Knowing how to smoke turkey breast over wood chips or wood pellets like a pro means you can make this wonderful smoked turkey breast recipe for the family. A tasty holiday turkey option, smoking adds a whole other layer of flavour to this juicy turkey breast. So fire up the Traeger grill or pellet smoker like you mean business for a tasty Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner!
Smoking poultry isn’t hard and you should enjoy finding out how to smoke turkey breast. I love this pellet smoker turkey recipe because it includes citrus, herbs and spices to promise an incredible flavour in every mouthful.
Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe Ingredients
It goes without saying the star of the show is the bird. Choose bone-in rather than boneless breast for the best results. If you are a fan of white meat, this is a recipe for you!
Amazing flavors come from the addition of orange juice and zest, vinegar, rosemary, sage, thyme, celery salt, garlic, onion, paprika, and both red and black pepper. Compound butter also goes well with this smoked turkey breast recipe and we can have a look at what exactly that is in a bit.
How to Make this Pellet Smoker Turkey Recipe
So if you’ve decided to make the best smoked turkey for your holiday menu, you’ll be pleased to know it’s not hard even for a new home chef. Everything from the citrus butter rub to the juicy turkey breast will make your Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner shine.
The first thing to do is thaw your turkey overnight if it’s frozen. Thaw it in the refrigerator. Next mix the butter with the vinegar and orange zest and juice to make your compound butter.
Use paper towels to pat the turkey dry and use your favourite pellets in the Traeger grill or pellet smoker auger. The best wood chunks are whatever you prefer, although hickory or mesquite would be good (or a mixture of the two!)
Preheat the smoker while you coat the turkey with the compound butter then rub rosemary, sage, thyme, celery salt, garlic and onion powders, paprika, and pepper all over the whole breast.
Smoke the turkey for about three hours or until it’s 160 degrees F in the thickest part. Slice and serve hot. Store leftovers in an airtight container for lunch the next day.
How to Tell When the Smoked Turkey Recipe is Done
Some recipes are really forgiving when it comes to the cooking time and going over it a bit. However, turkey isn’t one of them! Smoking a turkey breast on a pellet grill is something that needs to be watched to make sure it doesn’t dry out.
Although the butter will go some way to make sure it stays moist, smoking it for too long can dry it out. And nobody wants dried out turkey for their Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner!
This smoked Thanksgiving turkey recipe should come out well as long as you get the cooking time exactly right. To be sure of the internal temperature of the turkey, the best way is to use a digital thermometer or a meat thermometer.
Since every turkey breast is a slightly different shape and size and every Traeger grill or pellet smoker varies too, check the internal temperature every hour so you can whip the whole thing out of the smoker once it reaches 160 degrees F.
You can also use a boneless turkey breast, but you will need to monitor the timing as it will cook quicker than the times shown in the Traeger turkey breast recipe.
Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe FAQs
What about green beans and mashed potatoes? There is plenty of flavour in this smoked bone-in turkey breast so relatively plain sides would be perfect. A broccoli cheese casserole with roasted potatoes is another idea. You might like this smoked asparagus recipe as a side dish, too.
Compound butter is basically butter mixed with herbs, spices and/or other ingredients. It’s usually made with unsalted butter but you can use salted for it.
Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe
Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe
- 3.5 Pound turkey breast bone-in
- ½ Cup salted butter softened
- 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 Tablespoon orange juice fresh squeezed
- 1 Tablespoon orange zest
- ½ Teaspoon rosemary dried
- ½ Teaspoon sage dried
- ½ Teaspoon thyme
- 1 Teaspoon celery salt
- 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Teaspoon minced onion dried
- ½ Teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ Teaspoon black pepper
- 1 Pinch red pepper flakes
- Allow Turkey breast to thaw in the fridge overnight if frozen. If fresh, skip this step.
- In a small bowl combine butter, vinegar, orange zest, and orange juice. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Remove Turkey breast from the fridge and pat dry with paper towels.
- Fill the auger with your favorite pellets. I suggest hickory for this recipe.
- Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F lid closed for 15 minutes.
- In a small bowl or ramekin, combine rosemary, sage, thyme, celery salt, garlic powder, minced onion, smoked paprika, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Coat the turkey breast with the citrus butter. Use your hands to massage the butter into the turkey breast. **If leaving the skin on, be sure to get under the skin**
- Next, rub the seasoning into the breast on all sides.
- Place the Turkey onto a tray and into the smoker. Smoke for 3 hours (or until an internal temperature of 160 degrees F is reached. Do not rely solely on time to know if the turkey is ready as cooking times may vary, be sure to check using a meat thermometer every hour)
- Slice turkey and serve with your favourite sides.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Now you know how to smoke a turkey breast on a pellet grill! When smoked low and slow, this Traeger turkey breast recipe comes out perfectly. Bone-in turkey breast pairs with simple ingredients before smoking to perfection in your Traeger pellet grill. No wonder this easy smoker recipe is a family favorite for so many!
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Bella Bucchiotti is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for food, dogs, fitness, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.