spiced smoked turkey breast. for thanksgiving.

It all started with the chorizo cornbread. I had it in my head to use chorizo in cornbread for months. So when McCormick Spices asked me to tell them about my Thanksgiving, that chipotle chile flavor was already haunting my kitchen dreams. I wanted to offer up something different. Something appropriate for a small gathering. A different twist because I’m always so darn traditional when it comes to Thanksgiving.

McCormick has asked many of your favorite bloggers to celebrate Thanksgiving – check out their terrific recipes by liking the McCormick Facebook page.

Since we’re traveling for the holiday, and I was wistful for turkey, I was thrilled for the excuse to cook, but the fifteen pound birds of past years would be way too much for two of us to eat. I imagine some of you are planning a small holiday gathering -in which case, the turkey breast might be the perfect size. It’s a more manageable amount of food, certainly, and easier to keep the white meat nice and juicy because you’re not waiting for the dark meat to get cooked!

I wanted the bone-in, so there would be stock, and gravy. What’s Thanksgiving without gravy? There was only one bone-in turkey breast available. It was huge. Eight pounds.

It seemed this was also a perfect opportunity to use all those mad Charcutepalooza skillz! Because I’ve become enamoured of smoking small chickens in the Bradley smoker, I immediately thought to do the same with the turkey breast. And I decided to dodge all the sage, rosemary and thyme. All that parsley. The traditional. I threw it over for chiles and spices.

After brining overnight (1 gallon water + 1 cup salt + 1 cup brown sugar + one head of garlic + two lemons, halved and squeezed,) it was time to rub a spicy mix on the bird.

I stirred up the standard spice mix, I have been using for almost all smoking, then veered happily toward the chipotle tinged, cumin and coriander scents.

The Bradley smoker worked wonderfully. The temperature held at 235° and the mammoth turkey breast emerged juicy, lightly hickory-smoked, and beautiful after just two hours. About 15 minutes per pound, at 165°.

So there it was. Thanksgiving a little early was very satisfying indeed. We enjoyed smoked turkey breast, wine tinged gravy made from the smoked turkey stock, chipotle chorizo corn pones, pan roasted Brussell sprouts, and raspberry cranberry conserve. And cherry pie for dessert.

Happy, happy Thanksgiving. I have so much for which to be thankful, and especially the grace, warmth, and friendship of all of you.



5 thoughts on “spiced smoked turkey breast. for thanksgiving.”

  1. I don’t usually eat poultry, but I make an exception for the holidays – and that turkey breast looks delish. We started making just the bone-in breast a few years ago and it really is perfect for a smaller party and you still get to carve it for a great presentation. We have not, however, perfected our gravy! Do you have a recipe for the one you made, or any tips on how to make delicious gravy?

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