When you’re lounging in the backyard or don’t want to turn on the oven, grilled turkey breast is the perfect light summer cuisine.
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On occasion, I’ll make this bone-in BBQ turkey breast for Thanksgiving. Easy to make, takes up less oven room than other recipes, and is juicy, tender, and delicious
This recipe essentially turns your BBQ into an oven. You may, however, add wood smoke and obtain some char on the skin for a good presentation – both of which are impossible to achieve in an oven.
Because turkey is so bland, I recommend brining it to give it some flavor and eating it with a sauce or relish. Below are a few options.
I tried cooking the turkey at a higher temperature of 450-500 degrees Fahrenheit/232 degrees Celsius. I felt the meat to be dried out, despite the fact that it cooked significantly faster. The 350-375 F/176-190 C medium temperature performed much better. The turkey was succulent and juicy. When checking the temperature, make sure to use an instant read thermometer.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH GRILLED TURKEY ?
The grilled turkey breast can be served hot or cold as a light main meal. While the turkey is cooking, you can grill vegetables on the opposite half of the grill. Charred Onions, Grilled Hasselback Sweet Potatoes, Grilled Spiced Cauliflower, Grilled Coleslaw, and Party Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Quinoa are some fantastic grilled side dishes for the turkey.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- 1 turkey breast: we used a bone-in turkey breast.
- butter or ghee: rub this all over before cooking!
- salt and pepper: I love keeping my seasoning simple, but feel free to add in some sage or rosemary.
- stuffing (optional): cut up white onion, orange, garlic and fresh rosemary
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- BRINE TURKEY BREAST (OPTIONAL): In a big Ziploc bag, combine [not too cold] water, salt (and herbs, sugar, and garlic, if using). Massage the bag to help the salt dissolve. Toss in the turkey breast. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours after sealing the bag. If you’re in a hurry, leave it on the counter for an hour.
- HEAT BBQ GRILL to medium high (about 450F/232C). Note 2 – adding wood smoke.
- MAKE SEASONING MIXTURE: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
- SEASON THE TURKEY AND GRILL: Rub the spice mixture all over the turkey, even under the skin (gently separate skin from flesh).
Turn off the heat/burner under the turkey and place it on one side of the grill. Close the lid on the grill. Preheat the grill to 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit (176.7-190C). Turn the breast 180 degrees after 30 minutes to bring the opposite side of the turkey closer to the fire (for even cooking). Grill for 45-60 minutes total (depending on size of turkey). In the thickest area, an instant thermometer should read 160F/71C. Turn the turkey breast skin side down on the heated area of the grill in the last 2-3 minutes to brown the skin even more if desired.
- REST, SLICE AND SERVE:
Place the turkey breast on a chopping board and set aside for 15 minutes to rest, lightly covered with foil. It’s crucial for a delicious turkey! The temperature will rise to 165 degrees Fahrenheit (73.9 degrees Celsius), which is the desired temperature. Remove all of the turkey meat from the bone. Then cut into 1/4-1/2 inch (0.63-1.27cm) slices horizontally. Serve with Cranberry Relish, Savory Peach Sauce, Mango Sauce, Peach Chutney, Herb Sauce, or Cranberry Relish
- Brine the turkey: If you have the time, brining the bird is worth it in my opinion. If you don’t have any, one option is to purchase a brined kosher turkey breast (but more expensive).
- Grilling temperature: As previously said, I find that a medium grill temperature of 350-375F (176-190C) is ideal.
- Using a whole turkey breast: If you want to feed a larger group, buy an entire turkey breast. Cooking is the same, only it will take a little longer and the spice combination will have to be doubled. You should be able to feed 6 people with one complete 5 pound/2.27 kilogram breast, depending on the size and number of sides you have.
- Temperature of turkey breast to ensure moist meat: In a few spots, the instant thermometer should read 160 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s fine if you notice somewhat lower temperatures in other areas. During the resting process, the temperature will climb to 165°F, which is critical for keeping the turkey’s juices
TAILOR TO OUR TASTE
If you have a favorite seasoning blend, use it. The mayonnaise in this recipe helps to keep the turkey moist, but if you prefer, you may use olive oil instead.
To add a smoked wood taste
In tin foil, place 1 1/2 – 2 cups wood chips (apple or cherry is ideal for turkey). To construct a cylinder, roll the foil over the wood chips. Make several holes in the foil to allow the smoke to pass through. For 5-8 minutes, or until the wood chips begin to smoke, place them on the hot side of the grill. After that, place the turkey on the grill. While the turkey is cooking, leave the wood chips in the grill.
MAKE A HEAD
The entire dish can be prepared ahead of time. Don’t cut the turkey into slices. Cool it down and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Slice and serve cold or at room temperature on a buffet table, in sandwiches, or in a salad when ready to serve.
HOW TO MAKE THIS BONE-IN GRILLED TURKEY BREAST RECIPE
- Season turkey breast with a mix of Dijon, thyme, mayo, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper
- Seasoning mixture
- Rub mixture all over turkey breast including under the skin
- Grill turkey on medium.
- Grilled turkey breast with mango sauce. Peach chutney would be amazing too
- Grilled turkey breast with cranberry orange relish
HOW TO GRILL TURKEY BREAST
- The temperature of the grill surface is critical, and we’ll also do some indirect grilling. Do not be alarmed; it is not difficult. You will, however, require a grill surface thermometer. The one in the grill lid serves no purpose. Please don’t put your trust in it. In addition, your grill must have adequate surface area to support indirect turkey breast cooking.
- We’ll start with a 350°-400° grill surface temperature across the entire surface.
- That’s a little lower than we generally cook chicken (450°), but it’s necessary due to the thickness. Yes, thicker meat requires a lower temperature and longer cooking time to allow the heat to penetrate, but this also means greater drying, necessitating the use of a brine or injection.
- We’ll brown the skin a little, flip it over, and turn off half of the grill, directing the heat to the thicker side. At the intersection of the direct and indirect sides, we want the temperature to be around 350° (oven roasting temperature).
Warning: NEVER BRINE A PREVIOUSLY BRINED OR INJECTED TURKEY BREAST
- I’m going to start with a brine, which I believe is essential for a grilled turkey or turkey breast. But, and I’ll say it again, DO NOT BRINE A TURKEY BREAST THAT HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY INJECTED OR BRINED, and I’ll say it again a few times before we’re done.
- I recommend a normal turkey brine made with 2 quarts of water and 14 cup of salt. With the garlic, brown sugar, and bay leaf, I added a few other flavors, but they are not essential.
- You can add different flavors to the brine if you wish to. Add some apple cider and a quartered orange if you want to go fancy. Let your imagination run wild. The most crucial thing is that the salt-to-liquid ratio remains consistent. Keep in mind that it isn’t an exact science, so keep it near.
A brief note of saltiness. 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt Equals 1 teaspoon table salt + 14 teaspoon Morton kosher salt
Refrigerate for 3-6 hours before serving. Rinse and pat dry after removing the brine. If you brine, don’t use salt in the rub.
RECIPE FAQS & TIPS
- Thawing – here’s a fantastic post that will address all of your thawing questions!
- Is it necessary to brine the turkey? You can brine your turkey breast ahead of time, but it isn’t necessary. Brining Turkey 101 can be found here.
- Do I need an aluminum tray? Yes! It helps capture all of those yummy drippings for basting and gravy making — here’s a wonderful gravy recipe! For further support, we recommend using two aluminum trays.
- Meat Thermometer: I strongly advise purchasing an internal meat thermometer to confirm the bird has reached a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Do you have any leftovers, Stlil? This Leftover Turkey + Wild Rice Soup is delicious!
- Cooking Times for Turkey: I usually find the FDA’s cook-time breakdown helpful!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE:
- Easy— just throw the turkey breast on the grill and let it cook! You just need to baste it 1-2 times while it’s on the grill because you don’t want to lose a lot of heat.
- Holiday – This is a great alternative if you’re cooking for a small group of folks over the holidays!
- Versatile— You can stuff the turkey breast with whatever sounds good to you, including stuffing (just make sure you adjust cooking times accordingly).
Frequently Ask Questions
How long do you grill turkey breast?
1 to 1 1/2 hours on the grill, or until cooked thoroughly (internal temperature reaches 165°F). Remove the grill from the heat. Allow for 20 minutes of resting time. Transfer turkey to platter or carving board to slice.
How long does it take to grill a 3lb boneless turkey breast?
Grill for 14-15 minutes per pound of turkey breast, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F and the juices run clear.
How do you cook a turkey breast on a Weber gas grill?
Over indirect medium heat, with the lid covered, grill the turkey breast until the skin is golden and the internal temperature reaches 160 to 165oF in the thickest portion of the breast (not touching the bone), about 112 hours.
How do you grill a turkey breast on a propane grill?
Cook, stirring constantly, until the marinade comes to a boil, about 1 minute. Place the turkey breast over the drip pan on the grill. Cover and grill for 2-2 1/2 hours, flipping and basting with marinade regularly, or until internal temperature reaches 165°F and turkey is no longer pink.
How long does it take to cook a turkey breast per pound?
How long to cook a turkey breast per pound is an often asked issue when it comes to turkey. The solution is straightforward! At 350 degrees Fahrenheit, cook for 20 minutes per pound. Because my turkey breast weighed 3 pounds, I roasted it for 60 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
More Recipes to try!
ROASTED TURKEY BREAST WITH GARLIC AND HERBS
A flavorful garlic and herb butter coats this roasted turkey breast, which is then baked to golden brown perfection. The ideal quick and easy option for a holiday supper or a regular evening!
I make a whole roasted turkey when I’m feeding a bunch for the holidays. When I’m entertaining a smaller gathering, I prefer to serve roasted turkey breast. This turkey breast is the greatest I’ve ever had; it’s tender, aromatic, and moist, with no dry flesh!
CAJUN GRILLED TURKEY BREAST
It’s also a terrific substitute for a traditional turkey supper. It gets an extra kick by adding a spicy and delicious Cajun seasoning. This Grilled Turkey Recipe is perfect if you’re preparing for a smaller group and want an alternative to a huge turkey roast.