Smoked Turkey on the Grill Recipe

Smoked turkey is easy to cook on the grill and using the grill frees up oven space for all sorts of yummy side dishes. Brining creates a perfectly moist turkey.


Smoked Turkey Breast on the Grill

Course: dinner, entree, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Poultry, turkey
Prep Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 11 hours
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 246 kcal
Author: Kelly DiMascio
The grill is my favorite way to cook a turkey. You get perfectly crisp skin and super moist meat. Plus, it cooks faster than in the oven and your oven is free for cooking other amazing side dishes.


  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 1/4 c kosher salt use only half this amount if you are on a salt-reduced diet
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 heads of garlic broken into cloves and peeled
  • 2 lemons sliced into rounds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons red chili powder
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh sage chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh oregano chopped
  • 1 turkey breast washed with cold water and patted dry
  • Wood chips for smoking mesquite or any fruitwood


  1. Mix all ingredients, except turkey and wood chips, in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add turkey.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 8 hours) in the refrigerator or a large cooler with ice, turning turkey a couple of times to ensure all areas have been submerged. Remove bird from brine and allow to drain for 30 minutes.
  3. Prepare smoker on the lowest temperature possible.
  4. If you are using a gas barbecue: Turn it on low and place wet wood chips in the bottom. When the smoke starts, turn the barbecue to very low. Place turkey on grill and cover for 30 minutes. You may have to turn the barbecue up several times during the process to create more smoke.
  5. If you are using a kettle-style barbecue that isn’t equipped with gas: Don’t get it very hot; only use 2 cups of charcoal. Once the charcoal heats and has had a chance to burn down a little, put wet wood chips in aluminum foil (or foil pie tin) on top of coals. You may need to remove some of the charcoal with a shovel if the barbecue gets hot. What you are trying to do is create smoke, without making the barbecue hot. Cover and smoke for 30 minutes.
  6. After using either of the above smoking methods, continue to cook Turkey breast over the hot coals or gas flame (about 350 degrees) 2-3 hours or until cooked to 165 degrees. Allow turkey to rest 15 minutes before carving.

Recipe Notes

NOTES: To get a head start on your Thanksgiving feast, you can brine the turkey in the refrigerator two days before Thanksgiving, then smoke it the next day and refrigerate, then heat on the grill Thanksgiving Day.

Nutrition Facts
Smoked Turkey Breast on the Grill
Amount Per Serving
Calories 246 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Cholesterol 52mg17%
Sodium 17942mg780%
Potassium 350mg10%
Carbohydrates 37g12%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 32g36%
Protein 22g44%
Vitamin A 820IU16%
Vitamin C 16.3mg20%
Calcium 112mg11%
Iron 2.4mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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