Whether you’re considering smoking your Thanksgiving Turkey or simply looking for a new way to present your fowl to a table full of hungry family members and loved ones, smoked turkey breast is only a few easy steps away. With only a handful of autumnal ingredients — apple cider and fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs to name a few — the recipe requires a mere 20 minutes of hands-on time while you let your brine do the rest of the work, infusing your bird with savory flavor. For a simple riff on the basic recipe below, try experimenting with other herbs you have on hand like tarragon or oregano. After smoking be sure to let your turkey sit for at least 10 to 15 minutes before serving for some of the moistest, most delicious slices of turkey breast you’ve ever had. The smoked turkey will be especially delicious as leftover sandwiches!
1 (64-oz.) bottle apple cider
3/4 cup kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 (4-inch) fresh thyme sprigs
2 (4-inch) fresh rosemary sprigs
10 fresh sage leaves
1 garlic bulb, cut in half crosswise
4 cups ice cubes
1 (5 3/4- to 6-lb.) bone-in turkey breast
4 hickory wood chunks
How to Make It
Bring cider and next 7 ingredients to a boil in a large stockpot or 8-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in ice. Cool completely (1 hour).
Place turkey in brine; cover and chill 5 to 12 hours.
Prepare smoker according to manufacturer's directions, bringing internal temperature to 225° to 250°; maintain temperature 15 to 20 minutes. Place wood chunks on coals.
Remove turkey from brine, and pat dry with paper towels. Smoke turkey, maintaining temperature inside smoker between 225° and 250°, for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 165°.
Remove turkey, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let stand 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.