Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Smoked Citrus, Cumin & Garlic Turkey Breast

Here's a heads up for ya, folks. Think of this as one of those big yellow "Work Zone Ahead" signs on the turnpike. Only this one would say "BBQ Overload Ahead." Yep, that's what happens when you get a new smoker. Well, that and BIG silly sauce stained smiles on the faces of neighbors and family from all that smoky deliciousness!

One of the BEST things about smoking is how easy it is...I think of it almost as the crockpot of summer cooking. Really. Seriously!  A little simple prep, throw it in the smoker with soaked wood chips of choice, check the internal temp of the protein on occasion and pull it out when it registers what you're looking for. Boom! If you put some fresh ears of corn in there at the same time, maybe even some par-boiled potatoes, mushrooms and/or tomatoes, you have an entire meal at once. 

Although the ease is one reason for my smoking enthusiasm, the crazy BBQ flavor is the deal sealer for me. Don't have a smoker? You can use a smoker box in your gas or charcoal grill. Don't want to invest in an expensive smoker? Do what we did around here. For $40 we initially bought an electric column type smoker at Home Depot that we used for years! After that, the same type - only a charcoal model from Lowe's - was our baby for another few years. That one was a whopping $50! Bottom line here is that you can get in on the ground floor of smoking for almost peanuts.

Okay, enough talking about smoking. Let's get goin' and get on the road to the recipe!

Smoked Citrus Cumin Garlic Turkey Breast

  • a 2-3 lb boneless, skinless fresh turkey breast
  • a quart bowl of smoker wood chips, soaked in water for at least an hour before putting the turkey in the smoker - I used a combo of apple and hickory chips

Citrus, Cumin & Garlic Butter:

  • zest of 1 lime, 1 Meyer (or regular) lemon, 1/2 an orange (zest the orange BEFORE cutting in half)
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed or minced finely
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 3 T soft butter
  • 1/2 T kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

  • juice of 1/2 the lime, 1/2 the Meyer lemon and the WHOLE orange
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1 T honey
  • 2 T olive oil

A few hours before you start smoking (or the day before), butterfly the turkey breast. 

Laying the breast longitudinally in front of you on a cutting board, make a shallow cut down the center being sure not to cut through to the bottom. Next place your knife inside that cut and cut horizontally towards the left of the breast being careful not to cut all the way through. Do the same on the right side and open the breast up, laying it flat. 

Spread or pat the prepared butter in the center, leaving plenty of butter-less space around the edges. You want to keep the butter inside the breast as it cooks. Roll the buttered turkey breast from one side to the other and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the turkey breast 1-2 hours (or even overnight) and take out an hour before you want to put it in the smoker.

Turkey breast butterflied open and spread with Citrus Cumin Garlic Butter

Prepare your smoker and bring it up to 225 degrees. Once it's at temp, place the turkey breast in the smoker, inserting a cooking thermometer into the center of the breast (my smoker came with a probe built in - convenient!). Smoke to an internal temp of 165 degrees basting occasionally with the basting liquid throughout the smoking time. When the probe registers 165, remove and let rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing thinly. And enjoy!

NOTE: Once you start smoking, you may never have to buy expensive lunch meats again. Leftovers make fantastic sandwiches and salads! In fact, my next post will feature a recipe for leftover smoked brisket...stay tuned.

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