Using your pellet grill with simple steps is a great way to prepare a delicious turkey breast for family and friends at your next BBQ.
Cooking pellet grill turkey breast is not only convenient but yummy as well. It is way better than using a propane or electric smoker. Why, with a propane model, you need to keep an eye on it all the time (watching the wood chips so dull), keeping the temperature just right. Then you have the electric smoker to set and forget, but hey, they are limited on space and temperature ranges. Nah, neither does it give it that crispy, tasty skin as you get from your pellet grill. So before you get bored with us, let’s show you how to smoke a turkey breast on a pellet grill.
How Does a Smoke Turkey Breast Pellet Grill Work
Okay, chefs, before you can enjoy a smoked turkey breast pellet grill cuisine, it helps to know how it works. Are you completely new to cooking on a pellet grill? No worries, we’ve got you covered!
- First, add some hardwood to the side hopper. Then, check out the Bear Mountain Hardwood Pellets, a must for making the best barbeque. We love it. Okay, back to what you should do. The pellets are automatically fed into the box via the auger to the fire pot, providing heat and great smoky flavor.
- Depending on your smoker, it automatically controls the flow depending on the temperature setting used to maintain that even temp throughout the cooking process.
Great, you do not want to run in and out of the house trying to add more wood or adjust the airflow, right! So the best thing to do is to choose the correct temperature and constituents to enjoy your smoked turkey in time for lunch or even dinner now that we have that out of the way, what turkey breast should you buy. We’ve got you covered here as well. You thought we would forget, no, of course not. Oh, yes, and if you have not bought one yet, check out these amazing ones from Traeger or Pit Boss. (Refer to Traeger vs. Pit Boss article.)
What Turkey Breast Should You Buy?
Before you can prepare pellet grilled turkey breast, you first need to select it. Now, remember bigger is not always better. Why poultry is lean without a lot of fat as in pork butt or brisket. So choosing larger chunks of turkey leaves the inside less done than the outside. You do not want that.
Doing this with large fatty pieces of beef is fine as the added fat keeps the meat tender. But when you set the temperature high, your turkey dries out. Okay, we see you frowning. Don’t stress. We have some fun ways to keep smoked turkey breast pellet barbecuing scrumptious without drying out.
Cooking Boneless Pellet Grill Turkey Breast vs. Boned
Okay, we are not saying you cannot cook your large turkey breast. However, if you want to go massive, we recommend finding one boned-in or a double turkey breast where the bone runs down the center. Smoking bone-in meat retains the juices naturally without drying out as the bone acts as a heat sink on the inside of the meat. But remember, it takes longer to cook compared to the boneless meats.
Buy Non-Injected Turkey Breasts
Yip is complicated as many mass-market turkeys already have sodium solutions to retain the meat, SAD. When you cook it, the moisture evaporates into nothing. We prefer to inject or pickle in our raw turkey breast ourselves to control the ingredients put into our bodies. So how do you tell if that turkey is brined or not? Examine the label, and if you see moisture enhanced with up to % solution of broth, sugar, salt, and more, you know. If possible, look for a natural and raw turkey and visit a good meat market, or your butcher might be the best solution.
The Prepping of Your Turkey Breast
Great, now we get to the exciting stuff to prepare your turkey breast. First, take your time to rinse the meat, clean it, and dry it well after removing it from the package. Next, flip the turkey breast over to remove all the hanging skin and excess fat near the edges and corners. While it might not need much trimming, it helps clean it up before starting with your brine, injecting, and seasoning.
First Step: Pickling The Turkey Breast
A what? Okay, if you have never heard of wet brining, all it is to soak your turkey breast in a solution with salt, water, aromatics and leave it overnight. Great, but what does it do? The flavoring naturally penetrates and flavors the meat but also helps retain condensation when cooking. Cool, but must I brine the meat before barbecuing it?
It depends on the type of turkey breast you bought. If the meat is injected with brine, then don’t bother. But if it is organic turkey breast without the injected brine, take your time to do it. There are many different brine recipes available online, and a classic one is from Alton Brown found here. Or save some time and invest in a Brine Kit such as this one from San Francisco Salt Co. that pairs well with your Apple Wood Smoke.
Another method is using dry brine if you want to skip the whole wet brine process instead. All you need to do is coat the meat inside and out with kosher salt and ground pepper. Then, leave it on a drying shelf on top of a baking sheet overnight in the refrigerator. Before placing it on your grid, remove the excess salt using a wet paper towel.
Now do not go and add salted seasoning to the recipe as your turkey breast is salty enough. Instead, only use non-salted herbs such as rosemary and seasoning. Not only is it less messy, but it dries the surface out, making it brown and crispier faster.
Doctoring The Turkey Breast with an Injection
We just had to say that! The final surgical process is to add salt and other moisture-retaining qualities to the meat. Please retain doing this if it already has an injected solution as mentioned previously, or you will have your guests grabbing for water from the saltiness. So what seasoning works best? You can use a mix of melted butter, turkey stock, your favorite BBQ rub, or cajun spices. To achieve the best results, use a steel meat injector such as the Ofargo. In the package are a variety of injector sizes and tips to use with minced garlic and herbs.
Okay, now we are going to confuse you further. If you do decide to inject the food, there is no need for dry brining overnight. The reason is that the flavoring will be on the inside and outside to help retain flavors. Furthermore, your turkey will be a bit heavier with the added weight and takes longer to cook. Please place it in an aluminum pan to capture the runoff and do this surgical process every two to three inches around and across the surface at the different depth levels. Leave it standing in the fridge for up to two hours to diffuse before placing it on your grill.
Seasoned Pellet Grill Turkey Breast
For dry brining, we recommend going easy with your flavoring, especially with salt. You can add some low barbeque rub or herbs instead. If you went the needle way, you could add a saltier rub on the surface with spicy flavoring or cajun rub. To spice it up more, add some oil if you wish to help with rubbing the seasoning but not too much, or it may have difficulty crisping up. Do you want the crispiest results? Brine your turkey overnight using the dry brine method then there is no need to use oil.
Smoking Your Turkey Breast
Now comes the easy part:
- Add your preferred pellets to the hopper and leave it to preheat. Then, please leave it to go through the whole process of starting up.
- Place your turkey on the grid once it reaches the temp and stops sending up white smoke signals.
Great guys, but how do I set the temperature for my smoked turkey breast pellet grill? You can set the temp to 325 degrees and leave it until it reaches the temp. Technically, you can also do it at a low steady flame of 225° to 250 degrees like brisket or pork. But it will not get crispy as the grease underneath the skin does not render at low temps. If you make it at high heat, preferably, do not use a BBQ rub with lots of sugar as it is carbonized and burns.
How Long to Smoke a Turkey Breast
Place your turkey breast in the chamber with the breast side down and let your grill do the remainder. Alternatively, you can place it on a roasting rack shaped in a V to make managing it easier inside the grill. A great one to use is this one from Norpo. The rectangular bottom rests comfortably on the grates and does not fall between them.
Moreover, if you want to collect those flavored drips, place the elevated turkey breasts on a foil roasting container to make some sauce later. Doing this allows the smoke to circulate the food, making the skin crisp. Finally, you can rotate the turkey using insulated gloves hourly.
Your turkey breast can take up to 15 minutes per point to cook and depends if the meat is boned or not. So you can expect to wait for up to three hours at the most. Wow, that long! Yes, but you can regularly monitor to see if it is done by doing the following.
How To Check if the Turkey Breast is Done Smoking
To do this, you need to examine the internal temperature periodically. When the internal temp reaches 165°F using a probe, it is cooked. We use the Kuluner waterproof one and work amazing to take instant readings of food temperatures. Then, please remove it from the shelf and leave it to rest for half an hour before serving the juicy turkey. Doing this makes it perfect for everyone to enjoy.
CHECK OUT THIS GREAT VIDEO NOW TO HELP WITH MAKING YOUR PELLET GRILL TURKEY BREAST!
Final Thoughts Always Plan Ahead
When it comes to pellet grill turkey breasts, the best is to plan for things to go as planned on that day. Then, try out different log pellets and rubs to spice things up. For autumn, bring in those seasonal flavors from thyme to sage by adding cider vinegar to the injection. Then, smoke your turkey breast with a fruitwood pellet from apple to pecan. You will not be disappointed.