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Smoked wild Turkey breast recipe
Photo by Larry White

If there's one dish that will always stand the test of time, it's smoked turkey breast. With the use of todays instant read thermometers, you can pull the turkey out at the exact temperature that will ensure a moist piece of meat.

Using a salty and sweet aromatic brine will also enhance the juiciness of your bird while adding flavor. So if you miss your temperature mark by pulling the meat out of the smoker a tad bit too late, all is not lost. The brine acts as an insurance policy by helping you retain moisture.

Feel free to play around with the brine. You can sub honey for the maple syrup and add bird friendly herbs as well.

This smoky meat is great served during Thanksgiving, on a sandwich, salad or chopped up and added to a salad.


For the brine:

  • 3 quarts water

  • 1 quart real apple cider

  • 1 cup kosher salt

  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup

  • 2 teaspoon pink curing salt (instacure #1)

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 onion, quartered

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves

  • 2 sprigs of thyme

For cooking:

  • 1 to 2 boneless turkey breast

  • 1 to 2 sticks of unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional)

  • Aluminum foil

  • Instant read thermometer

  • Seasoning of choice (I use salt and fresh black pepper)


  1. Bring 1 quart of the water to a simmer (reserve the remaining 2 quarts and cider). Add all of the ingredients for the brine and stir well until the salt and sugar have dissolved.

  2. To a large bowl or pot add the brine and the remaining 2 quarts of water and 1 quart of apple cider. Put in the refrigerator until chilled.

  3. After the brine has cooled, add the turkey breast. Place a plate or bowl on top of the turkey in order to keep the breast submerged.

  4. Brine the turkey in your refrigerator for 6 to 12 hours.

  5. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse with cool water and completely dry off with paper towels. Place on plate and put it in your refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours to dry. This will help the smoke adhere to the meat.

  6. Heat your smoker to 265 degrees.

  7. Season the breast with the seasoning of your choice. I use kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.

  8. Insert a instant read thermometer into the meat in the thickest part. Place the turkey in your smoker. The closer to your vent pipe the better. The smoke exiting the smoker will pass by the turkey ensuring a stronger smoke flavor.

  9. Smoke the turkey for 1 hour. Brush the mayonnaise all over the breast. Smoke for 30 more minutes.

  10. Line a oven-safe cooking vessel with 2 layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. Place the turkey in the dish. Place the butter on top of the turkey. Ensclose the turkey in the foil by crimping the foil together on top of the turkey.

  11. Place back in your smoker and cook until an internal temperature of 160 is reached. Remove from the smoker and allow to rest and carryover cook at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

  12. Slice across the grain and serve.

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