To perk up a bland turkey breast, I rub it with an Italian-inspired blend of coarsely ground spices. That blend includes a big dose of red pepper flakes and black pepper, adding a spicy kick to contrast with the neutral meat.
Rotisserie Turkey Breast with Italian-Spiced Dry Brine
By Mike Vrobel
6-8 pound turkey breast
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1 tablespoon Morton’s kosher salt (½ ounce)
Instructions: 1. Dry brine the turkey breast
Eight hours to 1 day before it is time to cook, pat the turkey breast dry with paper towels. Cut the extra skin away from the neck. Check inside the neck cavity, and discard any big pieces of fat.
Coarsely grind together the peppercorns, fennel, coriander, and red pepper flakes, then stir in the salt. (I grind with a mortar and pestle or in an electric coffee mill that I only use for spice grinding.)
Gently work the skin loose from the turkey breast starting from the back of the bird, and rub 1 teaspoon of the brine directly on the meat. Pull the skin back into place, then sprinkle the rest of the brine over the turkey breast, inside and out. Put the turkey breast in a baking dish and let it rest in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight or up to 24 hours.
2. Spit the turkey breast
One hour before cooking, remove the turkey breast from the refrigerator. 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.
3. Test the rotisserie
Before your preheat the grill, put the spit on the grill and turn on the motor. Be sure to test that your food fits and freely spins on the rotisserie. (It is crucial to test this out before you preheat the grill.)
4. 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 the charcoal into two piles on the sides, or turn on the burners on the edges the grill.)
5. Cook the turkey breast
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 165°F in its thickest part (about 1 ¾ hours), then add 5 minutes more cooking time.
6. Carve and serve
Remove the turkey from the grill and remove the spit from the turkey. Let the turkey rest for 20-30% of the cooktime before carving. Cut the breast halves from the keel bone and ribcage, then carve the breast into ¼-inch-thick slices. Arrange the turkey slices on a platter and serve.
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