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The Most Amazing Apple Pecan Smoked Turkey Breast

21 Reviews

There is not a more juicy and flavorful turkey than The Most Amazing Apple Pecan Smoked Turkey Breast. It is our current favorite for Thanksgiving.

a grey plate with sliced smoked turkey breast and gravy being poured over the top

This is hands down, The Most Amazing Apple Pecan Smoked Turkey Breast recipe I’ve ever had. I thought that Instant Pot Turkey was incredible, but man, this one just totally one upped that recipe.

We aren’t lacking for turkey recipes on our site. We love a juicy turkey slice for dinner, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t keep adding to it. We still love that Fried Turkey from years ago, and we make the Herb Roasted Turkey Breast all year round for a healthy dinner recipe idea that isn’t chicken.

So even if you’re like us and there are other turkey recipes you’ve made before, take a chance and make the most amazing apple pecan smoked turkey breast this Thanksgiving.

a dark grey plate with sliced smoked turkey breast and little bits of thyme

Do you remember Thanksgiving when you were a little kid? Even your first Thanksgiving memory? I can’t pinpoint my first memory, they all kind of smear together, but I do remember being very young, reaching my hand up over the table and picking black olives out of a green glass veggie platter. I placed each olive on a finger and I specifically remember my mom saying, Carrian, no more olives or you’re going to be sick.

🙂

I think I went back a few more times because somehow I also have a memory of the platter being empty, just a small amount of black juice remaining and my mom giving me a knowing look.

I still love black olives. It doesn’t seem like Thanksgiving dinner without them. Or a turkey. Especially if it’s cooked on a TRAEGER!! 

It’s Not Thanksgiving without Turkey!

My brother in law doesn’t love turkey so he would be totally content to have something else entirely, however, even if turkey isn’t your absolute favorite, doesn’t it not seen like Thanksgiving dinner without it? I mean, you need a turkey!!

That doesn’t mean you have to make an entire turkey if you don’t eat the whole thing though. Making a turkey breast is a great way to get in the bird without wasting everything.

a dark grey plate with sliced smoked turkey breast and little bits of thyme

The Most Amazing Apple Pecan Smoked Turkey Breast

Alright, let’s get down to how to make The Most Amazing Apple Pecan Smoked Turkey Breast.

Start out by brining your turkey breast. Even though it’s not an entire bird, brining is essential to a tender and flavorful turkey breast.

How to Brine a Turkey

Brining a turkey needs two specific ingredients and then the remaining ingredients vary based upon your own individual recipes.

  1. Liquid- Your turkey breast (or whole turkey) will sit in a liquid anywhere from 8-24 hours. The kind of liquid does in fact make a difference as they will help to flavor the meat. Brining, as well as marinating is not made to soak into the center of the meat, but to flavor the outside so well that as it cooks that flavor emerges.
  2. Salt- It’s preferred that you use Kosher salt for brining as it’s a more coarse salt which will help to break down the meat, soak in the liquid for a more juicy meat and finally, the salt helps to flavor the meat more than just a rub later on.

a dark grey plate with sliced smoked turkey breast and little bits of thyme

Next up is the rub on the turkey. Do not ever make a turkey without this step as this is where all of those yummy flavors are going to come from. Here’s what you need to do:

Rub for a Turkey

  1. Spices- You usually see a lot of herbs with turkey, but spices are great to bring out a little extra flavor. In this case, we throw in smoked paprika to really drive home the flavor but also the color with that deep red. Cumin, garlic and even ground mustard bring a balance to the spices that creates a warm, aromatic experience.
  2. Sugar- Just a stitch of brown sugar like any good BBQ or Smoked recipe adds the tiniest amount of sweetness which really balances the garlic and smokiness.
  3. Butter- Butter is essential to add a little more juiciness and flavor to the meat. It also helps the spices to stick to the meat.

That’s not all though, you still need to fill a drip pan with liquids that will help to steam the bird as it smokes. Trust us on this one, you do not want to just go with water.

a dark grey plate with sliced smoked turkey breast and little bits of thyme

Drip Pan with Juices

Fill a tin pan, we just get ours at the local grocery store, with pineapple juice and water. Even though this is an apple juice brined turkey the pineapple juice adds a really interesting level of flavor to the bird and the gravy.

Apple or orange juice may be used if you can’t find pineapple juice in the can.

Is Smoked Turkey Fully Cooked?

Smoked turkey is fully cooked as long as you have followed the directions and cooked it through.

Can Smoked Turkey be Pink?

A smoked turkey will sometimes have a pink ring around the meat, but that’s from the smoke and flavor, it doesn’t mean that you need to keep cooking the turkey.

In fact, sometimes that pink hue can really penetrate into the meat, so it’s important to recognize if it’s the smoke or raw meat, which do in fact look different.

What Goes with Smoked Turkey

Oh my goodness, let’s talk about sides before we forget. Here are a few of our favorite things to go with smoked turkey.

 

What Temperature for Smoked Turkey

Depending on your smoker and how much time you have you will want to adjust the temperature of the Traeger Smoker. We prefer 300 for 3-3 1/2 hours. You could also do 325 for 2 1/2-3 hours, but we much prefer to have a low and slow meat.

Can You Freeze Smoked Turkey?

You can easily freeze smoked turkey, but only keep it in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. If you wish to keep it for 1-2 months, use a Food Saver like Cade and I have.

BEST. INVESTMENT. EVER.

How to Reheat Smoked Turkey

Place turkey in a casserole dish, and cover well with foil. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and cook only until warm.

You can also use a microwave with paper towels wrapped around the meat to keep it from drying out.

Thanksgiving RECIPES

Looking for more Thanksgiving recipes? These are all favorites: 

 

The Most Amazing Apple Pecan Smoked Turkey Breast

4.29 from 21 votes
Prep Time: 1 day
Cook Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 1 day 12 hours
Servings: 6
There is not a more juicy and flavorful turkey than The Most Amazing Apple Pecan Smoked Turkey Breast. It is our current favorite for Thanksgiving.

Ingredients

For the Smoker

  • Pecan Pellets or chips
  • Tin Pan

For the Brine

  • 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Kosher Salt
  • 4 Cups Apple Juice *see note
  • 1 Cup Orange Juice
  • 32 ounces Chicken Broth
  • 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 6.5 lb Turkey Breast bone in

For the Turkey Rub

  • 3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Chipotle Chili Pepper Seasoning
  • 1 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter softened
  • 3/4 Cup Pineapple Juice
  • 3/4 Cup Water

For the Gravy

  • 1-2 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1-2 Tablespoon Water

Instructions

For the Brine

  • In a large pot, add the brine ingredients. Stir to combine.
  • Rinse the turkey breast thoroughly.
  • Place the turkey in the brine and put the lid on the pot. Refrigerate 10-12 hours or overnight.

For the Smoker

  • Remove the turkey from the brine, discarding all liquid and pat the turkey completely dry.
  • In a bowl, combine the spice ingredients and stir to mix.
  • Add the butter and stir again.
  • Rub the mixture all over under and over the skin of the turkey.
  • Heat a Traeger Smoker to 300 degrees with pecan pellets or chips.
  • Place the pineapple juice and water in a tin pan under the rack in the smoker.
  • Put the turkey, breast side down, on the smoker rack and close the lid.
  • Smoke for 3 to 3 1/2 hours depending on your smoker.
  • Remove the turkey to rest for 20 minutes under tented foil, reserving the drippings in the tin pan.
  • Slice the turkey and serve with gravy.

For the Gravy

  • Pour the drippings into a Gravy Fat Separator .
  • Heat a skillet to medium high heat and pour off the drippings, avoiding too much fat.
  • Whisk together the cornstarch and water and as the drippings begin to simmer, whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
  • Continue to whisk as the gravy thickens and serve immediately.

Notes

You may use apple juice or apple cider. If you don't have either, Place 1 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar in a cup and fill the rest with water.
Nutrition Facts
The Most Amazing Apple Pecan Smoked Turkey Breast
Amount Per Serving (12 oz)
Calories 789 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 295mg98%
Sodium 21703mg944%
Potassium 1577mg45%
Carbohydrates 45g15%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 38g42%
Protein 108g216%
Vitamin A 1557IU31%
Vitamin C 34mg41%
Calcium 154mg15%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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a grey plate with sliced smoked turkey breast and gravy being poured over the top

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About the authors

Cheney Family

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

Leave a comment

21 comments

  • I’m doing a full turkey should I put anything inside the turkey?

    • Reply
    • Nope, nothing needs to go inside.

      • Reply
  • I’m doing a full turkey is the turkey in the Drip Pan with Juices or is it below it capturing the juices?

    • Reply
    • Hey Corey! The turkey is on the rack of the smoker, and the pan with the juices is underneath the rack in the smoker. Enjoy!!

      • Reply
  • I purchased 25 turkey breasts for our congregations Christmas Party. I would LOVE to use this recipe, but wondering how many turkey breasts can cook at the same time on the traegar? We have several people in the neighborhood with one and want to make sure we have enough space. Also, do you think cooking times would change with multiple breasts on one traegar?

    • Reply
    • Wow…you are ambitious! I like it! It’s going to depend on the sizes of your neighbor’s Traegers. Each Traeger has different size. You’ll have to reach out to each individual and ask which Traeger they have and then the Traeger site can give more details on the capacity of each one. Time should not change for smoking multiple turkey breasts at once.

      • Reply
      • Tried this recipe for a test and it was AMAZING! Question: Does the pineapple juice / water in the pan add any flavor to the turkey, or is it just for the gravy? We are not planning on making the gravy due to sheer numbers, but don’t want to omit the juice and water if it makes a difference.

      • Hi Melanie! Great question! We actually love it for the flavor it gives to the turkey!

  • Is instruction 2 under brine in error?

    • Reply
    • Yes, thank you Cheryl! It has been updated.

      • Reply
  • Why does it say cook time is 12 hours when the recipe says 3 and a half? Am I misunderstanding?

    • Reply
    • We are including the brining time in the total time. We recommend brining for at least 8 hours before cooking the turkey. Great question!

      • Reply
  • Do I double the recipe for a whole turkey?

    • Reply
    • I would

      • Reply
  • I’m not finding how much of the pineapple juice and water you’re putting in the drip pan. 

    • Reply
    • It’s at the bottom of the list of ingredients – 3/4 C pineapple juice and 3/4 C water.

      • Reply
  • What kind of chipotle powder did you use? 

    • Reply
    • We used McCormick.

      • Reply
  • Can I roast the turkey breast, I don’t have a smoker? It sounds and looks delicious.

    • Reply
    • Yes absolutely! Same temperature and time in the oven.

      • Reply
  • If I don’t have a smoker can I roast it?

    • Reply

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