Smoked Grilled Turkey Breast


Smoked Grilled Turkey Breast

Smoked grilled turkey breast is a great weekend meal and you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to make it. But if you are looking for a small easy holiday meal idea this can be your delicious meaty main course. For this recipe we are using a pellet smoker but you can definitely adapt this to cook on your stick burner or drum smoker.

Ingredients

  • 6 pounds turkey breast
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 8 tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 tablespoons Plowboys Yardbird

For this recipe, we are making an injection and skipping a brine. You can always do a brine but we found that the injection is enough to keep this turkey breast very juicy. To prepare the injection, start with 4 cloves of garlic and give them a rough chop. Next add 1 – 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary. Next, add 1 teaspoon of Plowboys Yardbird BBQ rub. Finally, add 1 stick of salted butter. Cook this mixture on a medium heat for at least 10 minutes then allow it to cool down. Next, heavily coat all sides of the turkey breast with Plowboys Yardbird BBQ rub (or you can use the rub of your choice). It’s also a good idea to loosen up and pull back the skin around the neck area. After you do that, apply some rub directly to the exposed breast meat. Next use an injector to draw in the melted butter and inject it into various areas on the turkey breast. Use up all the butter leaving behind the garlic and herbs. Allow the turkey to rest on the counter for 20 minutes while you fire up the smoker.

For this cook, use pecan wood pellets and set the temp to 250 F. When the smoker reaches temperature, add the turkey breast to the smoker and insert temperature probes if you have them. The target temperature for the smoking phase will be between 150 F and 155 F. This should take around 3 to 5 hours depending on the weight of your turkey breast. When the temperatures are close to the target range, it’s time to fire up the grill. Let your grill warm up then set it to low 300 F – 350 F. Transfer the turkey breast to the grill and place it skin side down. Cook the turkey breast with the lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes minutes then flip it to skin side up. Continue cooking with the lid closed for another 10 to 20 minutes until the meat reaches 165 F in the thick areas of the breast. Pull the turkey from the grill and allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving. Slice up and enjoy!

Smoked Grilled Dry Rub Wings


Smoked Grilled Dry Rub Wings

Smoked grilled chicken wings are by far the best tasting wings you can make in your back yard. When you combine smoke flavor along with the fire of your grill it’s truly heaven. People that hate grilled wings have eaten these and love them. If you have a pellet smoker and a grill, give this recipe a try and you might never go back to plain old grilled wings again!

Ingredients

  • 8 pounds chicken wings
  • 1 qt apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sage powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon Lawry’s Lemon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Goya Adobo
  • 1 tablespoon Killer Hogs AP Rub
  • 1 tablespoon Plowboys Yardbird
  • 1 tablespoon JCS Caribbean chicken
  • 1 tablespoon JCS Boston dry jerk
  • 1 tablespoon Everglades Heat
  • 1 tablespoon Badia sazon caliente

First thing to do is to separate the flats from the drums. If you need to save space on the smoker or the grill, go ahead and remove the wing tips from the flats. The next thing to do is to brine the chicken wings at least 8 hours or overnight so that they stay moist during the smoking process. So to keep things simple, add the chicken to a 1 gallon zip seal bag (1 bag per 4 pounds of chicken). For the brine we are going to use apple juice as the base liquid, and this will add a nice background flavor to the chicken meat. Start by pouring roughly 2 cups (more if needed) of apple juice into each bag. Next add 1 -2 tablespoons of kosher salt, then optionally 1/2 teaspoon of powdered sage, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary. The herbs are optional but they also add a nice background flavor directly into the chicken meat.

When the brine is complete and it is time to cook, you should wash off the herbs from the wings. The next thing to do is to lay out the wings on cooling racks for seasoning and cooking. If you are not familiar with cooling racks, they are an inexpensive way to move your food from the kitchen to the smoker and back again. And when you are dealing with a bunch of chicken wings their usefulness becomes obvious. So the next thing to do is to apply a coating of dry rub on all sides of each wing. Here are 4 recipes that we recommend you to try.

Flavor ~ Lemon pepper
Lawry’s lemon pepper
Goya adobo

Flavor ~ BBQ
Plowboys yardbird
Killer Hogs AP rub

Flavor ~ Carribean
JCS Caribbean chicken seasoning
JCS Boston dry jerk

Flavor ~ Miami Heat
Everglades Heat
Badia sazon caliente

After the wings are seasoned, fire up the smoker at 175 with hickory or pecan pellets. You can also use a pellet tube with hickory or pecan pellets to add more smoke flavor. When the smoker reaches temp, place the cooling racks of wings into the smoker. Smoke for 1 hour then remove the racks and flip the wings. Place the racks back in the smoker in different positions so that wings in a hot zone move to a cooler zone. This step is not required but it can enhance your cooking process. Continue to smoke the wings for 1 more hour then check the temperature of several flats and drums. Because we will finish these wings on the grill, the target temp will come in about 15 degrees less than 165F. So shoot for 150F as your done temp on the smoker. When the wings are getting close to 150F, fire up the grill and get it preheated on low 300 – 350F. When the wings reach the target temperature, transfer them to the grill and cook them roughly 5 minutes per side. Pull the wings when they reach at least 165F. If you have made several flavors you can wrap each flavor in a sheet of foil to keep them seperate and warm.

Pellet Smoked Turkey


Pellet Smoked Turkey

Turkey for me, turkey for you! Smoking a whole turkey on a pellet smoker is easier than you think! The key steps are brining the turkey to retain moisture, spatchcocking (or butterfly) the turkey to ensure all parts cook evenly, and never going over the finish temperature. Everything else such as seasonings, injections, and wood selections simply enhance the final product. Nobody wants to mess up an all important Thanksgiving meal or Christmas dinner. If you have never smoked turkey on your pellet smoker before, use this recipe with chicken (and cook to temp not time). If you are a seasoned pro with smoking chickens, you can easily step up to smoking turkey (which is basically a big chicken).

Ingredients

  • 1 10 – 15 pound turkey
  • 2 64 oz bottles of apple juice
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 5 sprigs fresh sage
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 cup Kosher salt
  • 1 cup Killer Hogs AP Rub
  • 1 cup Plowboys Yardbird Rub

Thawing
This recipe needs 2 days of preparation prior to the Thanksgiving day cook. Usually your turkey will be fully frozen and if so let it thaw out in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

Spatchcocking
When the turkey is thawed, remove it from the packaging and remove any giblets and pop up thermometers. Next, cut out the backbone using kitchen shears or a chef’s knife. Cut from the tail along the side of the backbone up to the neck. Repeat this step on the other side of the backbone and remove it completely. Following this, cut the breastbone in the center and now you can flatten out the turkey. This flattening of the bird is called spatchcocking and it will allow the breast and thigh meat to reach their finishing temperatures at the same time. And don’t throw way that backbone, it’s perfect for making gravy or turkey broth!

Brining
The next step is to brine the turkey for 24 hours. Place the turkey in an XL Ziploc bag or a brine bucket. Add the kosher salt, peppercorns, 4 sprigs of sage, thyme, and rosemary. Next pour in the 2 containers of apple juice and add water if needed until the turkey is submerged. Next seal the Ziploc bag while forcing out any air inside the bag. Use a zip tie or thick rubber band to collapse the empty top of the bag around the turkey (see video). Place the turkey back in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Injecting
When the brine is complete, remove the turkey from the Ziploc bag. Create an injection mix by crushing and mincing 3 garlic cloves. Add this to a small sauce pan or cast iron skillet along with 2 sticks of butter. Next add a sprig of fresh sage, rosemary and thyme. Heat the injection at medium temperature until the butter is fully melted. Allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes then remove it from the heat to cool. Once cooled use your injection needle to pump the turkey up with all the injection liquid. Start your injections in the breast meat followed by the thigh meat then drumsticks and finally the wings. You should be able to leave behind the big chunks of garlic and herbs.

Seasoning
Next season both sides of the turkey with salt pepper garlic rub (spg) as a base. For this recipe we are using Killer Hogs AP Rub. Following this, apply a poultry BBQ rub such as Plowboys Yardbird. As an optional step, you can pull back the skin over the breast and thigh and apply seasoning directly to the meat. However for some, this may be too salty and if you eat the skin you will have plenty of flavor from that. When you are done seasoning, place the turkey on an extra large cooling rack (21 x 15), then place that on a foil covered baker’s big sheet.

Smoking
Turkey can be smoked at temperatures ranging from 225 F up to 325 F. However there are some food safety concerns when smoking a turkey larger than 15 pounds at 250 F or less. For this recipe we recommend smoking at 300 F which can help crisp up the skin. Use a wood such as pecan or hickory. When your smoker reaches temp, place the baking sheet with the turkey on it in the smoker. Your total cook time will vary depending on the total weight of the turkey and cooking temperature. So when cooking at 300 F you will need to allow for approximately 15 to 20 minutes per pound. While cooking you should baste the turkey every 45 minutes. If you placed your turkey on a large cooking rack and baking sheet, the juices should accumulate in the sheet. Use a baster to draw in the juices and coat the turkey skin all over. If your juices end up evaporating, you can brush melted butter on the skin. Continue this cooking process until the approximate cooking time is reached. At that point, check the temperature in the thickest part of the breast meat and you want to see at least 160 F. Check the thighs and you should be at around 170 F. Take several readings at different locations of the meat and your lowest reading is the one to go with. When the turkey reaches temp, remove it from the smoker and cover it with aluminum foil. While the turkey is covered there will be some carryover cooking bringing the temps from 160 F up to at least 165 F which is the safe recommended temperature. Let the turkey rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.