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This site contains a collection of techniques for barbecuing, smoking and cooking over fire. The techniques shown here are not the only way or the best way to prepare a certain item. This site is just a starting point and these techniques are a guide to creating your own recipes. Recipes included here come not only from personal experiences, but from many knowledgeable folks kind enough to share their secrets. ~thirdeye~

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TURKEY BREAST - Preparing For Roasting or Smoking

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Certain meats are traditionally cooked at special times during the year. A standing rib roast at Christmas, a corned beef brisket or pastrami for St. Patrick’s Day and a turkey at Thanksgiving are wonderful meals. I think we overlook turkey as an option for a regular cook. I don’t know why, turkey is almost like chicken. Turkey is cheap, it’s healthy and it’s easy to cook. Whoa, I know the answer ….’cause they is so big! Relax, you don’t have to cook a 20 pounder. You can buy quarters, legs and breasts. Here is one way I like to do breasts. They are a quick cook and will be moist and juicy. Slicing will be very easy.

Turkey breasts are usually frozen and they need a few days in the refrigerator to thaw slowly. After thawing, unwrap and rinse in some lemon water. If you want to flavor brine it, mix up a solution and brine between 4 and 48 hours in the refrigerator. If you are smoking the breast you may want to try a stronger brine. After rinsing the brine, rest between 4 and 24 more hours in the refrigerator. If you don't elect to brine, just go to the next step.

First, the breasts need some trimming to make slicing easy and also for presentation. You will need some kitchen shears and a butcher knife.

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Lay the breast down on your cutting board and cut along the ribs and lay the backbone forward.

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With a knife, trim out the wish bone and cut the backbone off.

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With the shears, cut down the edges of the breast plate and remove a V section of the plate along with the wishbone. Trim up any other loose areas of meat or skin.

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Turn the breast over and tie with some butchers twine. All that is left is adding some rub and on to the cooker.

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Cooking Method for Roasted Turkey Breast - Use an indirect set up and roasting temperatures around between 300° and 350° at the grate. Use wood if you wish. Start with the breast side down. This will allow the side up time to seal over and also give the skin some grill marks. In about a half hour, turn the breast side up. You can baste the skin now if you wish, or give it a light coating of olive oil. In another half hour or so, insert your cable thermometer into the center of the breast. If you are a baster, do it again now. Monitor the internal temperature until it is 140°, then close down your vents in order to let the the internal temperature creep up to around 155°, then remove the breast leaving the thermometer in place. (no moisture leaks!) Tent with foil and rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Watch the remote thermometer and you will see it will rise 8° to 10° during the rest. If crisp skin texture is not an issue, you can double wrap in foil and rest/hold in a pre-warmed cooler for up to 30 or 40 minutes.

If you have brined the breast it will have retained more moisture. You can take a brined breast to 165° and it still will be nice and juicy. If the breast is to be chilled and used for sandwiches, the higher internal temp will produce a slightly firmer product.

With an average sized turkey breast, I generally allow 2-1/2 or 3 hours for cooking and resting.

Removal of the back and the breast plate will make slicing very easy and neat. You can start on one side and slice right up to the center bone with ease.

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