Boneless, skinless turkey breast tastes great when barbecued and appeals to those watching their diet because it is a healthy, low-fat meat. It's also a good alternative when you don't want to cook a whole turkey.
Here are some pictures I took on October 4, 2007 when I cooked boneless, skinless turkey breast on the Weber Bullet.
Remember...click on any of the pictures to view a larger image.
Prepare The Meat
Fresh turkey breast is commonly sold skin-on and bone-in. Ask your butcher to de-bone the breast, remove the skin, and net the meat. The elastic netting will keep the meat in a neat, rounded roast shape during cooking. But don't worry if your butcher can't net the meat...it will be fine without it.
The 4 turkey breasts shown in Photo 1 weighed more than 4 pounds each. Smaller ones weighing 2-3 pounds work well, too, and will cook in less time.
Apply The Rub
Pat the meat dry with paper towels and apply your favorite barbecue rub to all sides of the meat.
Let the rubbed meat sit at room temperature while you fire up the cooker.
If you don't have a favorite poultry rub, try this one from my friends Brian DeHamer and Duncan Engel.
Select The Smoke Wood
Use 2 chunks of cherry smoke wood. Each chunk should be about the size of your fist. Apple, oak, or another mild fruit wood can be used if cherry is not available.
There is no need to soak the wood or remove the bark before use.
I used 2 chunks of cherry as shown in Photo 3.Fire The Cooker
Fire-up the cooker using the Minion Method. Fill the charcoal chamber 1/2 full with unlit Kingsford charcoal briquettes, then place 20-40 lit coals on top of the unlit ones.
Put the water pan in the cooker and fill it with cold tap water to help with temperature control.
Smoke The Turkey
Assemble the cooker and put the turkey breasts on the cooking grates, as shown in Photo 4.
Set the 3 bottom
vents to 100% open. Open the top vent fully and leave it that way
throughout the entire cook.
Cook for 2 hours, then start checking the internal meat temperature using an instant-read thermometer. If you notice that the breasts are cooking unevenly, rotate them by turning the grate 180°. The turkey is done when it registers about 160°F.
When cooking 4 breasts as shown here, plan on 2-4 hours for breasts weighing 2-3 pounds, or 5-6 hours for breasts weighing 3-4 pounds or more.
Remember, the overall cooking time depends on a variety of factors, including the total amount of meat cooked, the weight and shape of each breast, how cold the meat was before going into the cooker, weather conditions, cooker temperature, etc.
There should be no need to add water to the pan during the cooking session.
Here's how the cooker temperatures and vent settings went during my cook:
The Finished Product
When the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 160°F, remove it from the cooker, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 20 minutes before serving.
All these turkey breasts turned out moist, tender, and with good smoke flavor. Unlike beef or pork, turkey breast does not develop a dark smoke ring, but you'll notice a light-colored one about 3/4" wide in Photo 6.
I like to slice the turkey about 1/4" thick, pile it high on a good quality bun or soft French roll, and top with warm barbecue sauce. You can also eat it on a plate with gravy and traditional side dishes.
However you slice it, smoked turkey breast tastes good...and it's good for you. Enjoy!
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