View Full Version : Thoughts on Brining a turkey Breast...

07-08-2011, 11:05 AM
I'm going to try my hand at smoking a turkey breast this weekend. This will be my first time trying this and I am working on the best way to brine it. I have a basic recipe which includes Kosher Salt, Brown Sugar, Cider Vinegar, and other assorted spices. Any tips on how long I should brine the breast? It is not a large piece of meat so I will be able to store it in the fridge in a large container.

And once brined, any tips on the actual smoke? Little nervous about doing poultry...

07-08-2011, 11:15 AM
Well, my first and biggest thought is......DO IT!!!!

I'd say brine it for about 5-8 hours (I'm guessing it's about the same size as a whole chicken and this is the time on brining a whole chicken)

The following link has some great brining info:

My go to brine is a simple one: 1 gallon water, 1 cup salt, 1/2 cup sugar and maybe some honey, maple syrup or other various things to add a little flavor.

Good luck!

07-08-2011, 11:38 AM

I brine mine at least 8 hours, but really prefer 24 to 30 hours. I only use 6 ounces of salt per gallon of water and 1 tablespoon of tenderquick. Your brine recipe might be stronger. Following the brine time, I rinse it off, and let it rest overnight in the fridge. The rest is really important so all the liquids can settle down. The next day, I peel back the skin and apply some seasoning or herbs under the skin. Don't use much salt as you have already brined the breast. Secure the skin with toothpicks, and go to the smoker.


If you want a shorter prep time and no rest, you can inject 2 or 3 ounces of brine into each side of the breast and refrigerate overnight.

As far as the cook, I start low (250) for an hour to make sure I get some smokey flavor, then ramp up to 300 - 325 for the finish. I plan on 3 hours for the cook. The downside to the 250 start is that the skin will not really be crispy, the upside is that the meat will have more flavor. If you go with 300 - 325 for most of the cook, and if you brush some butter on the skin later on it will get a little crisper. You can go pretty western with the seasonings since the ratio of skin to meat on an average slice is pretty low. I take my internal to 160 and plan on a rise during the rest. The tenderquick in my brine will give the meat a pink tint.


One last tip, the more of the breast plate you clip off, the easier it will be to slice. You can also remove the wish bone too.


07-08-2011, 01:36 PM
Listen to anything Thirdeye tells you, he is the Obi-Wan Kenobi of turkey breast. :-D

07-08-2011, 02:43 PM
Wow, thanks guys! Thirdeye that looks great thanks for the tips and pics! Wampus thanks for the link!

Smiter Q
07-08-2011, 03:58 PM
Brining poultry is a fantastic way to go.

I believe I got this one from the WEBER VB site awhile back.
It makes the best turkey's I ever had.

Apple Brine For Turkey
2 quarts apple juice
1 pound brown sugar (light or dark)
1 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
3 quarts cold water
3 oranges, quartered
4 ounces fresh ginger, unpeeled and thinly sliced
15 whole cloves
6 bay leaves
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Substitute 3/4 cup Morton Kosher Salt or 1/2 cup table salt for Diamond Crystal.

Combine apple juice, brown sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve. Boil for one minute, remove from heat, let mixture come to room temperature, then refrigerate to 40F.

In a large non-reactive container, combine the apple juice mixture with the remaining ingredients. When adding the oranges, squeeze each piece to release the juice into the container, then drop in the peel.

Put the turkey in the brine breast side down (Photo 4). Place a heavy plate or bowl on top to keep the bird submerged, if necessary (Photo 5).

Brine the turkey for 24 hours. You may wish to stir the solution 2-3 times during the brining process. I'm not sure if this is necessary or if it actually does anything, but I like to do it anyway.


An additonal one..
Hawaiian Style Turkey Brine
This brine is a bit different since it uses sweet ingredients instead of savory or spicy. The pineapple juice works well to tenderize the turkey meat while the brine adds moisture.

4 quarts pineapple juice
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/3 cups soy sauce
1 cup light maple syrup
1 cup salt (1 1/2 cups Kosher or coarse salt)
6 cloves garlic, cut into halves
4-6 whole bay leaves
2 tablespoons red pepper, crushed

Combine all ingredients. Place turkey in large container and pour brine over. Cover and allow to brine for 1 hour per pound.

07-08-2011, 04:06 PM
Did a turkey breast last weekend. Injected it with chicken stock, beer, and some yardbird. Rubbed it with yardbird as well. Quick, easy and came out awsome.