This Smoked Wild Turkey Breast recipe made me feel like a certified pit master it was so good!
I love smoked turkey! It’s a good way to eat delicious barbecue while pretending you aren’t eating a ton of calories.
Since I got a brand-new pellet smoker from Z-Grills (use sophie5 for 5% off at checkout, even for smokers already on sale 😎), I really wanted a smoked turkey breast to be my first recipe. The only problem, like with most wild game, is wild turkey can be very lean.
To fix this issue I brined it overnight, used mayo as a binder to help hold in moisture, and basted it while it was cooking in butter. OMGosh it was juicy and delicious!
I also looked around the internet for different ways to retain moisture while cooking. I saw a couple people use mayo as a binder. I knew mustard was a common binder in pork butts and briskets, but I had never seen mayo!
I ended up smoking two breasts. I used mayo on one and mustard on the other. Anecdotally, I think the mayo one was more moist (the breasts were from two different birds though).
After making this recipe, I am mad I’ve gone this long in my life without a smoker! Paying $10 a pound for smoked turkey at HEB, or $15+ for a plate of it at a BBQ restaurant, when I can do it at home has me questioning all of my life choices.
I’m only three cooks into my Z-Grills smoker, but I am in love! As I said earlier, they have given me a discount code, sophie5, for 5% off anything on their website. This isn’t a lot on its own, but you can use it on top of any already on sale item on their website!
I also get a small kickback if you use my code, which is nice because I’ve made like no money from my year of cooking and making wild game recipes lol. So, if you’re in the market for a pellet grill, and you want a well-priced starting smoker, and you want to help support me… Buy a Z-Grills Smoker and use sophie5 at checkout!!!
Smoked Wild Turkey Breast
- Z Grills Smoker Use sophie5 for 5% off! Includes on sale items!
- 2 turkey breasts skinless, boneless, with the tenders removed
- 1 stick unsalted butter melted
- 3/4 C kosher salt
- 1/3 C sugar
- 1 large garlic clove smashed
- 1/4 lemon sliced
- 1 apple quartered
- 4 bay leaves
- Duke's mayo enough to coat the breasts
- Salt/Pepper/Garlic rub (equal parts of each) or favorite BBQ Rub enough to coat the breasts
Turkey Brine Instructions
- Place all of your brine ingredients into a stockpot with 4 C of water.
- Bring the pot to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionaly, until the salt and sugar have fully dissolved.
- Remove from heat and add 8 cups of cold water.
- Allow the brine to cool to room temperature so you do not cook the turkey breasts.
- Submerge the turkey breasts in the brine and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to a day. The longer you brine, the juicier the meat will get, but also saltier.
- Wash the brine off of the breasts in cold running water, when you are done.
Turkey Rub Instructions
- Pat your turkey dry and then lather it in mayo. You don't want it too thick just enough to act as a binder to hold the seasoning on.
- Season with your favorite SPG or BBQ rub and work into the breast. You don't want a liberal coating, just enough to cover thoroughly.
- Let rest while you get your smoker up to temperature
- Get your smoker up to 275°F.
- I used a competition blend style of pellets, but hickory would also work here.
- Put your breasts on the smoker. I use a temperature probe to watch the internal temperature of the meat closely.
- At an internal temperature of 120°F I baste the top of the breasts with melted butter. This took ~30 minutes to get to, but wild game will vary.
- Remove at an internal temperature of 160°F and let rest for ~15 minutes. This took an additional ~45 minutes-1 hour. Again times will vary.
- Slice your turkey thin and ENJOY!