Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast

Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast

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This applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a blend of warm spices and smoked over a bed of coals and applewood. It is moist, tender, and delicious!

Growing up, a turkey was just meat you ate once a year at Thanksgiving. Sometimes I would have some processed slices to go on a sandwich, but other than that, that was the only turkey I ate. Don’t get me wrong, it was always good, but it was always about the same, just roasted turkey.

Through the years, I have done some recipes using turkey, but I had never had home cooked smoked turkey before. In fact, the closest I have ever come to it was out of a deli case in a grocery store. David had smoked a turkey many years ago and told me all the time how good it was.

Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast | This applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a blend of warm spices and smoked over a bed of coals and applewood. It is moist, tender and delicious. | TheMountainKitchen.com

If you recall, David got a new Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker at the end of last summer and all he has smoked on it has been pork. I am not a huge pork fan, I have been after David to smoke me a smoked turkey for some time. He had agreed to smoke me a turkey breast when we were home and the weather was more cooperative.

A few weeks ago, the weather broke and it was nice on the mountain, with hints of spring in the air. We fired up the smoker and smoked a turkey!

Applewood Smoked Turkey | TheMountainKitchen.com

We purchased a refrigerated 6-pound turkey breast from the grocery store. A whole turkey would have been way too much for just the two of us. The bird was a beauty and had one of those cute built-in pop-up timers to help us know when he was ready to eat.

Technically, the water smoker would provide enough moisture itself, so we eliminated brining the turkey. David told me to decide on a rub for the turkey and mix one up. So, that’s exactly what I did.

Let’s smoke a turkey!

Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast | This applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a blend of warm spices and smoked over a bed of coals and applewood. It is moist, tender and delicious. | TheMountainKitchen.com

Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast | Servings: 6-8 | Time: 4-5 Hours

What’s Needed:

Turkey Rub:

  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

How To Make Smoked Applewood Turkey

#1 Prep the Turkey

We recommend that you rub the turkey prior to it going on the smoker. You could even do it 24-hours prior. I rubbed the turkey and put it back into the refrigerator until the smoker was ready. To do this, simply wash the turkey well and pat dry. Mix rub ingredients together, making sure to break down in clumps of brown sugar. I used a mortar and pestle. It really wakes up the spices and breaks up any clumps.

Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast | This applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a blend of warm spices and smoked over a bed of coals and applewood. It is moist, tender and delicious. | TheMountainKitchen.com

Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl (make sure to work out any clumps of the brown sugar for even distribution) and stir to mix (A mortar and pestle is a great tool for this!). Rub onto the meat on all sides. If you have time, wrap the turkey breast in plastic wrap and let it cure in the refrigerator for at least 4-hours or as long as overnight. Smoking the meat right away is ok, but sitting in the refrigerator for several hours allows the rub to penetrate the meat.

Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast | This applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a blend of warm spices and smoked over a bed of coals and applewood. It is moist, tender and delicious. | TheMountainKitchen.com

#2 Prep the Smoker or Grill

Smoking is a form of indirect cooking and usually takes place over a period of hours over low temperatures. Set up the smoker for the burn-down method.

To do this, fill the charcoal bed with unlit coals and add only a few lit coals to the very top. The coals on top slowly light the ones underneath and burn down slowly over time. If using a charcoal grill, set it up for an indirect heat technique with a drip pan filled with water directly underneath the meat to stabilize the temperature.

Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast | This applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a blend of warm spices and smoked over a bed of coals and applewood. It is moist, tender and delicious. | TheMountainKitchen.com

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

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

#3 Smoking the Turkey

When the smoker or grill is 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 wood chips and some dry wood chips onto the coals and cover the grill.

Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast | This applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a blend of warm spices and smoked over a bed of coals and applewood. It is moist, tender and delicious. | 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.

Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast | This applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a blend of warm spices and smoked over a bed of coals and applewood. It is moist, tender and delicious. | TheMountainKitchen.com

Bring the temperature up to 250 degrees F, using the vents to regulate the temperature. Knowing the temp in your grill is crucial, so if your grill doesn’t have a temperature gauge, purchase a digital BBQ thermometer.

#4 Low and Slow

Check the temperature of the grill every hour, staying as close to 250 degrees F as possible. Resist the temptation to open the lid. Only open the charcoal door or the lid if you need to add more charcoal or soaked wood chips to maintain temperature and smoke.

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.

Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast | This applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a blend of warm spices and smoked over a bed of coals and applewood. It is moist, tender and delicious. | TheMountainKitchen.com

#5 Test for Doneness

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. As I said, our smoked turkey breast had a nice pop-up timer!

Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast | This applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a blend of warm spices and smoked over a bed of coals and applewood. It is moist, tender and delicious. | TheMountainKitchen.com

#6 Rest the Turkey

After the smoked turkey breast is completely done, remove it from the smoker or grill and allow it to rest as you would with grilled or roasted meats. Allowing the turkey breast to rest before slicing or serving it 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.

#7 Slicing and Serving the Smoked Turkey Breast

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.

Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast | This applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a blend of warm spices and smoked over a bed of coals and applewood. It is moist, tender and delicious. | TheMountainKitchen.com

You can serve it simply sliced on a plate or you could serve as a sandwich. We found that it was better cold out of the refrigerator. The smoke flavor is intensified by the cold, but no matter how it is served the meat is always tender and juicy.

Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast | This applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a blend of warm spices and smoked over a bed of coals and applewood. It is moist, tender and delicious. | TheMountainKitchen.com
Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast | This applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a blend of warm spices and smoked over a bed of coals and applewood. It is moist, tender and delicious. | TheMountainKitchen.com

The sandwiches we made with this smoked turkey breast, were some of the best I had ever eaten. I cannot wait to smoke another turkey breast.

David Spivey better get ready!

Happy Smokin’!

Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast
applewood smoked turkey breast with rub
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5 from 1 vote

Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast

This applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a blend of warm spices and smoked over a bed of coals and applewood. It is moist, tender and delicious.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword applewood, smoked turkey
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 517kcal

Ingredients

What’s Needed:

Turkey Rub:

  • ¼ cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

Instructions

#1 Prep the turkey

  • We recommend that you rub the turkey prior to it going on the smoker. You could even do it 24-hours prior. I rubbed the turkey the morning before the turkey went on the smoker, then placed it back into the refrigerator until it was needed. To do this, simply wash the turkey well and pat dry. Mix rub ingredients together, making sure to break down in clumps of brown sugar. I used a mortar and pestle. It really wakes up the spices and breaks up any clumps.
  • Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl (make sure to work out any clumps of the brown sugar for even distribution) and stir to mix. Rub onto the meat on all sides. If you have time, wrap the turkey breast in plastic wrap and let it cure in the refrigerator for at least 4-hours or as long as overnight. Smoking the meat right away is ok, but sitting in the refrigerator for several hours allows the rub to penetrate the meat.

#2 Prep the Smoker or Grill

  • Smoking is a form of indirect cooking and usually takes place over a period of hours over low temperatures. Set up your smoker for what is called the burn-down method. To do this, fill the charcoal bed with unlit coals and add only a few lit coals to the very top. The coals on top slowly light the ones underneath and burn down slowly over time. If using a charcoal grill, set it up for an indirect heat technique with a drip pan filled with water directly underneath the meat to stabilize the temperature.
  • Soak a few handfuls applewood chips for about 30 minutes in warm water before placing on the coals.
  • Preheat the grill to 250 degrees F. To maintain this low temperature, use only half as much charcoal as usual. (A half chimney-full.)

#3 Smoking the turkey

  • When the smoker or grill is 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 wood chips and some dry wood chips onto the coals and cover the grill.
  • 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.
  • Bring the temperature up to 250 degrees F, using the vents to regulate the temperature. Knowing the temp in your grill is crucial, so if your grill doesn’t have a temperature gauge, purchase a digital BBQ thermometer.

#4 Low and slow

  • Check the temperature of the grill every hour, staying as close to 250 degrees F as possible. Resist the temptation to open the lid. Only open the charcoal door or the lid if you need to add more charcoal or soaked wood chips to maintain temperature and smoke. 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.

#5 Test for doneness

  • 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. Like I said, our turkey had a nice pop-up timer!

#6 Resting the turkey

  • After the turkey is completely done, remove it from the smoker or grill and allow it to rest as you would with grilled or roasted meats. Allowing the turkey to rest before slicing or serving it 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.

#7 Slicing and Serving the turkey

  • To carve the turkey, 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.

Notes

You can serve it simply sliced on a plate or you could serve as a sandwich. We found that it was better cold out of the refrigerator. The smoke flavor is intensified by the cold, but no matter how it is served the meat is always tender and juicy.

Nutrition

Calories: 517kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 98g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 244mg | Sodium: 1760mg | Potassium: 1257mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2115IU | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 4.3mg
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