Behind the Smoke

What screams BBQ more than the 4th of July?

Hello America,

What screams BBQ more than the 4th of July? This is one of my favorite holidays. We celebrate the 4th in respect of our GREAT Country’s independence from the British. I love my country and I am proud to be an American!

When I think of the 4th, I think of family and friends in a backyard somewhere on Main Street, U.S.A. that grill, BBQ, and gather as Patriots while eating, drinking, and enjoying the freedoms this great country has to offer.

I prefer to get the smoker going early then firing up the grill closer to when it’s time to eat because you must have burgers and dogs! What’s more American than that?

The decision now is what to BBQ? I have been playing around with smoking fresh turkey breast. This is a beautiful piece of meat when done correctly.

There is always a friendly argument to “Brine or not to Brine” and I think you can produce a great product either way. If you plan on holding the turkey breast for any length of time prior to serving I think brining the Turkey makes good sense. If you are going to devour the bird when it’s finished smoking then I think an un-brined turkey works just fine.

Below is a recipe that I have been using recently to BBQ fresh Turkey Breasts

• Fresh deboned Turkey Breast
• Ball Park Mustard
• Seasoning Rub (see below)

The turkey breast should be skinned, split into two lobes, then cleaned pretty good of all sinew and cartilage. Take your mustard and apply liberally on all sides of the breast. Apply generous amounts of seasoning to the bird so it’s covered with enough rub so that rub will form a nice crust or “Bark” which will take the place of the skin. Typically, the skin gets nasty, rubbery, and doesn’t allow the smoke to permeate the meat throughout the smoking process. I have had good results with this method.

The prepping of the Turkey can be done the night before for two reasons. First off, it’s less work in the morning while you are getting your smoker up and running and secondly, the flavors have a chance to develop better.

Keys to Smoking

Real charcoal and/or wood coals

The constant temperature throughout the smoke. (to me it doesn’t really matter if you cook at 210 degrees or 275 degrees) just stay constant

Some type of liquid in the smoker to retain moister. It can be a pan of water, apple cider, vinegar, or a mix of all the above.

Obviously, cooking times vary depending on the size of the breasts and the temperature of your smoker. A rule of thumb is about 15-20 minutes per pound at 225. Remove the meat when the thick part of the turkey is 160 degrees. Allow the bird to rest a good 30-40 minutes (internal temp 170 degrees).

Turkey Rub

    Kosher Salt or Seasoning Salt 2 T
    Black Pepper 2 T
    Granulated Garlic 2 T
    Dried Thyme 2 t
    Dried Sage 2 t
    Ground Allspice 1 t
    Paprika 4 T
    Dry Mustard Powder 1 T
    Turbinado Sugar 4 T

Mix thoroughly and apply liberally.

Enjoy this 4th of July and God Bless America

Mike Tauraso

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