Oven Roasted Turkey Breast

Oven Roasted Turkey Breast

Thanksgiving is coming up soon and it’s time to talk turkey! When a full turkey is too much for your household, try a bone in turkey breast. These are usually around 8 pounds and serve at least 4 people. For this recipe we are going to soak the turkey overnight in a brine. Brining a turkey will help to flavor the turkey and keep it juicy. This is an optional step as many turkeys from the store are already injected with a basting solution to add flavor and juiciness. But if you have the time, give the brine a try. Another important step is to dry out the skin so that it gets nice and crispy. This recipe will go over several techniques for drying out the skin.

Ingredients

  • 7 – 8 pound bone in turkey breast
  • 12 sprigs thyme
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 gallon water


If your turkey breast is frozen, let it thaw in the refrigerator for 2 days.


First create a brine by boiling 1 gallon of water along with kosher salt, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves, garlic cloves, and sliced lemons. Bring this to a rolling boil for a few minutes then turn off the heat. You can add ice in a large zip seal bag to speed up the cooling process but do not add ice directly to the brine because this will dilute the solution. When the liquid cools down, place the brine solution into the refrigerator for 1 hour. Next, submerge the turkey breast into the brine and refrigerate it for 8 to 18 hours.


After brining, remove the turkey from the brine and wash it off to remove excess salt. Place the turkey on a cooling rack and pat the skin dry with paper towels. If you have a hair dryer, use it to blow dry the turkey skin for about 10 minutes. If you don’t have a hair drier, you can use a small fan to dry the skin for 10 minutes. Now, if you don’t have a fan or a hair dryer, you can salt the skin and place the turkey in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The idea here is to dry the skin to achieve crispy brown deliciousness. Next carefully remove the wishbone with a small knife. This will greatly improve the slicing of the breast meat.


Preheat the oven to 425 F. Rub down the turkey skin with vegetable oil or melted butter. Sprinkle on some powdered sage, kosher salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Place a few sprigs of thyme on the turkey. Move the turkey to a roasting pan and set it in the rack. When the oven is ready, place the turkey in the oven and cook it for 20 minutes. Cooking at this temperature will help dry out and crisp the skin. Next, lower the heat to 325 F and cook for 75 minutes or until the turkey reaches 165 F at the thickest part of the meat. If the skin is darkening too much before cooking is finished, cover the turkey with foil. For reference, turkey breast should cook 20 minutes per pound at about 350F. But we’ve complicated things by cooking first at 425 F and then at 325 F.


When the turkey is finished, cover it with foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Slice the turkey and serve it with the pan drippings. You can also use the drippings and the dark brown crispy goodness in the pan to make a gravy. But beware, depending on how much salt was used on the turkey, you may end up with a salty gravy.





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!





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.