Pecan Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast

With very little effort required, this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a simple poultry seasoning, smoked over a pan of cranberry infused water for a moist smoking environment, with smoky coals, pecan wood chunks, and wet applewood chips. Tender, juicy turkey like no other! | TheMountainKitchen.com

Turkey is not just for Thanksgiving! This pecan applewood smoked turkey breast will change the way you think about turkey forever.

I ate this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast for 5 days and never once did not get tired of eating it.

It’s true… just ask David.

My favorite way to eat this turkey breast was cold, wrapped in a habanero tortilla, with lettuce and diced tomatoes. It’s was a simple wrap sandwich, but that wrap was loaded with smoked turkey flavor.

I LOVED THIS TURKEY!

In fact, if we hadn’t of eaten it all, I would still be eating this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast right now. This pecan applewood smoked turkey breast was that good!

With very little effort required, this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a simple poultry seasoning, smoked over a pan of cranberry infused water for a moist smoking environment, with smoky coals, pecan wood chunks, and wet applewood chips. Tender, juicy turkey like no other! | TheMountainKitchen.com

This year for Thanksgiving my mama actually roasted an oven-stuffer chicken instead of turkey and no one even cared. Mama always roasts a really good turkey, but roasting a chicken was easier for her to make. My family devoured the chicken and no one missed the turkey.

Since we didn’t have turkey at Thanksgiving, it was the perfect time to smoke one. I have been begging David to smoke another turkey breast since the last one turned out so well. It’s not that he minds smoking meat. David loves any opportunity to fire up his grill or smoker but for some reason, he thinks that he’s supposed to smoke pork or ribs every time he fires one of them up. I finally convinced him to smoke a turkey breast and took advantage of the sales at the grocery stores during Thanksgiving weekend. 

We decided to use both pecan and applewood to smoke this turkey breast. Ideal for poultry, pecan has a stronger flavor than most fruitwood, but it is milder than hickory and mesquite. David added a large dry chunk of pecan wood to the coals for a nice rich smoke. Additionally, he added a hand full of wet applewood chips that had been soaked in water to amp up the flavor. Applewood has a mild subtle sweet, fruity flavor. The combination of the two worked really well together to enhance the flavor of this smoked turkey breast.

With very little effort required, this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a simple poultry seasoning, smoked over a pan of cranberry infused water for a moist smoking environment, with smoky coals, pecan wood chunks, and wet applewood chips. Tender, juicy turkey like no other! | TheMountainKitchen.com

For the rub, we didn’t go all out with dry rub spice blends like we have in the past. We actually were a little lazy and used McCormick’s Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning (Is it a “fowl” to use chicken seasoning on a turkey? Pun intended!) And since turkey and cranberries go so well together, we decided to add some pure cranberry juice that we had leftover from when we made sangria for our party. In case you didn’t know, pure cranberry juice tastes like dammit by itself, but provides great flavor when used with other ingredients. The applewood smoked turkey we did before was good and moist, but this time we wanted to experiment with a drip pan that would infuse flavor.

And boy did it ever have flavor?!?!

With very little effort required, this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a simple poultry seasoning, smoked over a pan of cranberry infused water for a moist smoking environment, with smoky coals, pecan wood chunks, and wet applewood chips. Tender, juicy turkey like no other! | TheMountainKitchen.com

With this pecan applewood smoked turkey, you can forget about brines and the time wasted cooking parts of the turkey nobody even wants. With very little effort required, this smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a simple poultry seasoning, smoked over a pan of cranberry infused water for a moist smoking environment, with smoky coals, pecan wood chunks, and wet applewood chips. Tender, juicy turkey like no other!

Here’s how we did it:

With very little effort required, this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a simple poultry seasoning, smoked over a pan of cranberry infused water for a moist smoking environment, with smoky coals, pecan wood chunks, and wet applewood chips. Tender, juicy turkey like no other! | TheMountainKitchen.com

Pecan Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast | Servings: 6-7 | Time: 5 ½ hours

 What’s Needed:

Prepare the turkey for the smoker:

Rinse the (thawed) turkey breast and pat dry with paper towels.

Season the meat on all sides with the rotisserie seasoning and rub it into the skin. I rubbed the turkey the morning before the turkey went on the grill, then placed it back into the refrigerator until it was needed. You can rub the turkey up to 24-hours prior to going on the smoker. Allowing the meat to sit in the refrigerator for several hours allows the rub to penetrate the meat even more.

With very little effort required, this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a simple poultry seasoning, smoked over a pan of cranberry infused water for a moist smoking environment, with smoky coals, pecan wood chunks, and wet applewood chips. Tender, juicy turkey like no other! | TheMountainKitchen.com

Prepare the Grill or Smoker:

Soak a few handfuls applewood chips for about 30 minutes in warm water before placing on the coals.

Set it up a charcoal grill indirect heat, using charcoal baskets to help retain the charcoal. 

Preheat the grill to 250 degrees F. To maintain this low temperature, use only half as much charcoal as usual. (A half chimney-full.) 

Knowing the temp in your grill is crucial, you may want to purchase a dual probe digital BBQ thermometer that reads the temperature of the grate as well as the meat. David has one with a remote and loves it!

Smoke the turkey:

When the grill is within the ideal temperature range, you are ready to smoke! Place the turkey breast on the hot grate over the drip pan, toss a hand full of the soaked applewood chips and a dry chunk of pecan wood onto the coals; cover the grill.

With very little effort required, this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a simple poultry seasoning, smoked over a pan of cranberry infused water for a moist smoking environment, with smoky coals, pecan wood chunks, and wet applewood chips. Tender, juicy turkey like no other! | TheMountainKitchen.com

With very little effort required, this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a simple poultry seasoning, smoked over a pan of cranberry infused water for a moist smoking environment, with smoky coals, pecan wood chunks, and wet applewood chips. Tender, juicy turkey like no other! | TheMountainKitchen.com

Fill an aluminum drip pan with a 50/50 mixture of pure cranberry juice and water and place it directly underneath the meat to stabilize the temperature. Unless you fill the pan pretty well, this water is likely to evaporate during the smoking process, so be prepared to refill the pan as necessary.

With very little effort required, this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a simple poultry seasoning, smoked over a pan of cranberry infused water for a moist smoking environment, with smoky coals, pecan wood chunks, and wet applewood chips. Tender, juicy turkey like no other! | TheMountainKitchen.com

David likes to use a combination of dry and wet wood chips, alternating between the two. The dry gives a quick intense smoke and brings the heat up. The wet wood chunks provide a lower, slower smoke and bring the heat down. Heat adjustments can be made using this technique.

Smoke the Turkey Breast Low and slow:

Check the temperature of the grill every hour or so, staying as close to 250 degrees F as possible. Resist the temptation to open the lid, unless there is little to no smoke coming out of the top. Only open the lid to add more charcoal or soaked wood chips to maintain temperature and smoke.

With very little effort required, this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a simple poultry seasoning, smoked over a pan of cranberry infused water for a moist smoking environment, with smoky coals, pecan wood chunks, and wet applewood chips. Tender, juicy turkey like no other! | TheMountainKitchen.com

Check for Doneness:

After at least 4-hours, check the temperature of the meat to see where it is and get an idea of how much more time it will need to smoke.

With very little effort required, this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a simple poultry seasoning, smoked over a pan of cranberry infused water for a moist smoking environment, with smoky coals, pecan wood chunks, and wet applewood chips. Tender, juicy turkey like no other! | TheMountainKitchen.com

Smoke the turkey breast until a dark “bark” (outside crust) forms and the internal temperature of the meat is about 170 to 180 degrees F, about 5 hours. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. A lot of turkey breast come with a pop-up timer. Use it as a guide, but it is wise to double-check the temperature to make sure it is at least 165 to 170 degrees F before removing from the smoker. Remember, a long low smoke allows this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast to become tender, juicy and full of so much flavor, but don’t overcook it or it will become dry.

With very little effort required, this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a simple poultry seasoning, smoked over a pan of cranberry infused water for a moist smoking environment, with smoky coals, pecan wood chunks, and wet applewood chips. Tender, juicy turkey like no other! | TheMountainKitchen.com

Rest the Turkey:

After the smoked turkey breast is completely done, remove it from the grill. Place it on a carving plate or board to allow it to rest as you would with grilled or roasted meats. Allowing the turkey breast to rest lets the meat fibers relax, moisture that was driven out is redistributed and reabsorbed by some of the dissolved proteins. Rested meat holds on to more of its natural juices. A good 15 to 20 minutes rest should do under loosely tented foil.

Slice and Serve:

To carve the smoked turkey breast, remove the pop-up indicator (if applicable). Slice the breast against the grain into ½-inch slices. Perfectly cooked meat should be moist and juicy.

With very little effort required, this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a simple poultry seasoning, smoked over a pan of cranberry infused water for a moist smoking environment, with smoky coals, pecan wood chunks, and wet applewood chips. Tender, juicy turkey like no other! | TheMountainKitchen.com

David claims that this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast wasn’t as good as I make it out to be, but that’s because it wasn’t pork smothered in bbq sauce… I have already told him that I want him to smoke another turkey breast soon, or I will do it myself!! We shall see…

I hope you will enjoy this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast as much as I did!

 

Pecan Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
5 hrs
Total Time
5 hrs 30 mins
 
With very little effort required, this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a simple poultry seasoning, smoked over a pan of cranberry infused water for a moist smoking environment, with smoky coals, pecan wood chunks, and wet applewood chips. Tender, juicy turkey like no other!
Course: lunch, Main Course
Author: Debbie & David Spivey
Ingredients
  • 6-7 pound boneless turkey breast thawed if frozen (adjust cooking time depending on weight)
  • Water Smoker or Charcoal Grill
  • Apple Wood Chips soaked in water
  • Pecan Wood Chunks dry
  • Charcoal Royal Oak is our brand of choice
  • Aluminum Pan
  • 50/50 Water / Cranberry Juice
  • Tongs
  • Meat Thermometer
  • MCCORMICK® PERFECT PINCH® ROTISSERIE CHICKEN SEASONING
Instructions
Prepare the turkey for the smoker:
  1. Rinse the (thawed) turkey breast and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Season the meat on all sides with the rotisserie seasoning and rub it into the skin. I rubbed the turkey the morning before the turkey went on the grill, then placed it back into the refrigerator until it was needed. You can rub the turkey up to 24-hours prior to going on the smoker. Allowing the meat to sit in the refrigerator for several hours allows the rub to penetrate the meat even more.
Prepare the Grill or Smoker:
  1. Soak a few handfuls applewood chips for about 30 minutes in warm water before placing on the coals.
  2. Set it up a charcoal grill indirect heat, using charcoal baskets to help retain the charcoal. Fill an aluminum drip pan with a 50/50 mixture of pure cranberry juice and water and place it directly underneath the meat to stabilize the temperature. Unless you fill the pan pretty well, this water is likely to evaporate during the smoking process, so be prepared to refill the pan as necessary.
  3. Preheat the grill to 250 degrees F. To maintain this low temperature, use only half as much charcoal as usual. (A half chimney-full.)
  4. Knowing the temp in your grill is crucial, you may want to purchase a dual probe digital BBQ thermometer that reads the temperature of the grate as well as the meat. David has one with a remote and loves it!
Smoke the turkey:
  1. When the grill is within the ideal temperature range, you are ready to smoke! Place the turkey breast on the hot grate over the drip pan, toss a hand full of the soaked applewood chips and a dry chunk of pecan wood onto the coals; cover the grill.
  2. David likes to use a combination of dry and wet wood chips, alternating between the two. The dry gives a quick intense smoke and brings the heat up. The wet wood chunks provide a lower, slower smoke and bring the heat down. Heat adjustments can be made using this technique.
Smoke the Turkey Breast Low and slow:
  1. Check the temperature of the grill every hour or so, staying as close to 250 degrees F as possible. Resist the temptation to open the lid, unless there is little to no smoke coming out of the top. Only open the lid to add more charcoal or soaked wood chips to maintain temperature and smoke.
Check for Doneness:
  1. After at least 4-hours, check the temperature of the meat to see where it is and get an idea of how much more time it will need to smoke.
  2. Smoke the turkey breast until a dark “bark” (outside crust) forms and the internal temperature of the meat is about 170 to 180 degrees F, about 5 hours. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. A lot of turkey breast come with a pop-up timer. Use it as a guide, but it is wise to double-check the temperature to make sure it is at least 165 to 170 degrees F before removing from the smoker. Remember, a long low smoke allows this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast to become tender, juicy and full of so much flavor, but don't overcook it or it will become dry.
Rest the Turkey:
  1. After the smoked turkey breast is completely done, remove it from the grill. Place it on a carving plate or board to allow it to rest as you would with grilled or roasted meats. Allowing the turkey breast to rest lets the meat fibers relax, moisture that was driven out is redistributed and reabsorbed by some of the dissolved proteins. Rested meat holds on to more of its natural juices. A good 15 to 20 minutes rest should do under loosely tented foil.
Slice and Serve:
  1. To carve the smoked turkey breast, remove the pop-up indicator (if applicable). Slice the breast against the grain into ½-inch slices. Perfectly cooked meat should be moist and juicy.

 

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6 thoughts on “Pecan Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast

  1. OK, first, your food photography is EPIC! I LOVE the shots of the turkey with David cooking in the background. Your photography does an amazing job telling the story! Second, this recipe looks crazy amazing! I’m not into turkey but you better believe I’m making this with chicken! You’re seriously making me crave grilling season! Awesome job 🙂

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