I set out to prove to myself just how easy it can be to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving. That meant no brining, no basting, no rubs, no oils, no injecting. Nothing. Just an easy smoked turkey breast.
I used a turkey breast that was already in a basting solution to speed things along and keep the ‘easy’ theme. Turkeys that are already pre-brined (or ‘pumped’) are common and they do save you a lot of time and hassle.
I was very, very happy with this easy smoked turkey breast. It was completely fuss-free. The skin was nice and crunchy. The meat was tender and moist. I used plenty of wood to get plenty of smoky flavor. I think that made up for the spices or basting sauce I would normally add. If you’re making a turkey for a crowd this is the way to go. You’ll have plenty of free time for other things.
I served the turkey with my smoked turkey gravy, made using broth from turkey wings that I smoked on a few days before smoking this easy turkey breast.
Easy Smoked Turkey Breast
This recipe uses a 'pumped' turkey breast, or one that has already been brined. The package will state 'contains up to 8% of a solution of water, salt, spices to enhance tenderness and juiciness'. Normally I would use a natural turkey that does not contain such a solution, but the goal was to make as easy a turkey breast as possible.
Servings 1 turkey breast
Fire up your smoker for cooking at 325 F. If you're using a Weber Smokey Mountain smoker (or any smoker that uses a water pan), line the water pan with foil and do not add water.
Use a fruit wood or lighter wood such as hickory.
Place the turkey breast meat side up in the center of the smoker.
Smoke until the meat reaches 165 F as measured in several locations.
Remove and let rest 30 minutes before slicing. Do not cover with foil as this will cause the skin to get soggy.
Smoking a turkey breast isn’t like smoking ribs or pulled pork, which I usually cook at temperatures around 225 F. For a turkey skin to get good and crisp you need a higher temperature. I smoked this turkey breast at 350 F. I also basted it with a wonderful maple butter sauce at the end. This smoked bone-in maple turkey breast was fantastic.
If you are using a natural turkey breast you will want to brine it before cooking it. If you are using a self-basting breast (like I did), no brining is required. Either way you’ll enjoy this great smoked bone-in maple turkey breast for dinner. Or lunch.
I smoked this turkey using my Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker but I did not put any water in the water pan so I could reach 350 F.
Smoked Bone-In Maple Turkey Breast
Servings 8 -10
- 1 bone-in turkey breast 7-9 pounds
- Your favorite BBQ rub
For the maple butter glaze
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- 1/2 stick salted butter melted
Start up your smoker and get the cooking temperature to 350 F. Add only 1 or 2 small chunks of smoking wood.
Rinse and dry the turkey.
Sprinkle the breast with rub and massage into the meat.
Put turkey onto smoker and cook until meat temperature approaches 155 F.
Baste the turkey with the glaze and continue cooking until turkey reaches 165 F, glazing a few times as it cooks.
Remove turkey and let rest 20 minutes before carving.