Rotisserie Turkey Breast, Dry Brined
Rotisserie turkey breast is the easiest rotisserie recipe I have. Yes, I know that cooking on the rotisserie is a bit of a hassle. You have to hook up the motor, truss your meat, skewer it, and find someplace to put the searingly hot spit when you’re done. Why do I go through all that? Results. Rotisserie cooking just works better than roasting.
*Look at the skin in the picture! Rotisserie cooking gives you perfect browning, and browning is the maillard reaction giving you flavor. Also, the meat just seems juicier after I’ve cooked it on the rotisserie.
I love cooking a whole turkey, but it’s a lot of meat. If I’m just feeding my wife and the kids, then a turkey breast is a more reasonable amount to cook. Even so, it’s still a lot of food. I plan a few extra meals around the leftovers.
*If you’re like me, then the leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving. With this recipe, you can have those leftovers whenever you want!
Turkey breast can be pretty bland, so we’re going to use a dry brine, inspired by Judy Rodgers of San Francisco’s Zuni Cafe. The dry brine seasons the breast and deepens the turkey flavor. It’s impressive how such an easy technique improves the results. All you need is time – you have to salt the breast at least a day ahead.
*Dry brining has been the secret to a couple of my other recipes, and I’ve started to prefer it to the wet brine I used to use all the time. Just don’t use it with pork; it doesn’t work as well as a traditional brine. See my “When should you salt meat?” article for the details.
- Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I used a Weber Summit 650 with an infrared rotisserie burner. Here it is.)
- Aluminum foil drip pan (9″x12″, or whatever fits your grill)
- Butcher’s twine
- Instant Read Thermometer
- 1 whole turkey breast (6-7 lbs)
- 4 tsp kosher salt
1. Dry Brine the Turkey: 1 to 2 days before cooking, salt the turkey. Rub 2 tsp of salt in the big cavity, then work the skin loose from the breast, being careful not to tear it, and rub 1 tsp of salt on each breast. Wrap the turkey in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, and up to 2 days.
*I put the turkey in the aluminum foil drip pan, to keep it from leaking in the refrigerator.
2. Prepare the grill: Set your grill up for rotisserie cooking at medium heat. For my Weber Summit, this means turning the two outer burners (burners 1 and 6) to medium, and turning the infrared burner to medium. Then I put my drip pan in the middle, over the unlit burners. (See here for more rotisserie setup details.)
3. Truss and Skewer the Turkey: Discard the plastic wrap on the turkey, and pat it dry with paper towels. If there is loose skin on the turkey (around the wings and the neck), truss it once, around the wing sockets, and tuck loose skin under the butcher’s twine. Skewer the turkey on your spit, running the prongs under the belly of the bird, so you don’t pierce the meat on the breast. See picture above; the turkey is upside down.
4. Cook the Turkey: Put the spit on the grill, and turn on the rotisserie motor. Cook with the lid closed. It should take 1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the breast. My 7 pound breast was done in 1 hour and 50 minutes. It’s better to go by temperature, though – you want the breast at the thickest part to read 160*F to 165*F; start checking about 15 minutes before you think the bird will be done.
*Turkey breast gets very dry when overcooked, so please don’t go above 165*F.
5. Serve Remove the turkey from the spit, and let rest for 15 minutes before carving. I like to cut the breast halves from the carcass, then slice them crosswise into 1/4″ thick slices. Serve with the juices in the drip pan, if they’re not sooty from your fire.
*On a gas grill, this isn’t a problem, but check them if you’re using charcoal.
*Serve with rotisserie pan potatoes and a salad, and you have an easy, healthy meal. Mashed sweet potatoes are another great accompaniment.
*As I mention in the recipe, the key is to cook the breast to 160*F – turkey breast is so lean, that it goes from juicy to terribly dry at just above 165*F. You really need an instant read thermometer to tell if your turkey breast is cooked.
*Leftovers make wonderful turkey sandwiches. I cook this recipe just to get the leftovers, really; it gives me meat for sandwiches and soup all week.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Rotisserie Pan Potatoes are a great side dish to cook with this recipe.
Rotisserie Turkey Breast with Spice Rub
Rotisserie Turkey, Dry Brined with Orange and Spices (The whole bird on a charcoal grill)
Rotisserie Turkey with Cajun Dry Brine (The whole bird on a gas grill)
Click here for my other rotisserie recipes.
|Check out my cookbook, Rotisserie Grilling.|
Everything you could ask about the rotisserie,
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