How to Smoke A Turkey Breast in a Pit Boss (In 6 Simple Steps)

A large juicy smoked turkey is the traditional centerpiece of any festive table.

But sometimes we want the taste of turkey without all the fuss.

Turkey breast fillets are the perfect and convenient alternative to an entire turkey.

Plus smoking in a pellet grill is an easy and tasty choice. As I don’t have to monitor the fire all day!

Smoking adds some amazing flavors while retaining all the moisture and tenderness.

Follow along for a simple, yet incredibly delicious smoked turkey breast recipe that’s sure to delight all your dinner guests.

Choosing the Perfect Breast

First things first, choosing the right breast meat is an important step in the process. 

If the cut is too thick, the outside will tend to overcook before the interior has a chance to finish cooking. 

Turkey is also quite a lean cut, compared to red meat cuts, so choosing cuts with a little fat left on are perfect for smoking. 

The fats will keep the outside moist and tender giving the inside time to cook through.

If your cut is low on fats though, don’t panic as there are some techniques below to help retain moisture.

Wonderging How Much Turkey Breast You Need?

If you’re cooking for a crowd and wondering how many pounds of turkey breast per person? you’ll need to allow at least 1¼ lbs of raw turkey per person.

Bone-In or Boneless?

If you do want to use a large piece of breast, it’s best to buy one with the bone in, or a double piece with the breast bone still intact down the middle.

Bone-in turkey breast cuts tend to retain more of the natural juices, as the bone will heat up faster, heating the meat up from the inside.

The biggest advantage of boneless turkey breasts is the cooking time – smaller boneless pieces will cook a lot quicker than the larger bone-in pieces.

Thawing Your Turkey Breast

If you use frozen turkey breast you need to allow time for it to thaw.

It takes around 24 hours for a 6lb turkey breast to defrost in the fridge. If you have a 3lb breast, it should take around 12 hours.

To Brine or Not to Brine?

It’s not necessary to brine your turkey, it is purely an individual choice.

Generally, it’s better to brine yourself, so you know exactly what’s gone into the meat.

If preparation time is an issue most stores will stock pre-brined turkey, with the label specifying the turkey has been “moisture enhanced with a brine solution of broth, kosher salt, and sugar” or something similar.

To brine, soak overnight in a brine mixture of sugar, salt, water, and seasonings. 

Overnight allows the salt and flavorings to permeate and has the added advantage of tenderizing and retaining moisture.

The Recipe:

This turkey breast is a nice and simple recipe, leaving all the work to the pit boss pellet smoker.

How to Prepare Turkey Breasts

Leave to defrost to room temperature. The cook time will be reduced and it will cook more evenly. A frozen turkey can be cooked but will take longer. 

After removing from the packaging, rinse the breasts in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.

Trim off any excess loose skin and raw meat to tidy up, but don’t worry too much about any excess fat.

What You Need for Smoked Turkey Breasts

1 tablespoon seasoning salt

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

1 tablespoon black pepper


What Are The Best Woodchips For Turkey?

Nice sweet subtle flavors like Applewood, maple, or cherry are perfect for delicate meats like turkey or chicken.

Flavors like mesquite and hickory tend to overpower the light flavor of the turkey.

How Long to Cook Turkey Breasts?

The pellet grills automatically control the flow of wood chips feeding in, keeping the cooking temperature consistent throughout the cooking time.

Cooking time will be around 4-6 hours, depending on the size of the cuts. Note: turkey breast does usually take longer to cook than chicken.

Basting the Breasts

To keep the moisture up during the cooking process, baste with a liquid mixture of maple syrup and orange juice, with a dash of your favorite bourbon. 

The outside bastes will also absorb all the glorious smoky flavor.

How To Know When Turkey Breasts Are Done?

The most accurate way to check if the breast is cooked is by checking the internal temperature with a handheld meat thermometer probe.

The internal temperature at the thickest section should be 170°F. Take care to avoid touching any bones, as these will read a higher temp with the temperature probe.

Once it’s off the grill grate, let it rest for 15-20 minutes so the juices reabsorb and allow the meat to firm up, preventing it from drying out.

Other Cuts of Turkey to Smoke

You don’t have to just smoke whole turkeys or the breast. Try the juicy smoked turkey legs or smoked turkey necks. Not many people use these cuts but they are just as delicious

The Perfect Sides for Smoked Turkey Breast

When it comes to side dishes for the smoked turkey, anything goes. 

Serve it with mashed or baked potatoes and sweet potatoes, fresh vegetables like green beans or corn, coleslaws, fresh garden salads, or even a couscous and rice salad.

Smoked Turkey Breast in a Pit Boss Smoker

This turkey breast is a nice and simple recipe, leaving all the work to the pit boss pellet smoker.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time5 hours
Total Time5 hours 10 minutes
Course: Appetizer, main, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Barbecue, bbq, dinner, grill, lunch
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 246kcal
Author: Charlie
Cost: 12


  • Pit Boss Grill


  • turkey breast
  • 1 tbsp seasoning salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp black pepper


  • Pre-heat the grill to a temperature of 225°F to 250°F.
  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Rub thoroughly over the entire turkey breast, taking care to get into all areas.
  • Place on the upper cooking grill grate.
  • Close the grill cover to keep the meat and smoke consistent.
  • Maintain the cooking temperature at the medium heat of 225°F to 250°F for at least 5 hours.

The mouthwatering flavor of smoked turkey breast is perfect any time of the year, not just the festive season, so fire up the wood pellet grill and get smoking!

Smoke On!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

Hungry For More?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating