Texas is known for its luscious, post oak smoked, brisket… but pit masters in the Lone Star state also know how to smoke a mean turkey breast. Restaurants keep smoked turkey on the menu year-round and if you haven’t tried Texas Style Smoked Turkey you’ve been missing out.
This recipe is pretty much standard when it comes to smoking turkey the Texas way. It starts with extra-large, boneless turkey breast. These can be difficult to source in my area, so I reached out to my friend Kevin at the Butcher Shoppe down in Florida.
I knew if anyone could find some Goliath sized turkey breast it was Kevin. Sure enough, after a few phone calls he was able to source just what wanted. He packaged it up and shipped it to my front door.
First the turkey breast gets a light trim. Remove the skin and cut away any excess fat or silver skin. Then the outside is seasoned with a good dose of Coarse black pepper and Kosher salt. A good ratio is 2 parts Coarse Black Pepper to 1 part Kosher Salt, but you can add a little garlic or herbs if you want… but the pepper and salt are most important.
Now fire up the bbq pit. You can use any smoker for this recipe but to keep in true Texas form I pulled out my stick burner. I load Ms. Jolene with a bed of Royal Oak lump charcoal to create a hot bed of coals; then I start adding sticks of Post Oak to hold the pit at 275 degrees. Once it stabilizes the turkey breast goes on the pit.
Smoke it for 2 hours adding more post oak as needed to maintain steady temperature. After about 2 hours the outside of the turkey will start to turn golden brown and have a nice crusty bark from the salt and pepper.
At this point it’s time to wrap. Lay out a double layer of aluminum foil and cut up 1 stick of butter. Place half the butter on the foil and lay the turkey breast “top side” down on the butter. Place the remaining butter on top and fold up the foil tight. Insert a probe thermometer (I use a Thermoworks DOT ) and return the turkey breast to the pit. Continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 162 degrees.
Remove the turkey breast from the pit and rest it for at least 20-30 minutes before slicing. In Texas you order turkey by the pound and it’s sliced right in front of you. Typically, the slices are about 1/4” but you can request it however you like.
I recommend reserving some of the butter for drizzling over the top. It makes a fine dipping sauce. And don’t even think about covering it in bbq sauce; you won’t need it. This turkey is packed with flavor and moisture.
The salt and pepper create a flavorful bark on the outside and the post oak gives it a true Texas-style smoked flavor. You’ll be smoking turkey year-round once you try this recipe!
- 4lb Boneless Turkey Breast
- 2 Tablespoons TX Brisket Rub *(substitute 2 parts Coarse Black Pepper to 1 part Kosher Salt)
- 1 Stick Butter
1Prepare smoker for indirect cooking at 275 degrees using Post Oak wood for fuel and smoke flavor.
2Remove the skin from the turkey breast and trim away excess fat.
3Season with TX Brisket Rub*
4Place the turkey breast on the pit and smoke for 2 hours.
5Cut the stick of butter into pieces. Place half the butter on a double layer of aluminum foil and set the turkey breast top-side down on the butter. Place remaining butter on top and wrap the foil around.
6 Set the turkey back on the pit and insert a probe thermometer.
7Continue to cook until internal temperature reaches 162 degrees.
8Remove the turkey breast from the pit and rest for 20-30 minutes before slicing.