The reason I brine and smoke a turkey breast on Thanksgiving is because my kids hate turkey! Can you believe that?
I usually make a ham for them instead. However, since my husband and I like turkey, I found that brining and smoking a turkey breast is just the perfect about of turkey for the two of us, including leftovers.
So I’ve created a special turkey breast brining recipe that will work if you’re just cooking or smoking a turkey breast or making an extra turkey breast along with a full sized turkey.
(See my post, Brining and smoking your Thanksgiving turkey, on how to brine and cook a full sized bird.)
The first time I used this brined and smoked turkey breast recipe, it turned out so well that my daughter, Lucie, decided that she did like turkey and had some.
The meat turkey was incredibly juicy, moist and tender and unbelievably flavorful.
My husband and I liked it so much that I may forget about making Smoked Beer Can Chicken ever again. Why not make brined and smoked turkey breast year round instead of just for Thanksgiving and Christmas?
What’s nice is that if you have a smaller smoker like a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker or a smaller version of the Kamado Joe Grill, you don’t have to worry about about a turkey breast being too big to fit.
(I’ve had some large turkeys that barely fit in my smoker, and I was lucky just to be able to get the smoker door shut!)
If you have a larger smoker, then you’ll have plenty of room for a regular turkey and a turkey breast – or two!
Used brined and smoked turkey breast in your turkey leftover recipes
If you’re making a full sized bird, you may want to use this recipe for smoked turkey breast so you have plenty of meat leftover for sandwiches and leftover dishes like:
In my opinion, you can never have too much turkey left over!
This Mama’s Tips for brining and smoking a turkey breast
If you can’t find Holland House Sake Cooking Wine, another good product is Kikkoman Ryorishi Cooking Sake Seasoning.
What I love about this turkey brining recipe, is all you need is a 12-quart covered stockpot to make the brine and brine the turkey in. No messing with brining bags and coolers!
Finally, don’t forget to buy a few extra turkey breasts while they’re on sale.
This turkey breast brining and smoking recipe isn’t just for the holidays! I’m thinking barbecues and turkey sandwiches for the Big Game, how about you?
More turkey recipes for your smoker
Brined and Smoked Turkey Breast
- 8 cups apple cider
- 3/4 cup Holland House Sake Cooking Wine
- 1/4 cup Nakano All Natural Rice Vinegar
- 1/2 cup sorghum syrup
- 3/4 cup kosher salt
- 12 fresh sage leaves
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 1 bunch fresh chives
- 3 fresh lemon thyme sprigs
- 2 1-inch pieces of ginger, peeled
- 4 cups ice cubes
- 1 (5-6 pound) bone-in turkey breast
- Bring cider, Holland House Sake Cooking Wine, and next 8 ingredients to a boil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes until salt and sorghum are dissolved. Remove pot from heat, stir in ice. Cover and place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Place turkey in brine. (Brine should mostly cover turkey. If it doesn’t, find a smaller pot. If the turkey still isn’t fully covered, you’ll need to turn it over in the brine about half way through the process.) Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 5 to 12 hours. (Do not over brine your turkey or you’ll end up with salty meat!)
- Prepare your smoker according to manufacturer's directions, bringing internal temperature to 225 degrees F using your favorite type of wood chips.
- Remove turkey from brine, and pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey low in smoker and cook for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 165 to 170 degrees F.
- Remove turkey, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let stand 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.
- Serving size: 3/4 to 1/2 pound of turkey meat
Originally posted on November 21, 2013. Updated with new pictures and information.