This Smoked Turkey Breast is juicy and flavorful with the perfect amount of crust. This cooks low and slow for the best smoked turkey!
Since we are nearing the biggest food holiday of the year, I want to share with you our new favorite way to eat turkey. Say goodbye to dry, bland turkey! This lean turkey breast is cooked on a smoker and the results are jaw-dropping. I didn't know turkey could be so tender!
Several years ago we bought a Traeger smoker, and we have realized that cooking a turkey breast on it is the way to go. We rub the turkey breast with a flavorful rub full of spices which lock in the flavor while it is cooking. Then before serving, you drizzle it with garlic herb butter and it is straight-up perfection.
Why do we love this Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe?
- This recipe calls for an outdoor smoker so it frees up the oven.
- You don't have to cook an entire turkey and go through the effort of defrosting it for days, putting it in a brining solution, stuffing it, and cooking it (and hoping it isn't dry!). This smoked turkey breast recipe is so easy!
- This turkey breast is much smaller so it cooks faster (even on a smoker) and is great for smaller gatherings. For us, we will smoke several turkey breasts since we are serving a lot of people
- The flavor is out-of-this-world! The turkey rub with all of the spices makes a huge difference in the flavor. Plus it is tender and juicy!
What type of turkey breast should I use?
We tested out several types of turkey breasts to discover the differences in how they cook and how they taste. We opted for the boneless turkey breast for ease because we just wanted to slice and serve.
First, we tested the Jennie-O Oven Ready Homestyle Boneless Turkey Breast. This comes in a bag. What I liked about this one is that it stayed together, was very uniform, and had great flavor. We couldn't find it in every store so check to see if your local grocery store carries it.
Second, we tested out a more traditional boneless turkey breast -- Butterball Boneless Turkey Breast Roast. This one came with a little skin on it and was not as uniform as the first one we tested. But the flavor turned out to be phenomenal.
We also recipe tested this smoked turkey breast with and without a brine. What is a brine? Brining is similar to marinating and involves soaking the turkey in a solution to tenderize it. We found that brining did make the turkey breast more tender and infuse flavor but it still tasted amazing with the smoked turkey breast rub only.
Smoked Turkey Breast Ingredients:
- Turkey Breast (preferably boneless)
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Black Pepper
- Rosemary, Thyme, Sage (optional)
Garlic Herb Butter Ingredients:
- Rosemary and Thyme
- Garlic Powder or Minced Garlic
What temperature is a smoked turkey breast done?
I suggest using a meat thermometer for the perfect turkey breast. The internal temperature needs to reach 165 degrees F. This is when the turkey is safe for eating (make sure to check several areas of the turkey breast).
What flavor wood chips do you use to smoke turkey breast?
We use THIS TRAEGER SMOKER and use the Traeger wood pellet blend, but you can also use hickory, cherry, or maple pellet wood chunks.
What to serve with Smoked Turkey Breast?
If you are making it for Thanksgiving, check out my entire THANKSGIVING MENU HERE. You can also serve it with some creamy potatoes au gratin, green beans with lemon zest and almonds, creamy mashed potatoes, or homemade mac n cheese.
I bought a 3 lb butterball turkey that is frozen. Am I supposed to thaw it fully before making this recipe or do I put it straight from the freezer to cook on the smoker?
Hi Angela! Yes, I would thaw the turkey breast before placing in the smoker. We place it in the refrigerator 48 hours before smoking it. I hope that helps!
Thank you for getting back with me asap! I have to get that turkey out this morning before work 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving and I appreciate the delicious recipes.
My son is smoking our turkey this year. I can't wait to see how it turns out. We will use your recipe, because it is always a no fail recipe. I love all of your recipes. God Bless, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your Family Melissa....
Definitely don’t use these times as an indication of how long smoking a whole turkey will take. I am smoking a bone-in turkey breast today, and my thermometer app says it is going to take over five hours just to do the breast. I can’t believe having the bones increases the time of this recipe by more than double. I even cut out the backbone and spatchcocked the breast. I’ll check back in with my final cooking time when it’s done, though I’m likely to increase the temp if it keeps saying I won’t be done until 8:00 this evening!
Oh wow, this is good to know! I definitely recipe tested this 5 times with different brands of boneless turkey breasts (about 3 lbs, I believe) but never with bones. I am glad you have a meat thermometer because that is the golden ticket for figuring out when it is done! I hope you love it!
Well, I ended up increasing the smoker temp twice during my smoke, first to 275, then to 325. I think it would indeed have taken about five hours at 225. My Honeysuckle turkey breast was about 10 pounds, including the bones. With my temp increases, it took about 3.5 hours. It was very juicy, even without brining, and the rub was delicious. This was an experiment for future Thanksgivings as I am not hosting this year. I’m always afraid to smoke for company because I can’t seem to time the sides since smoking meat is not very exact. I use a Meater thermometer, and today it did a pretty good job of predicting the end time which allowed me to put my sides in the oven at the right time.
This sounds so good!! Can these herbs and spices be used on a 20 pound Turkey as well? Also I would like the brine recipe also
This sounds great and I’m anxious to try it. I’d like to experiment with the brine too. Can you add the recipe and instructions for that too? Thank you!