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Spicy Smoked Turkey Breast with Cajun Gravy


Tender-moist, smoked turkey breasts with a scrumptious Cajun gravy. Tastes awesome served with mashed potatoes.

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  • 2 (3-pounds each) boneless turkey breasts*
  • 3 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne
  • 3 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon or Creole Mustard
  • 4 tablespoons beer (preferably a well-flavored lager or ale)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1/3 cup celery, minced
  • 1/3 cup green pepper, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 (15-ounces each) cans low sodium chicken broth (or 1 qt homemade poultry stock)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon chile flakes (optional, as this gives this gravy a kick!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • Salt, to taste


Servings 6
Preparation time 35mins
Cooking time 185mins


Step 1

*Note: If boneless turkey breasts are not available from the butcher, you can buy a bone-in turkey breast and remove the breasts yourself. Simply cut down the side of the breast bone and then separate the meat from the carcass by cutting between the meat and the bone. Leave the skin attached to the breast.

Dry both turkey breasts thoroughly.

Mix all the ingredients for the Spice Mix. Sprinkle the spice mix on all surfaces of the breasts. Be sure to sprinkle some of the spice mix on the flap of meat on the side opposite the skin side. Let rest for 10 to 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Mix ingredients for the Basting Liquid. Lightly brush a small amount of basting liquid on all surfaces of the turkey breasts. Be careful not to brush away the spice mixture -- it may be easier to dab on basting liquid.

Place the turkey breasts skin-side up in a preheated Char-Broil smoker. Use any nut or fruit wood, with the exception of mesquite which would overpower the turkey. Smoke over hot water with 5 bay leaves, or beer with 5 bay leaves.

Approximately every 30 minutes, baste lightly with the basting liquid. Be careful not to wash off the spice mix. The turkey breast is done when an instant read thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the breast, reads 165°F. The breast will take about 2 to 2 1/2 hours to cook. Slice and serve.

For the Cajun Gravy: In a medium saucepan, sauté onion, celery, and garlic in butter over moderate heat until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and flour and mix until well incorporated. Continue to cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is a light brown color (it will take about 5 minutes).

Add 1 cup of the stock or broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add remaining stock or broth and bring to a boil stirring constantly. Add bay leaf, chile flakes, and black pepper. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. If a thicker gravy is desired, simply let boil and reduce slightly. Add salt where necessary

The gravy is an added plus. It is perfect spooned over turkey slices or poured over mashed potatoes. While the gravy adds to the overall dish, the turkey breast can also successfully stand on its own.

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