Apple Maple Smoked Turkey Breast
My step kids are in town for Thanksgiving. That means two things. 1: the decibel level in our house increases three-fold. 2: we have buy 5x more groceries than usual. I always struggle with that last one. Not living with teenagers full time, I just never get used to how much they eat! But this visit I was ready. We had a 7-pound turkey breast in the freezer which I thought would be perfect for lunches. And I remembered to take it out of the freezer in time! (A huge accomplishment for me.)
Rick wanted to smoke the turkey breast, which sounded good to me. So I thought I’d brine it, which would help keep it tender. I’ve never brined a turkey before, the only thing I’ve brined is venison for Corned Venison. I took the “How to Brine” lesson on Rouxbe, and I was ready to go. The big thing about brining is making sure the salt to liquid ratio is correct. I opted for a lower salt solution, using the lowest recommended 30g of salt per 1 litre of liquid. I wanted a really great fall flavor, and I had some local apples and high-quality maple syrup from New Hampshire (that we got when visiting the kids). I threw those in with some other great flavors. The result is a wonderful, smoky flavor and tender meat. Beautiful.
The recipe for the brine is below. To cook the turkey breast, you can roast it in the over or smoke it. Regardless, remove the turkey from the brine and dry it. If you plan to eat the skin, put the dried meat back in the refrigerator over night. This will help achieve a nice, crispy skin. We didn’t plan to eat the skin after smoking, so we didn’t do that step.
We don’t have a smoker, so we use our grill. It works beautifully (which doesn’t mean we won’t own a smoker one day). We adapted these instructions from Eating Well, cooking our meat at lower temperatures for longer. The key is indirect heat. Remember that and you’ll be gold.
To smoke, you’ll need apple wood chips
- An hour or so before putting the meat on the grille, put about a cup of wood chips in a bowl of water to soak.
- Preheat the gas grill with all burners lit to about 200°F.
- Drain the wood chips. Fold a piece of heavy-duty foil to create a 12-by-10-inch double-thick piece of foil. Transfer the wet wood chips to the foil and crimp the edges, creating a basket. Set the foil basket on the grill rack directly over the heat source.
- Turn off the burners on one side of the grille (leaving 1 to 2 burners lit, depending on your grill). Adjust the lit burners down…you will want to maintain a steady 175°F heat in the grill.
- Set the turkey on the unheated side of the grill rack. Close the lid and roast undisturbed.
- Every hour, rotate the turkey 180°.
- The turkey is done when a thermometer inserted into the meat without touching bone registers 165°F, which will take about 7 hours at this temperature.
- Transfer the turkey to a clean cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Note: you can smoke at a higher temperature, up to 300°F. But if you have the time, go for the longer cooking time—this will give the meat a smokier flavor and is worth the effort!
Recipe: Apple Maple Turkey Brine
Summary: wonderful fall flavors for tender, savor meat
- 7 lb turkey breast
- 5 quarts water (enough to cover the turkey breast)
- 10.5 Tbs kosher salt (30 gram of salt per 1 quart of liquid)
- ½ cup Grade A maple syrup
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbs peppercorns
- 1 tbs juniper berries
- 2 tsp cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cooking apples, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- Place two cups of water into a medium pot and bring to a simmer. Add the salt and stir to dissolve.
- Stir in the maple syrup until dissolved.
- Smash the garlic and add it to the pot.
- Press the juniper berries to release their aroma. Add the berries, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, apples and onion and bring the mixture to a gentle boil.
- Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and let steep for about 30 minutes.
- Before using the brine, add the remaining cold water (including ice, if needed, to cool the brine)—for food safety, it is important for the brine to be very cold before the meat can be added.
- Put the turkey breast in a food safe container or brining bag (I use a large stock pot). You may need to add a weight on the turkey to keep it submerged. I use a small plate.
- Cover and set in the refrigerator for a few days (we brined this one for 48 hours)…in general, you only need to brine 1 hour for every pound of meat, so this would have been done at 7 hours. But we like to brine longer.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Copyright © Susan Rose.