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Brown Sugar Grilled Turkey Breast


Brown Sugar Grilled Turkey Breast is the perfect way to enjoy delicious turkey without having to cook a whole bird. Sweet and smoky, this recipe goes great with classic sides like green bean casserole and mashed potatoes.

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  • 1 (4- to 6-pound) whole bone-in turkey breast, with skin, split into halves
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 or 5 bay leaves
  • Brown sugar rub
  • 2 cups apple wood or hickory wood chips
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon each salt and chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon each dry mustard and smoked paprika.


Servings 10
Preparation time 150mins
Cooking time 210mins


Step 1

Put water, sugar, salt, garlic and bay leaves into a large food-safe plastic bucket or container. Stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Put the turkey breast halves in the brine; place a plate on top if necessary to be sure it's completely immersed. Refrigerate 3 to 6 hours. Remove turkey from brine. (It can be refrigerated up to 2 days.) Discard the brine.

Pat turkey dry. Rub all over with a generous coating of the rub. (Refrigerate up to several hours.)

Soak wood chips in water to cover, 30 minutes. Heat a gas grill to medium-high or light a charcoal fire and let it burn just until the coals are covered with gray ash and very hot. Turn off the heat in the center of the gas grill or set up the charcoal grill for indirect cooking by banking all the coals to the sides.

Place turkey in the center of the grill (not directly over the heat source). Cover grill to maintain a steady 325°F. Cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F and the juices run clear, 50 to 60 minutes.

Let turkey rest, 10 minutes. Serve thinly sliced.

Note: Ask the butcher to split the whole turkey breast in half. You can use this same method to grill a whole (unstuffed) 8- to 12-pound turkey. It'll take 2 to 2 ½ hours to cook.

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