This is the second year now that my husband has bagged a wild turkey during the spring turkey season, which runs from April 29 until June 1. He and my brother Wesley like to hunt these wily and fascinating birds around my mother’s house in Norway.
The night before, they scout the fields looking for turkey roosts. Then, by four thirty the next morning, dressed in full camouflage, they are set up and waiting to call the Toms. If you like crawling through fields and matching your wits with nature, I’ve heard it’s a great experience. Personally, I love listening to their tales and enjoying the rewards.
Wild turkeys are quite well fed, and make excellent eating. Our family is small, so we cut the bird into smaller pieces to freeze. This year, we had the opportunity to test our new culinary toy, an electric smoker.
There are a number of recipes available on the web for smoked meats, but the principles are all about the same. The meat is usually brined for 24 hours or more, then rubbed with spices, herbs and oil, and smoked. Wood chips, which add to depth of the flavor, are added to the smoker. We just recently finished trimming the orchard, so have a good supply of apple chips.
The smoking process involves long, slow heat (around 200 degrees) that is flavored by the wood chips. The brining process helps the meat retain fluids, so that the finished product is not tough and dry. The herb or spice mix you use is a matter of personal preference, and there are many available on the market. Our smoked turkey breast was a delicious experiment! We completed the meal with rosemary roasted potatoes, fresh asparagus, and new greens from the garden. Eating local has never tasted so good!
Smoked Turkey Breast
- 1-2 3 pound boneless, skinless turkey breast
- 2 quarts water
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons Sea salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons spice mix or rub of your choice
- olive oil
- spice mix or rub of your choice
- Prepare the brine in a large bowl, stirring to dissolve the salt. Cover the turkey breast with the brine and allow to soak for 2 days in the refrigerator.
- Rinse the turkey breast well, and pat dry with paper towels. Generously rub the turkey breast with olive oil and then coat with the spice rub or mix of your choice.
- Heat the smoker to 200 degrees and fill with apple chips. Smoke the turkey breast until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. The time will vary depending upon the size of the turkey breast. For best results, take a temperature reading after 2 hours and monitor closely. Our turkey breast took about four hours to smoke.
- To serve, slice thinly. One serving is about 3 ounces.