When it comes to food, Thanksgiving is all about the turkey. Unfortunately, for as much as I love to grill a whole turkey, available time and more importantly, the number of eaters, require a different plan. Enter, the turkey breast.
A turkey breast is literally the turkey without the wings, thighs, and legs, as found on an unbutchered turkey. At 5 to 6 pounds, it’s anywhere from one half to one third the size of a full-size bird. The smaller size means faster grilling, and when only looking to feast with 4 to 6 people, it’s the perfect portion.
Some may argue, like uh, me, that the white breast meat is not as flavorful as the darker meat found in the thighs and legs. While this may seem like a trade-off, there is an easy process to pack more flavor into the breast meat: a brine.
By soaking the turkey breast in a saltwater solution, we can increase the moisture and flavor found in the meat as the brine allows the turkey to retain water during grilling. Our turkey just got better.
Speaking of brines, here is a fantastic recipe by Jamie Purviance. Chock full of aromatics, this brine produces exceptional flavor possibly making the turkey breast your new go-to Thanksgiving feast.
Brined Whole Turkey Breast
whole allspice, crushed
coarsely chopped fresh ginger
garlic cloves, crushed
whole turkey breast, 5 to 6 pounds
unsalted butter, melted
In a large 8-quart stockpot, dissolve the salt in the hot water. Add the rest of the brine ingredients and stir to combine. Let cool to room temperature. Add the ice cubes to the brine.
Rinse the turkey breast under cold water and then place it in the brine. Add enough cold water to totally cover the turkey breast by at least ½ inch. Carefully stir the brine again. Cover and refrigerate for about 12 hours.
Remove the turkey breast from the stockpot and discard the brine. Pat dry with paper towels.
Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F ).
Place the turkey, skin side up, in a roasting rack set inside a large disposable foil pan. Brush the skin with the melted butter. Grill the turkey breast over indirect medium heat, with the lid closed, until the skin is golden and the internal temperature reaches 160 to 165ºF in the thickest part of the breast (not touching the bone), about 1½ hours. Remove from the grill and let rest for 15 minutes (the internal temperature will rise a few degrees during this time). Cut into thin slices.
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Check out all of our other blogs about turkey! Then share what you grilled with us using #BestTurkeyEver on social!