This Traeger Smoked Turkey Breast is packed full of smoky flavor. The turkey breast is injected with butter and chicken stock to create a juicy, tender inside, without requiring an overnight brine.
Turkey Breast is a great option on Holidays, like Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter, when you have a smaller guest list, around 4-5 people. It cooks in no time and still gets you great results. If you have closer to 8-10 people and prefer all white meat over a full turkey, make two turkey breasts.
Smoking meats is one of my favorite methods of cooking during the holidays. The Traeger pellet grill creates the most tender, smoked meats. Plus, it clears up all the oven space for side items like Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Casserole and Cornbread Dressing with Sausage.
Why You'll This Recipe:
- It's a lot smaller and easier to work with than a whole turkey & it's all white meat
- Perfect for hosting small gatherings for holidays
- Turkey breast is boneless and so easy to slice
- This turkey breast has a sweet and smoky exterior with a juicy center
Turkey Breast-A 3-4 lb turkey breast is used in this recipe. It's really important to buy just a boneless breast, and not one that contains ribs and breast bone. Those are going to be harder to work with and they have two breasts. Even if you butcher it yourself it creates 2 smaller breasts that are between 1-2 lbs and they smoke too quickly to get a lot of flavor. If you have leftover turkey, try these Turkey Cranberry Sliders and Cranberry Turkey Salad.
Brown Sugar and Spices- Create a sweet and smoky rub with classic thanksgiving flavors like Rosemary and Thyme for a really flavorful exterior. Depending on the turkey breast, some may have skin, but even without skin, the outside gets a nice crust from the smoker.
Softened butter- Used to rub over the turkey to adhere the spices. This task is tricky without having skin on the entire surface, but coat it as best as possible.
Additional Butter, Chicken or Turkey Stock, Worcestershire and Hot Sauce-Comes together to form the best injection liquid and is injected into the turkey before smoking to keep the meat nice and juicy. The remaining liquid is used to baste the turkey when smoking.
See the recipe card below for ingredients and quantities.
Substitutions and Variations:
For the injection liquid, use turkey stock or chicken stock. I don't recommend broth as it isn't as flavorful as stock.
Don't have a Traeger Pellet Smoker? Any smoker or pellet grill can be used for this recipe.
How to Make Traeger Smoked Turkey Breast:
Step 1: Preheat the Traeger Smoker to 250 degrees. In a pot, melt the 2 tablespoons of salted butter over low heat. Once it's melted, turn off heat and whisk in chicken stock, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature. Note: A little bit warm is ok, but not hot.
Step 2: Place the Turkey breast in a tin foil tray. Coat the entire turkey breast in softened butter. Whisk together the brown sugar and spices and rub the full mixture over the entire turkey breast.
Step 3: Use 1 ounce of injection liquid total, poking the needle into about 8 places in the breast. When injecting, work slowly and once it starts to rise a bit around the needle slowly pull it out.
Step 4: When the Traeger reaches 250 degrees, place the tray in the center of the rack and close lid. Smoke for 1 hour.
Step 5: After an hour, check the internal temperature. It needs to cook to an internal temperature of 165 before pulling off the smoker. Continue to cook, checking the temperature every 20-30 minutes. It will take between 2-3 hours, but rely more on temperature than time.
Step 6: Transfer the remaining injection fluid into a baster and pour over the top of the turkey. Close the lid.
Step 7: Optional: When the turkey breast reaches around 150 degrees, pull it out of the tray and place directly on the rack for a more smoky browned exterior.
Step 8: Once the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, transfer back into the tray and bring into the house. Cover with foil and allow to sit for 20-25 minutes.
Step 9: Carve the turkey breast. Serve and enjoy!
- Fill the pellet box before starting the grill to avoid it running out during smoking.
- Open and close the lid on the Traeger quickly to avoid big drops in heat.
- Use a tin tray under the turkey breast to keep the juices in the pan. This helps keep juicy turkey and the drippings can be used for gravy.
- Make sure to allow the turkey to rest with foil over the top for 20-25 minutes before slicing.
A tray under the Turkey in the smoker is great to avoid mess in the smoker, and also to keep drippings in the pan to use for gravy.
To smoke a 3-4 lb turkey breast, it will most likely take between 2 and 3 hours on the smoker. However, when smoking meat focus on temperature over time. The internal temperature of turkey should reach 165 degrees before pulling it out of the smoker. There are lots of things that can affect cook time in a smoker. For example, cold weather can make the smoker work harder to keep the same temperature.
Brining and injecting both help create moist and juicy meat. In order to save time in this recipe, we are not brining, and injecting instead. Both are very effective with Turkey and either brining or injecting is highly recommended. Pick one for a juicy bird.
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