Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe for the Pellet Grills (Pit Boss, Z Grills, Traeger etc)

You’ll love this smoked turkey breast recipe. Indulging in the succulent flavors of smoked turkey breast on the pellet grills is a sheer delight that can be achieved right in your own backyard.

With the growing popularity of pellet grills, mastering the art of smoking has become more accessible and enjoyable than ever before.

Traeger, Pit Boss and Z Grills have been popular wood pellet grill choices and allow you to smoke and sear at a consistent heat and have more control over the whole smoking process.

Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a novice looking to impress your guests, this guide will walk you through the steps of creating a mouthwatering smoked turkey breast on a pellet grill. From selecting the perfect turkey breast to infusing it with tantalizing flavours and achieving that coveted smoky tenderness, you’ll learn the essential techniques and tips for a remarkable culinary experience.

So fire up your pellet grill, grab your favorite seasonings, and get ready to elevate your turkey game to new heights.

Smoked Turkey Breast on Pellet Grill

We happen to think turkey is one the best smoked meats because it is lean, delicious and takes on smoke flavour so well.

Choosing Turkey Breast for Smoking

Selecting the perfect turkey breast is the foundation for a successful smoked turkey feast. The importance of choosing a high-quality turkey breast cannot be overstated, as it directly impacts the flavour and texture of the final dish. Look for fresh, plump breasts with no signs of discoloration or unpleasant odors.

When it comes to size, consider the number of servings you need and factor in any leftovers you desire. Additionally, consider the type of turkey breast that suits your preferences, such as organic, free-range, or heritage breeds, each offering unique flavours and qualities.

Equally vital is the proper thawing of the turkey breast to ensure even cooking. Plan ahead and thaw the turkey breast in the refrigerator, allowing 24 hours of thawing time for every 4 to 5 pounds of meat. This gradual thawing process promotes food safety and helps preserve the turkey breast’s juiciness and tenderness.

Smoked Turkey Breast Brine Recipe

Preparing the turkey breast is a crucial step in ensuring moist and flavorful results. One highly effective technique is brining, which involves immersing the turkey breast in a saltwater solution to enhance its juiciness and infuse it with additional flavors. Brining helps the meat retain moisture during the smoking process, resulting in tender and succulent turkey. There are various brining techniques and recipes to choose from, depending on personal preferences and desired flavors. Some common brine ingredients include salt, sugar, herbs, spices, and aromatics. For a basic brine, dissolve salt and sugar in water, and then add your preferred seasonings. Alternatively, you can experiment with more complex brine recipes that incorporate ingredients like citrus zest, garlic, or bay leaves. To brine the turkey breast, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. In a large container or brining bag, combine the brine ingredients with enough water to fully submerge the turkey breast.
  2. Place the turkey breast in the brine solution, making sure it is completely submerged.
  3. Cover the container or seal the brining bag and refrigerate for the recommended brining time, usually 1 hour per pound of turkey breast.
  4. After brining, remove the turkey breast from the brine solution and rinse it thoroughly under cold water to remove any excess salt.
  5. Pat the turkey breast dry with paper towels before proceeding with the smoking process. The brined turkey breast is now ready to be seasoned and smoked to perfection on your pellet grill. By following these brining steps, you’ll enhance the flavor and juiciness of your smoked turkey breast, leaving your guests craving more.
Pellet Grill Smoked Turkey Breast Sliced

Preparing the Pellet Grill for Smoked Turkey Breast

A. Understanding the working principle of pellet grills is essential for achieving optimal results. These versatile cooking devices utilize an automated system that combines the convenience of a gas grill with the smoky flavor of a traditional smoker. Pellet grills rely on wood pellets as fuel, which are automatically fed into a firebox by an electrically powered auger. The pellets ignite and create smoke, which flavors the food during the cooking process.

The temperature is controlled by an electronic controller that regulates the speed at which the pellets are fed into the fire, allowing for precise temperature adjustments.

B. Preheating the pellet grill and maintaining a consistent temperature are crucial steps to ensure even and thorough cooking of the smoked turkey breast. Preheating the grill allows it to reach the desired cooking temperature and ensures that the turkey breast begins cooking immediately.

It is recommended to preheat the grill to a temperature of around 225-250°F (107-121°C) for smoking turkey.

This initial heat-up period can take approximately 10-15 minutes, but it may vary depending on the specific grill model.

If you are getting oily smoke leave the lid of your pellet open and leave it until the smoke is cleaner. Heavy dark smoke means you are burning ashes or unpleasant chemicals which you don’t want near your food.

Once the desired temperature is reached, it’s important to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the smoking process. Fluctuations in temperature can affect cooking times and result in unevenly cooked meat. To maintain a steady temperature, avoid frequently opening the grill lid as it can cause heat loss. Additionally, monitor the temperature using a built-in grill thermometer or a reliable external thermometer. Adjust the pellet grill’s settings as needed to maintain the desired temperature range and ensure consistent heat throughout the cooking duration.

C. Choosing the right type of wood pellets for smoking turkey is another key factor that contributes to the flavor profile of the final dish. Various wood pellet flavors are available, each imparting a unique taste to the meat. For smoking turkey, popular wood pellet flavors include hickory, apple, cherry, pecan, and mesquite. Hickory pellets offer a robust, smoky flavor, while fruitwood pellets like apple and cherry provide a slightly sweet and fruity aroma. Pecan pellets offer a milder, nutty flavor, and mesquite pellets provide a strong, earthy taste. Consider experimenting with different pellet flavors to find the one that complements your taste preferences.

When selecting wood pellets, ensure they are of high quality and sourced from reputable brands. Look for pellets made from 100% pure hardwood without any fillers or additives. This ensures a clean burn and authentic smoky flavor. It’s also worth noting that some pellet grill manufacturers may recommend specific pellet brands or types for optimal performance. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations if available.

By understanding the working principle of pellet grills, preheating the grill properly, and selecting the right wood pellets, you’ll be well-prepared to achieve excellent results when smoking your turkey breast. These steps set the stage for a successful smoking session, infusing the meat with mouthwatering flavors and creating a memorable dining experience.

V. Seasoning and Smoking the Turkey Breast

A. Elevate the flavor of your smoked turkey breast by using a variety of flavorful rubs and seasonings. Consider options like a classic poultry seasoning blend, a savory herb rub, a sweet and smoky barbecue rub, or a spicy Cajun seasoning. These rubs can be store-bought or homemade, allowing you to customize the flavor profile to your liking. Experiment with different combinations to find the perfect seasoning that enhances the natural flavors of the turkey.

B. Applying the rub to the turkey breast is a crucial step to infuse it with flavor. Start by patting the turkey breast dry with paper towels. This helps the rub adhere to the meat better. Sprinkle the desired amount of seasoning or rub all over the surface of the turkey breast. Use your hands to gently massage and press the rub into the meat, ensuring it covers all sides evenly. Allow the turkey breast to sit for a few minutes to let the flavors penetrate the meat before placing it on the pellet grill.

C. The smoking technique and optimal temperature for cooking the turkey breast on a pellet grill contribute to its tenderness and smoky flavor. Aim for a smoking temperature of around 225-250°F (107-121°C) to achieve slow and even cooking. This low and slow approach allows the turkey breast to absorb the smoky flavors while maintaining its moisture. Set the temperature on your pellet grill according to the manufacturer’s instructions and allow it to stabilize before placing the turkey breast on the grill.

D. The cooking time for a smoked turkey breast can vary depending on the size of the meat. As a general guideline, estimate around 25-30 minutes of cooking time per pound of turkey breast. However, it’s important to note that cooking times can vary due to factors like grill temperature fluctuations and the actual thickness of the turkey breast. To ensure accuracy, use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the turkey breast.

E. The use of a meat thermometer is crucial for monitoring the doneness of the smoked turkey breast. Insert the meat thermometer probe into the thickest part of the turkey breast without touching the bone. The turkey breast is considered fully cooked and safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). This ensures that the meat is both flavorful and safe to consume. Regularly check the temperature throughout the smoking process and remove the turkey breast from the grill once it reaches the desired temperature.

By selecting flavourful rubs, properly applying them, understanding the smoking technique and temperature, estimating cooking times, and using a meat thermometer for doneness, you’ll achieve a perfectly seasoned and smoked turkey breast that is juicy, tender, and bursting with smoky flavours.

If you would like to make your own homemade rub for turkey try below.

Smoked Turkey Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 boneless, skinless turkey breast (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)


  1. Preheat your pellet grill to 225 degrees Fahrenheit (107C)
  2. Remove the turkey breast from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper (if using).
  4. Rub the spice mixture all over the turkey breast. Place turkey in an aluminium tray. (you can make a gravy from the juices collected if you like later)
  5. Place the turkey breast on the smoker grill grate and cook for 2-3 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74C)
  6. Optional – add a little butter or stock or spritz the turkey with apple cider vinegar every 45mins or so to keep it moist
  7. Remove the turkey breast from the smoker grill and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving

Smoked Whole Turkey Recipe

If you need to smoke a whole turkey to feed a bigger crowd you could try our smoker recipe for turkey article.

FAQ’s About Smoking Turkey Breast on the Pellet Grills

How Long Does it Take to Smoke Turkey Breast on a Pellet Grill?

At 225F (107C) it will take between 2-3 hours to smoke a turkey breast to an internal temperature of 165F (74C) on a pellet grill.

The larger the turkey breast the longer it will take.

What Temperature to Smoke a Turkey Breast on a Pellet Grill?

The recommended temperature for cooking most meats low and slow is 225-250F (107-121C). This will allow your turkey to take on as much smoke flavour as possible.

How Do You Keep a Turkey Breast Moist in the Pellet Smoker?

There are a few ways to make sure your turkey breast stays moist in the smoker.

  • Brine it overnight in a mixture of salt, sugar and water
  • Spritz it every 45minutes or so with apple cider vinegar/butter/chicken stock or broth, or a mixture of these
  • Place a water pan in the smoker
  • Inject the turkey with butter and or stock/broth
  • Smoke the turkey in an aluminium tray (the juice will collect, keeping the turkey moist and providing you with a delicious gravy)

Traeger Smoked Boneless Turkey Breast

If you are looking for boneless turkey breast recipe specifically smoked on the Traeger pellet grill try this one.

Pit Boss Turkey Breast Recipe

If you would like a smoker recipe for turkey breast for your Pit Boss grills, this is a good one.

Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe Video

If you would like to watch a video on the whole process of smoking turkey breast, try this Meat Church tutorial.

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