Honey Glazed Smoked Turkey Breast

By Justin McChesney-Wachs, Salt Pepper Skillet
Culinary Setting
Meal Type
Main Course, Entrée
10 HR 15 MIN

About this Dish

“You know that amazing honey-brown sugar glaze that we brush all over our smoked ham? Well, let’s bring that concept to delicious smoked turkey breast to add some wonderfully sweet and smokey flavors to our holiday bird.” – Justin McChesney-Wachs

Cooking Style
Bone-In Breast
Dish Type
Whole Bird


5 to 8 lb bone-in turkey breast

1 Tbsp butter or canola oil


8 c water

1/2 c kosher salt

1/3 c sugar

1 tsp peppercorns


1/3 c honey

3/4 c packed brown sugar

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1/4 c apple cider vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 c bourbon (optional)


Brine the turkey

Make the brine by adding 2 cups of boiling water in a large container with the salt, sugar and peppercorns. Stir to dissolve completely, then add a combination of 6 cups of cold water and ice.

Place the turkey breast in the brine and refrigerate for 8 hours.

Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse and pat dry with paper towels.

Make the glaze

While the turkey smokes, make the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the glaze ingredients and stir to combine and dissolve. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low, continuing to cook until the glaze has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Smoke the turkey

While the breast comes to room temperature, prepare the smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions for indirect cooking with a water drip pan in place. Add wood chunks (or pellets) and bring the temperature to 250° F.

Rub room-temperature butter or canola oil all over the turkey, then place in the smoker.

When the internal temperature of the breasts reaches about 130° F (about 90 minutes in), glaze the turkey and repeat after 15 more minutes.

Remove the turkey at 160° F, as it will continue to rise at least 5° to finish at 165° F. Verify with a probe thermometer.

Rest for 20 minutes before slicing and serving with a drizzle more of the glaze.