There is nothing worse than going to a Holiday party and seeing the infamous “yellow turkey” coming out of the oven. With this recipe you will have nothing to worry about! We smoked several turkey breasts this past weekend and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.
First, we start with whole thawed turkey breasts. Thawing any kind of meat is the worst part. You want to allow at least four days in the fridge in order to slow thaw it. This recipe is a over night dry brine so make sure the turkey breast is thawed the night before the party. Once thawed, you remove the turkey breasts from the package, wash and pat dry the best you can.
Simple Dry Brine Recipe
1/2 Cup “Mississippi Grind”
1/4 Cup Victory Lane Season All
Once you have the dry brine mixed well, remove the skin almost all the way leaving one end attached. Apply the dry brine pretty heavy to the entire turkey breast. Try not to get any on the skin at this time. Once the turkey breast is covered, carefully pull the skin back over the turkey breast like it was initally.
Then place a cooling rack in a foil pan and place the turkey breasts on it. This will allow air flow around the turkey breast and keep it out of any liquid that may sweat out during the brining process. Place the turkey breasts in the fridge while you make the injection.
2 sticks of butter
32 oz Chicken Broth
1/4 cup Killer Hogs Hot Sauce
1/4 cup “Mississippi Grind”
1 tablespoon Victory Lane Season All
Using a medium sized pot, brown one stick of butter on medium to high heat. Brown the butter until it has a nice golden brown color. Turn the heat down to low and slowly add the other stick of butter a tablespoon at a time. This will stop the butter from browning any further. Once all of the butter is melted, slowly add the other ingredients and let simmer for a few minutes. You then can remove the injection from the heat and let it cool to room temp.
Once the injection has cooled you can remove the turkey breasts from fridge and you are ready to inject. The butter adds a great flavor but also when injected into the cold turkey breast it thickens and keeps that flavor we worked so hard for in the turkey breast. The injection recipe makes enough to do several whole breasts so use as much as you would like.
Now is when the magic happens! Once the breasts are injected, wipe them down with a paper towel and clean off any injection that may have worked its way out. Place the turkey breasts in a fridge uncovered for at least 8 hours. This process allows the seasonings to penetrate the meat as well as air dry the skin. The more moisture you can remove from the skin the crispier it will be.
Once the turkey breasts have rested in the fridge overnight it’s now time for the fun part. It’s time to get your cooker fired up and stabilized. We will be cooking on a Ole Hickory Ace BP with Royal Oak Chef Select Charcoal. You can cook on any pit just as long as you maintain your temp in the 275-300 range and Royal Oak Charcoal will make that job much easier. This will be about a 2 1/2 – 3 hour cook so make sure your pit is set up for that.
While the pit is coming up to temp you can get the turkey breasts out so they can begin to warm up a little. Its also a good time to get a little seasoning on the outside of the skin to get that crispy and flavorful skin that is to die for. You can use any rub that you would like but keep it simple and light. Too much rub will cause the skin to get dark on you in a hurry. Of course we put a light coat of “Mississippi Grind” to go along with the dry brine flavor.
Now your ready to start cooking! Once the pit gets up to temp, place the turkey breasts directly on the rack. I always like to monitor the internal temps from start to finish on turkeys.
On this cook we are using a Thermoworks DOT probe. I set the target temp @160 degrees and place the probe in the deepest part of the breast. Now, let the cooker go to work. I like to add only a small amount of smoke on turkeys but I do like burning onions or herbs to bring in another layer of flavor that pairs well with turkey.
Make sure to use a light wood that will not overpower the turkey. For this recipe I used a small amount of birch smoking pellets and one cut up onion. Believe it or not, birch is a great wood to smoke with and brings an awesome flavor to the table.
It will take a minute for the internal temps to start to climb but once they start they will get there pretty quick so keep a close eye on it. Check the color of the skin at the first hour mark.
If the skin starts to get dark on you, just simply cover the top of the breasts with foil similar to a tent. Once the breasts hit an internal temp of 160 on the Thermoworks Dot remove them from the pit and take inside. I always like to verify the temp with a Thermapen Mk4. Let them rest for at least 15 minutes. The breast will continue to cook and carry over to a finish temp of 165.
Once they have rested, you will finally see your hard work pay off. I always like to use an electric knife to carve turkey. I cut the whole breast off of the bone making it easier to cut across the grain. Cutting the breasts this way allows for moisture to stay in the slices and offers a better presentation.
Now plate all of your hard work up and let everyone enjoy! I guarantee this turkey breast will be the talk of the party. You can add a small dish of warm brown butter on the side to really blow the guest’s taste buds away!