This pecan applewood smoked turkey breast is rubbed with a basic poultry seasoning and smoked with smokey coals, pecan wood pieces, and wet applewood chips over a pan of cranberry flavored water for a moist smoking atmosphere. No other turkey is as tender and juicy as this one!
Pecan Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast
Turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving anymore! This pecan applewood smoked turkey breast will change the way you think about turkey forever.
I ate this pecan applewood smoked turkey breast nonstop for five days and didn’t get tired of it. Looking for best wood for smoking turkey? We have a list for you.
Prepare the Turkey for the Smoker
Rinse the (thawed) turkey breast before patting it dry with paper towels. Season the meat on all sides with rotisserie seasoning and rub it into the skin. The turkey was massaged the morning before it went on the grill, then refrigerated until needed. Before putting the turkey on the grill, massage it for up to 24 hours. Allowing the meat to sit in the fridge for several hours allows the rub to penetrate the meat even more deeply.
Prepare the Grill or Smoker
Soak applewood chips in warm water for 30 minutes before laying them on the coals. To keep the fuel in place, set up a charcoal grill with indirect heat and charcoal baskets.
Smoke the Turkey
When the grill reaches the desired temperature, it’s time to start smoking. Cover the grill and lay the turkey breast just above the drip pan on the hot grate. Into the fire, toss a handful of moistened applewood chips and a dry chunk of pecan wood.
Fill an aluminum drip pan halfway with pure cranberry juice and water and place it directly underneath the meat to keep the temperature consistent. If you don’t entirely fill the pan, the water will evaporate during the smoking process, so be prepared to refill it as necessary.
David prefers to use a mix of dry and wet wood chips, switching back and forth. The dry produces a short burst of powerful smoke that raises the temperature. The moist wood chunks produce a lighter, slower smoke that reduces the heat. This method can be used to make heat adjustments.
We prefer to use a combination of dry and wet wood chips, alternating between the two. The dry emits a forceful burst of smoke that raises the temperature. Because the damp wood bits emit a lighter, slower smoke, the heat is reduced. This method can be used to change the temperature.
Smoke the Turkey Breast Low and Slow
Every hour or so, check the temperature of the grill, aiming for a temperature of 250 degrees F. Resist the urge to open the lid unless there is little to no smoke coming out of it. Only open the lid to add more charcoal or wet wood chips to maintain the temperature and smoke consistent.
Check for Doneness
After at least 4-hours, check the temperature of the meat to see where it is and estimate how much longer it will need to smoke.
Smoke the turkey breast for about 5 hours, or until it develops a dark “bark” (outside crust) and reaches an internal temperature of 170 to 180 degrees F. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. A pop-up timer comes standard with many turkey breasts. Use it as a reference, but double-check the temperature before removing the meat from the smoker to ensure it is between 165 and 170 degrees F.
This pecan applewood smoked turkey breast is supple, juicy, and tasty thanks to a long low smoke, but don’t overcook it or it will dry out.
It’s vital to know what temperature your smoker or grill is at. Even if your smoker or grill has a temperature gauge, a digital BBQ thermometer like Thermoworks’ SmokeTM is a good investment. Thermoworks thermometers are among the most accurate on the market. Competition BBQ teams and expert cooks were the inspiration for this method. It has a two-channel alarm that uses probes to accurately read the temperature of the meat and pit.
Rest the Turkey
Once the smoked turkey breast is fully cooked, remove it from the grill. Place it on a carving plate or board to rest, just as you would with grilled or roasted meats. Resting the turkey breast causes the meat fibers to relax and some of the dissolved proteins to rearrange and absorb moisture that had been lost. Meat that has been rested maintains more of its natural fluids than meat that has not been rested. A good 15 to 20 minutes rest under lightly tented foil should enough.
Slice and Serve
Remove the pop-up indicator before carving the smoked turkey breast (if applicable). Cut the breast into 12-inch slices against the grain. Meat that has been cooked to perfection should be moist and juicy.