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Smoked Turkey Breast on a plate, sliced, with gravy on top.

Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe (How to Smoke Turkey Breast)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Erin Jensen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 14 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Smoker
  • Cuisine: American


Smoked Turkey Breast – the most amazing smoked turkey breast recipe! Simple, easy to make and it makes the MOST moist and flavorful turkey!!




  • 89 pound turkey breast (ensure fully thawed)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (or ghee) (additional for basting)

Basic Brine (optional):

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup of kosher salt 
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1 oranges, cut in half and squeeze juice out into brine + add in orange rinds
  • 1 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 apple sliced
  • 35 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 56 whole peppercorns

Turkey Dry Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoons onion powder


Brine (Optional):

  1. Boil: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan
  2. Add: Add in salt and brown sugar (if using).
  3. Simmer: Let simmer until salt and sugar completely dissolve.
  4. Cool: Remove from heat and add ice cubes to cool.
  5. Bucket: Once the mixture is completely cooled add to your brining vessel (large pot/bucket) along with the rest of the water and other remaining ingredients.
  6. Turkey: Add turkey and ensure it is completely submerged (you may need to put a small sauce pot on top of it to keep it submerged.
  7. 48 hours: Let brine for 12- 48 hours while refrigerated
  8. Remove: Remove from brine, pat dry and proceed to the Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe, below. Discard brine.

Smoked Turkey Breast

  1. Preheat: Preheat smoker to 215 degrees F.
  2. Turkey Dry Rub: combine Turkey Dry Rub ingredients and set aside.
  3. Remove (if not brining): Remove turkey breast from packaging; remove any giblets or gravy pack.
  4. Dry: Place turkey breast on large plate and pat dry with a clean paper towel.
  5. Butter: Rub butter all over the turkey breast, both sides, in every nook and cranny.
  6. Season: Season generously with the Turkey Dry Rub. 
  7. Smoker: Place on smoker grates and close the lid.
  8. Temp: Cook at 215 degrees F. for (really anywhere between 200-220 degrees F.) for the first 2-2.5 hours. Then increase the heat to 350 degrees F. until the internal temp at the thickest part of the turkey (without touching the bone) is 165 degrees F. and juices run clear.
  9. Baste: Feel free to baste the turkey once or twice with melted butter, but do so quickly as you will lose a lot of heat very quickly.  Opening the smoker for too long will increase your cooking time.
  10. Rest: Remove from smoker and place on large plate. Baste with melted butter and then let rest for 20-30 minutes (feel free to cover with foil).
  11. Carve: Carve and serve immediately.


  • Smoked Boneless Turkey Breast: feel free to use this same recipe for a boneless turkey breast – the cook time will just be shorter (probably at least cut in half) – but just keep an eye on your internal temp and you will be good! 
  • Thaw: Make sure your turkey is fully thawed before cooking – if it is still partially frozen it will effect the cooking time. Read: How to Thaw a Turkey
  • Brine: It is totally up to you if you want to brine your turkey breast first.  I have tested it both ways and its delicious no matter what. Brining just takes it to that next level. If you brine it first you can just rinse and follow the instruction as written. Read: Brining a Turkey: 101
  • Butter: You can use either regular butter (or ghee) or mix in some ground sage to make Herbed Sage Butter!
  • Seasoning: you can also use this Smoked Turkey Dry Rub or Classic Turkey Seasoning).
  • Rest: Don’t forget to let it rest – once you take it off the smoker let it rest for 20-30 minutes.
  • Carving: Here is a great tutorial on how to carve turkey breast.
  • Got leftovers? Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I also love this Turkey + Wild Rice Soup!
  • Dairy-Free: If you are completely dairy-free, feel free to use olive oil instead of butter or even some vegan butter!
  • Turkey Breast Weight: You can still easily use this recipe with a turkey breast that is less than 8 pounds or more than 9 pounds. Simply let the smoker temp and internal temp be your guide (see recipe card, below).
  • Aluminum Pan: Yes, you can cook this in an aluminum cooking tray – if you do make sure you place a wire baking rack inside the pan and then place the turkey breast on top – that way the smoke will still encircle it AND you will catch all those drippings so you can make turkey gravy!
  • Wood Chips: I recommend cherry wood or apple wood for this recipe.
  • Cook time listed does not include brine time. 
  • Nutrition: nutrition is estimated and does not include gravy.


  • Serving Size: Approx. 1/2 pound
  • Calories: 326
  • Sugar: 0.1 g
  • Sodium: 463.5 mg
  • Fat: 7.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.4 g
  • Protein: 61.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 157.2 mg