Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Smoked Turkey Breast Roast with Honey Maple Glaze

Smoked turkey is excellent but you don't always have time to thaw, brine and go through all of the preparations for smoking a whole turkey. At those times, this recipe from Chris Lilly's Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book is ideal!

It doesn't take as long as a turkey but still gets the smoke flavor in there. It may seem a bit over spiced when you see how much rub I put on, but the sweet & sticky glaze counters that. Slicing it thin for sandwiches on home made bread makes it out of this world!

The book calls for a whole turkey breast but I am using a Honeysuckle White Turkey Breast Roast, which is about 1/2 of a turkey breast. Perfect for serving 4 people. Since I am using a smaller cut, I reduced the rubs and glazes proportionately.

Smoked Turkey Breast Roast with Honey Maple Glaze
reprinted with permission from Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book

1 Boneless skinless turkey breast, about 4 lbs

Wet Rub
2 teaspoons brown mustard
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Dry Rub
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp paprika (used my home made stuff)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (used my home made stuff)

4 Tbsp butter (1/2 stick)
3 Tbsp Maple syrup
1 Tbsp Honey (I used creamed honey)

Get your fire going and set up your grill/cooker for indirect heat. Today I was using Wicked Good Weekend Warrior lump coal and a mix of hickory and cherry chunks. In the book, Chris recommends hickory, oak, or maple. Apple would also work.

While that is coming to temp, mix your dry rub ingredients together. In another bowl, mix your wet rub ingredients together. I like using a coarse ground mustard for this, it just adds to the texture.

Rub your wet rub all over your meat. Now sprinkle liberally with your dry rub mix, making sure to get all sides and edges.

If you are using a breast like Chris did in the book, smoke for 2 1/2 hours at 250f. During that time, combine the glaze ingredients over low heat until combined. Glaze the smoked turkey at the 2 1/2 hour mark and then cook another 15 minutes. Glaze again and then cook for another 15 minutes. That should put you at 3 hours and an internal temp of 165f.

Using the smaller breast roast, I had to adjust my times. Here's my log.

As you can see, I really had to cut back on my cooking times using the smaller cut of turkey. I glazed at 45 minutes and 1 hour.

When the internal temp hit 160f I pulled the turkey and let it rest on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes.

If I were a more patient and less hungry man, you'd have pictures of the sandwich too. But I just couldn't wait any longer! But the spiciness of the rub and the sweetness of the glaze were a bbq yin and yang. This is a definite repeat.

Once again, Chris Lilly and Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book delivered. I have several BBQ cookbooks that I really like (see my Library tab) but this is the only one that has delivered on every single recipe I have tried from it. It gets my top recommendation.

[Standard Review Disclaimer] applies as always but other than meeting Chris a few times, I have no affiliation with him or Big Bob Gibsons and I didn't get compensated for this post. I am just a big fan of this book.


  1. Wow the combination of that glaze and rub sounds incredible!

  2. I can imagine how wonderful the sandwiches must have been....the turkey looks too good for them not to! I love the technique this uses...could you do it with a gas grill...putting the wood chips in a foil packet with holes and just laying it on the grates?

  3. ohMAN would I like one of those sandwiches.

  4. Chris- This sounds delicious on it's own, but would definitely make some killer sandwiches. Feel free to pack my lunch any day.

  5. Seriously great looking food! Is there any way to smoke a turkey breast on a gas grill? In an oven? In an electric roaster on top of the counter? Would it work to put it in a Dutch Oven? Until Santa arrives with the BGE I'm just going to have to improvise! xo, Nan

  6. As much as I am having fun here in Spain and France, I am waiting to get home and BBQ something, or hubby and son will be lite...again, they seem to like it. :)

  7. Yum...looks incredibly moist and succulent. That would made an awesome sandwich...

  8. For some reason I smell patchouli.
    A scented blog.... maybe it's the glaze. Anything with that glaze(cause I'd make way more)has got to be good; a good diabetic coma, but good nonetheless. ~Mary

  9. This looks fantastic. I have bought these breasts before as you describe. Of course I have never smoked one, but I can see from this piece of meat that that is my bad. I have never smoked before. I am talkin' turkey here. GREG

  10. Ohh it is impossible to have patience to eat with that turkey glazed - you know the ying - yang in sweet - salty here is absolutely perfect :)



  11. I love the flavor of smoked turkey. Love. It. But there is one problem with this recipe and that is that I don't have a smoker. Okay maybe that's a problem with me and not this recipe. Just saying. The rub and marinade sounds amazing!

  12. Just getting caught after being gone for a week. The turkey sounds great and I'll try it soon. I've not done one skinless, but looks like it stayed plenty moist at 160*

  13. My mouth watered on the spot! I can only imagine how delicious this is!

  14. God, that looks delicious. The smoke, the rub and marinade just lift that turkey right over the top. Is Thanksgiving at your house this year?

  15. This looks incredible! I can totally understand why you couldn't wait to dig in! I have this book, but I haven't made any recipes from it yet. I am going to try this recipe on Saturday. I hope I can find that half turkey breast in my area- love that it serves four people. Thanks for sharing, Chris!

    Kim in MD

  16. Great photos and perhaps the most helpful instructions I have ever seen on anyone's blog, ever! I could definitely go for a smoked turkey breast sandwich after reading this!

  17. Oh my, that looks good! I just love turkey and the sweet & spicy together sounds like heaven in your mouth!

  18. This definitely looks incredible! I can see why you couldn't wait!!

  19. Could that turkey look any more moist and delicious?!? Both the dry and wet rubs sound fantastic.

  20. Just took this out of the smoker. Looks and smells ridiculous.

  21. Trying this on a 11 lb WHOLE bird on an outdoor smoker..... We'll see how it turns out. Already smells amazing.

  22. Holy Moly Cow! This is great! Hats off to you for the recipe and directions. Not only is it delicious, but your cooking times and directions were Spot-On. I made two breasts this morning for Thanksgiving Dinner. Since I only had orange wood at home, that is what I used. It gave a great flavor. I also put a little cayenne pepper in the glaze. It turned out great. Thank you!

  23. This looks amazing!! I can't wait to try it. I do have a quick question though. What and where do you get your turkey breast? The only thing the stores around me have that i can find are frozen turkey breast roasts, which look very round and are all 3 lb., or skinless, boneless turkey breasts that are less than a pound. From your pictures your turkey is a flatter slab of turkey, not the kind of turkey roasts i can find. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks so much!

  24. Jared - The original recipe from Chris Lilly uses typical turkey breasts that you mention (round 3-5 lbs) and that's why the recipe calls for a 4lb turkey breast. If you can find a regular frozen round turkey breast that most stores carry, I would go for that.

    I would not use one of those "mystery meat" style of turkey "roasts" where the meat is processed and extruded like a great big turkey hot dog or turkey loaf, if that is what you're finding.

    The one I used here was a "turkey breast roast" which is only a part of one of those. I think it was just about 1.5 pounds but don't have my notes handy.

    Hope that helps!

  25. Is there a need to brine the breast with this recipe?

    1. the original recipe did not call for a brine, but I think that turkey always benefits from either a brine or an injection.


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