Sunday, November 4, 2012

Homemade Smoked Turkey Breast

I'm not talking about the stuff you can buy at grocery store delis. I'm talking about home-smoked turkey breast -- and turkey legs, beef brisket, pork shoulder, tri-tip, etc. Yes, after years of talking about it, I finally broke down and bought a smoker. I got an electric one because I knew I was going to be the only one using it, and I didn't want to fuss with gas, charcoal, or pellets. I got a relatively inexpensive Masterbuilt 20 inch electric smoker at my local Home Depot. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on special bells & whistles because I wasn't sure how I would like it. Well, the verdict is in: I like it a lot!
I started using it about 3 weeks ago, and so far, I've smoked a pork shoulder and brisket with mesquite wood chips. And this last weekend I smoked a turkey breast, 3 turkey legs, and a tri-tip with hickory wood chips. In fact, we just got done eating a smoked turkey sandwich complete with mayo, horseradish sauce, cranberry sauce, and lettuce on whole wheat buns. All I can say is, "YUM!."

My reason for trying out a smoker is simple: Smoked meat tastes good! Even without using any salt! My husband really likes smoked meats, but, as we all know, most smoked meat products are prohibitively high in salt. Having my own smoker means I can give him meals he'll really enjoy but without the sodium. I realize that many experienced smokers brine their meats to guard against dryness. Of course, I don't use that method. I use a homemade no-salt-added dry rub to season the meat before letting it rest over night. Then the next day I smoke the meat.

Each cut of meat requires specific methods for cooking, so I refer to two great websites: Dadgum,That's Good, the official Masterbuilt site and Amazing Ribs. I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to get the hang of it. Now I realize I was worried for nothing. Using the smoker is quite easy, and the results are wonderful.
Last week, I used the meaty pork shoulder bone to make some wonderfully smokey baked beans. No more worrying about trying to remove salt from commercially-smoked ham hocks. I smoked the turkey legs this weekend specifically for soups & beans, and I plan on buying some turkey wings for the same purpose.

All in all, I'm very pleased with my new toy. It allows me to add smoked meats to our diet without worrying about sodium content.


Jenny said...

Have you, by chance, tried any veggies in it? I'm tempted to get one but I just don't know. Beautiful turkey!

johanna said...

I'm glad you made this - looks yummy! Someone suggested a smoked turkey over the weekend for Thanksgiving! :)

Anonymous said...

Jenny, the "Dadgum That's Good" site ( has several recipes for smoked vegetables and a great sounding one for smoked mac & cheese. I think thickly sliced tomatoes would be great and just about any vegetable, as long as it's sliced enough to allow smoke penetration.

I certainly understand your hesitancy. It took me a couple of years before actually buying the smoker and another couple of months before breaking down and using it. As I said, I'm very happy with my decision. Once thing I really like is that I can do several different cuts of meat at one time. Then freeze them for later use. For example, when my daughter & her husband visited last Saturday, I pulled out a package of smoked pork shoulder, defrosted it, and served pulled pork sandwiches for lunch.

Here's a vegetable recipe from "Dadgum..."

Smoked Summer Vegetables

Summer squash
French Cut Green Beans

Suggested Wood for Smoking
Hickory or Apple wood chips

Rinse and thinly slice summer squash, zucchini and onion. Mix all the vegetables together. Form cup shaped containers using heavy duty aluminum foil. Place about 1 cup of vegetable mix in each cup. Season to taste with your favorite herbs and spices. Pinch top of foil cups together. To allow smoke penetration a couple small holes around the top of each vegetable cup. Place foil cups in smoker at 220 degrees for 1 hour. Serve.

shambo said...

Johanna, I may smoke an entire turkey just for the fun of it. There'd be plenty of tasty meat for sandwiches, that's for sure.

Jenny said...

Thanks for the recipe. Looks tasty!

Dar said...

We turn our gas grill into a makeshift smoker. We use a cast iron skillet with wood hunks in it, foil containers don't hold up well. We have found, at least with chicken, doing a brief marinade in cider vinegar and then doing a no salt rub it helps to maintain moisture. My husband has done smoked chicken wings and legs this way so far.