the gravy on the side.

Sweet BBQ Rub:

  1. Combine the turbinado sugar, granulated sugar, salt, chili powder, paprika, granulated garlic, onion powder, cayenne, cumin and pepper in a bowl. Store in an airtight container.

Flyingman:  This is a recipe for a whole bird.  I have spatchcocked just the breast and it works very well.  You are right that that the electric cookshack smokers will only go to 300 degrees.  There are 2 ways around this.  You are cooking to internal temperature and your breast will reach 157 degrees internal temp. cooking at 300 degrees.  This will just take longer than cooking it at 350 degrees.  The other way is to start the turkey in the smoker and once it has a good smoke on it move it inside to a 350 degree oven.  I have been doing smoked turkey for some 30 years  now.  I very seldom have gotten a good crisp bite through skin.  I have gotten crisp but not bite through.  The closest I have gotten to a bite through skin were the years that I loosened the skin from the meat and used a compound butter under the skin.   This is the old Turkey 101 that was put together by Smokin Okie Turkey 101 PDF .  There is a lot of good information on cooking turkey in the cookshack in this.  This is a picture of a turkey I did using a compound butter under the skin:

Here is one done with the recipe I posted above:

I have 2 whole chickens that I am going to do as a test.  I will be doing both of these recipes with some slight modifications like injecting both of them with creole butter and separating the skin from the meat on the spatchcocked bird.  I will post the results when done.  Just a hint for those wanting to practice for Turkey Day, Costco has whole chickens for 99 cents a pound.

Last edited by idahomike

Where is mesquite a common wood for smoking turkey ? No hate. Just curious. Usually, mild wood for mild flavored meat. Anyway, if you liked it, it's great !

Gee, I have no idea where mesquite would be used to smoke turkey?

Seems to be a pretty common item.

But you are right in that Mesquite seems to be too strong for Turkey but it seems many do like it.


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Last edited by Flyingman

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