The Ultimate Guide to Smoked Turkey Breast on the Pit Barrel Cooker

Are you looking to elevate your turkey game this holiday season? Look no further than the Pit Barrel Cooker! This innovative cooker allows you to infuse your turkey with incredible smoky flavors, resulting in a juicy and tender masterpiece that will have your guests begging for more. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the art of smoking a turkey breast on the Pit Barrel Cooker, providing you with all the tips, tricks, and recipes you need to create a showstopping dish.

Why Smoke Your Turkey Breast on the Pit Barrel Cooker?

The Pit Barrel Cooker is a revolutionary cooker that combines the convenience of a smoker with the versatility of a grill. Its unique design allows for efficient and even heat distribution, ensuring that your turkey breast is cooked to perfection every time. But that’s not all – the Pit Barrel Cooker also imparts a rich, smoky flavor that elevates the taste of your turkey to new heights.

Smoking your turkey breast on the Pit Barrel Cooker offers several advantages:

  • Incredible Flavor: The smoke from the Pit Barrel Cooker adds a delicious smoky taste that perfectly complements the natural flavors of the turkey.
  • Juicy and Tender: The low and slow cooking process ensures that your turkey breast remains juicy and tender, preventing it from drying out.
  • Versatility: The Pit Barrel Cooker can be used to smoke a variety of meats, vegetables, and even baked goods, making it a valuable addition to any outdoor kitchen.
  • Easy to Use: With its simple setup and straightforward instructions, the Pit Barrel Cooker is a user-friendly option for both novice and experienced smokers.

Choosing the Perfect Turkey Breast

Before you fire up your Pit Barrel Cooker, it’s essential to select the right turkey breast. Look for a fresh, high-quality turkey breast with a natural, plump appearance. Avoid turkey breasts that appear discolored, have an off-putting odor, or feel slimy to the touch.

When it comes to size, consider the number of people you’ll be serving and plan accordingly. A general rule of thumb is to allow for 1 to 1.5 pounds of turkey breast per person. This will ensure that you have enough for the main meal, as well as leftovers for delicious turkey sandwiches or salads.

Preparing the Turkey Breast

Once you’ve selected your turkey breast, it’s time to prepare it for smoking. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  1. Brine the Turkey Breast: Brining is a crucial step that helps to keep your turkey breast moist and flavorful. There are many delicious brine recipes available, such as the Cranberry Brine from Pit Barrel Cooker or the Apple Cider Brine from Ole Blue Dog. Typically, you’ll want to brine your turkey breast for at least 12 hours, but no more than 24 hours.

  2. Rinse and Pat Dry: After brining, rinse the turkey breast under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. This step helps to ensure that the rub or seasoning will adhere properly to the surface of the meat.

  3. Apply the Rub or Seasoning: Now comes the fun part – adding flavor! You can use a store-bought rub or create your own custom blend of spices and herbs. Some popular options include a classic poultry seasoning, a spicy Cajun rub, or a sweet and smoky blend featuring brown sugar and paprika. Don’t forget to generously season both the inside and outside of the turkey breast.

  4. Let it Rest: Once your turkey breast is seasoned, allow it to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour. This resting period helps the seasoning to adhere to the meat and ensures that the turkey breast cooks evenly.

Setting Up the Pit Barrel Cooker

With your turkey breast prepared, it’s time to set up your Pit Barrel Cooker for smoking. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Prepare the Charcoal: Start by adding charcoal to the bottom of the Pit Barrel Cooker. Use a high-quality lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes for best results.

  2. Add Wood Chips or Chunks: Next, add your desired wood chips or chunks to the charcoal. Popular choices for turkey include apple, cherry, hickory, or pecan wood, which impart a mild and delicious smoky flavor.

  3. Light the Charcoal: Use a charcoal chimney starter or an electric starter to ignite the charcoal. Once the charcoal is lit, carefully pour it into the bottom of the Pit Barrel Cooker.

  4. Attach the Rebar Hangers: The Pit Barrel Cooker comes with rebar hangers that allow you to hang your turkey breast vertically inside the cooker. Attach the hangers to the cooker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  5. Insert the Turkey Breast: Carefully hang your seasoned turkey breast from the rebar hangers, ensuring that it is positioned securely inside the cooker.

  6. Attach the Lid: Place the lid on top of the Pit Barrel Cooker, leaving the vent holes open to allow smoke to escape.

Smoking the Turkey Breast

Now that your Pit Barrel Cooker is set up, it’s time to start smoking your turkey breast. Here are some tips to help you achieve the perfect smoky flavor:

  • Maintain a Consistent Temperature: The ideal smoking temperature for a turkey breast is between 225°F and 275°F (107°C and 135°C). Use the built-in temperature gauge on the Pit Barrel Cooker to monitor the internal temperature and adjust the vents as needed.

  • Add Wood Chips or Chunks as Needed: Throughout the smoking process, you may need to replenish the wood chips or chunks to maintain a consistent smoke flavor. Be careful not to oversmoke your turkey breast, as this can result in a bitter taste.

  • Monitor the Internal Temperature: Use a meat thermometer to track the internal temperature of your turkey breast. The USDA recommends cooking turkey breast to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure food safety.

  • Baste or Spritz: To keep your turkey breast moist and add extra flavor, consider basting or spritzing it with a flavorful liquid, such as apple cider vinegar, beer, or a mixture of butter and herbs, every 30 to 60 minutes during the smoking process.

  • Rest and Enjoy: Once your turkey breast reaches the desired internal temperature, remove it from the Pit Barrel Cooker and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful turkey breast.

Delicious Smoked Turkey Breast Recipes

Now that you know the basics of smoking a turkey breast on the Pit Barrel Cooker, it’s time to explore some mouthwatering recipes. Here are two delectable options to get you started:

Cranberry Smoked Turkey Breast

This Cranberry Smoked Turkey Breast recipe from Pit Barrel Cooker is a perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors, making it an ideal choice for your holiday feast.


  • 1 turkey breast (2.35 lbs)
  • 2 tbsp poultry rub
  • 1/4 cup cranberries
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 2 sprigs of thyme


  1. Brine the turkey breast in a cranberry brine for at least 2 hours (or up to 12 hours).
  2. Rinse and pat the turkey breast dry, then season with your favorite poultry rub.
  3. Smoke the turkey breast on the Pit Barrel Cooker until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), basting with a cranberry butter mixture every 30 minutes.
  4. Let the turkey breast rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Pit Barrel Cooker Smoked Turkey Breast

This Pit Barrel Cooker Smoked Turkey Breast recipe from Ole Blue Dog is a simple and flavorful option that requires just two ingredients – a turkey breast and your favorite BBQ rub.


  • 1 turkey breast, thawed
  • 1/2 cup BBQ rub


  1. Coat the turkey breast inside and out with the BBQ rub.
  2. Smoke the turkey breast on the Pit Barrel Cooker at 260°F to 275°F (127°C to 135°C) for 2-3 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  3. Remove the turkey breast from the smoker, cover with foil, and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Serving Suggestions and Leftover Ideas

Your smoked turkey breast is sure to be the star of the show, but don’t forget about delicious side dishes and leftovers! Here are some ideas to complete your meal and make the most of any leftovers:

Side Dish Suggestions:

  • Roasted garlic mashed potatoes
  • Cornbread stuffing
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • Green bean casserole

Leftover Ideas:

  • Turkey sandwiches with cranberry mayo
  • Turkey pot pie
  • Turkey salad
  • Turkey noodle soup
  • Turkey enchiladas
  • Turkey tetrazzini

With these mouthwatering recipes and tips, you’re now equipped to create a showstopping smoked turkey breast on your Pit Barrel Cooker. Whether you’re hosting a holiday feast or simply craving a delicious and smoky meal, this versatile cooker is sure to impress. So fire it up, get smoking, and enjoy the incredible flavors that only the Pit Barrel Cooker can deliver!

Smoked Turkey Breast | Pit Barrel Cooker Recipes | How to smoke a turkey breast

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