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I talk about the joy of dry brines a lot on this blog. For most applications, dry brining is the best way to season meat. But…not always.
If you’re in a hurry, or if you love juicy breast meat, wet brines are the way to go. With a turkey breast, all you have is juicy breast meat, so why not go with a wet brine? Also, turkey breasts fit in reasonably sized containers – it’s not like wet brining a whole turkey, where I can’t find anything big enough to fit that eighteen pound monster I got from the store, not even my largest stockpot, and I’m trying to use a 28 ounce can of tomatoes to hold the lid down and force the turkey to stay…ahem…sorry…got off track there.1
Now, I know setting up the rotisserie is extra work. It’s worth it, and turkey breast makes it easier. No trussing is needed – there are no wings or legs flopping around, and the breast meat is held in place by the bones of the bird. Spit the turkey breast, set up the grill, plug in the rotisserie motor, and you’re ready to go.
- Grill with a rotisserie attachment (I love my Weber Summit)
- A container large enough to hold the turkey breast—I use an 8-quart food service container
- Instant Read Thermometer
Rotisserie Turkey breast, moist and juicy thanks to a wet brine.
- 1 gallon cold water
- 1/4 cup table salt or 1/2 cup kosher salt (3 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
- 6-to–8-pound bone-in turkey breast
- 2 cups wood chips (Cherry wood or your favorite flavor smoking wood)
- Brine the turkey breast: Cut the extra skin away from the neck. Check inside the neck cavity and discard any big pieces of fat. Pour the water into the container. Add the salt and sugar and stir until they dissolve. Submerge the turkey breast in the brine and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably 4 to 8 hours.
- Spit the turkey breast: One hour before cooking, remove the turkey breast from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the brine. Trim off any loose pieces of skin or meat near the wings. Skewer the breast on the rotisserie spit, securing it with the spit forks. Let it rest at room temperature until it is time to cook.
- Set up the grill: Set up the grill for indirect medium heat (325° to 350°F) with the drip pan in the middle of the grill and the heat on the sides. (Split charcoal into two piles on the sides of the grill, or turn on the burners on the edges the grill.).
- Cook the turkey breast: Add the wood chips to the grill. Put the spit on the grill, start the rotisserie spinning, and make sure the drip pan is centered under the turkey. Close the lid. If you are using a charcoal grill, add 16 unlit briquettes after an hour to keep the heat going. Cook until the turkey breast reaches 150°F in its thickest part, about 90 minutes.
- Carve and serve: Remove the turkey from the grill and remove the spit from the turkey. Let the turkey rest for 15 minutes before carving. Cut the breast halves from the keel bone and ribcage, then carve the breast into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the turkey slices on a platter and serve.
- If you are grilling on a gas grill without a smoker box, wrap the wood chips in an aluminum foil envelope, and set them on the burner cover directly over one of the lit burners.
- If you are using a grill with an infrared rotisserie burner, use it until the turkey breast is browning nicely, then turn it off. I check after a half an hour; if the turkey isn’t browned enough, I check every 15 minutes after that.
- Try to find a “natural” turkey for this. If your turkey is “Enhanced with a X% solution”, that means it was pre-brined at the plant. We don’t want to over salt the turkey, so cut the salt back to 1.5 ounces – 2 tablespoons of table salt or ¼ cup of kosher salt.
Here’s the video version of this recipe:
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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