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Timber 2 Table - Smoked BBQ Wild Turkey Breast

An overnight brine and a low and slow cooking process make this wild turkey juicy and delicious

Smoked BBQ Wild Turkey Breast

30 Min

Prep Time

90 Min

Cook Time



Easy, Medium


I love smoking wild turkey breast. This recipe is one of my family’s favorites. For this one, I plucked the breast and left the skin on. It takes just a few minutes, and the skin adds tons of flavor to the finished product. Will it look perfect? Probably not. I usually end up tearing the skin as I pluck, but don’t worry, it still tastes good, even if it doesn’t perfectly cover the entirety of the meat.

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Try plucking your next wild turkey breast and leaving the skin on for this recipe.

Wild turkey is lean. Really lean. That means it can dry out with slow cooking processes like smoking. To battle that, we give the breast an overnight brine. That helps add flavor and moisture to the meat.

Look at a wild turkey breast—one end is pretty thick, while the other is thin. To keep the thin end from drying out before the thick end comes to temperature, I like to fold the thin side under and tie the breast into a roast using butcher’s twine. That helps the meat cook evenly and finish at the same time without drying out.

Start by brining the meat in the refrigerator overnight in 3 quarts of water with ¾ cup kosher salt, ¾ cup brown or raw sugar, 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon mustard seed, and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes. Stir all of this until the salt and sugar dissolve, then add the breast. Cover and refrigerate.

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Mix the brine ingredients, add the turkey breast, then refrigerate overnight.

Once the meat has finished brining, give it a quick rinse and pat dry. Roll the thin end under itself and use butcher’s twine to tie it into a tight roast.

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Fold the thin end under for a more uniform cooking thickness, then tie with butcher’s twine to hold the shape.

Rub the meat all over with ranch dressing both as a binder and to add a bit of zip. Shake on your favorite BBQ rub to heavily coat the turkey.

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Cover the turkey with ranch dressing, then your BBQ rub of choice.

Place the meat on the smoker at 225 degrees. About an hour in, brush on your favorite BBQ sauce.

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Brush with BBQ sauce as the turkey grills.

Repeat this step two more times as the meat smokes. Once the meat hits 150, remove the meat from the grill and loosely tent with foil to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

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Rest before slicing thinly against the grain.

Serve as is for a main course and save any leftovers for an awesome sandwich.


1 side of a wild turkey breast

3 tablespoons ranch dressing

2 tablespoons BBQ rub

1 cup BBQ sauce

Butcher’s twine


3 quarts water

¾ cup kosher salt

¾ cup brown or raw sugar

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

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