Cooking Smoked Turkey Breast Without Brine on Traeger Grill

Cooking Smoked Turkey Breast Without Brine on Traeger Grill

Smoked turkey breast without brine on Traeger grills is the perfect meal for any day of the year.

This recipe is much faster and easier to do without the brine method that we get used to.

Brining is really important especially when you cook at high temperatures.

However, it is optional if you smoke the meat as it does not necessarily dry out the insides of the turkey.

We will be explaining that further in the post.

If you are using a Traeger grill, then chances are you are already used to using it as a smoker because of its versatility and temperature range.

There is no need for you to make any special seasonings as well since Traeger has their own rub for any kind of recipe.

You can buy one from them or make your very own seasoning.

Turkey or any poultry breast part is relatively drier than most of the other parts.

It is full of meat and proteins that can dry out very easily if you do not cook them with care and precision.

That is why most people need something else to keep the juices in such as brine.

Here, I will share with you how to cook turkey breast without brine and without drying out the meat.

Without Brine, But Why?

Using Brine is a great way to enhance the juices and the flavor that you put in the turkey.

However, this is only optional if you are cooking with the slow and low method as it does not dry it out.

Smoking meat is a great way to cook turkey breasts as it is one of the cooking styles that uses indirect cooking which means that it does not abruptly cook the meat in a few minutes.

With this technique, you will be able to make the best turkey breasts without the dry and rough texture.

Overcooked turkey or chicken gets this texture where the meat is dry and tough.

The low temperature actually enhances the juices inside the turkey breasts.

Instead of evaporating the moisture, the low heat brings out the juices in the meat and uses it for cooking.

What You Need

When it comes to selecting the turkey that you want, there are some obvious factors that you can observe to know whether or not the turkey is fresh and butchered properly or not.

Avoid turkeys with blood clots on the skin as well as uncleaned cuts.

The breast part of the turkey should not have any fat except the space between the meat itself and the skin.

If you are selecting your own turkey breasts, then look for firm meat content and some loose skin.

Unless it is frozen, the turkey breast should have a little bit of loose white skin on it.

For the seasoning, as we have said, you do not need brine with this recipe.

Just buy the Traeger Chicken Rub and the other ingredients for the seasoning are completely optional or customized.

In case you want to follow this recipe, I only used melted butter with some extra for later, dried leaves such as thyme, basil, oregano, and rosemary. That is all you need for this recipe.

Smoked Turkey Breast Without Brine On A Traeger Grill

Step 1: Prepare The Turkey Breast

This one is made for turkey breasts that are frozen.

So unless you bought a fresh one, you need to follow how to properly prepare the frozen turkey breasts to get them ready for seasoning.

First, thaw the turkey breasts by leaving them in the refrigerator for three to four days.

You can also defrost them in the sink by running them under cold water for a few minutes until soft.

The latter way is used commonly if you do not have much time or if you want to cook the frozen turkey right away.

The first is safer since it is not in the open air so there is no contamination.

Step 2: Season The Turkey Breasts

Put one part of the melted butter in a bowl and then put the leaves and spices that you want in it.

Mix them well until the other ingredients start to mix together and spread evenly in the butter.

Get the turkey breasts and then rinse them to remove the juices from the frozen parts of the turkey.

Pat them dry with paper towels and then lay them on a tray or a clean plate.

Get the seasoning that you have just made and then use your hands to rub it in the turkey breasts.

Make sure to get it all over the breast and lift the loose skin as well for the seasoning.

Do the same with the Traeger Chicken Rub and then leave the turkey breasts covered for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the butter to seep deeper into the meat for more flavor.

Step 3: Preheat The Traeger Grill

While you are waiting for the chicken rub to get into the meat of the turkey breasts, preheat the Traeger grill. Get your wood pellets and select the best ones that will match the flavors.

For this recipe, I either use apple or hickory wood pellets for smoking. The apple pellets give off a slightly sweet flavor that matches the spices while hickory is pure smoke flavor.

It depends on your preference so you can also go with other types of wood pellets.

Preheat the grill to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and then close the lid for at least 15 minutes to preheat properly.

Step 4: Smoke The Turkey Breasts

Some of the recipes that you might find online will suggest using a tray to place the turkey breasts on but I prefer using a mesh wire grate so that the breasts will get as much smoke.

Either way, the turkey breasts will cook perfectly if you follow these steps. Once you palace turkey breasts inside the pellet grill, close the lid and then let them smoke for at least an hour.

After one hour, check the temperature and then insert a meat probe into the turkey breasts.

For the timing, there are some that suggest cooking the breasts for 30 minutes for each pound.

However, it is more reliable to measure the cooking process by the temperature that the meat probe measures rather than the time itself. In general, smoking the breasts will take 3 hours.

Step 5: Let Them Rest

Once the meat probe reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit, you can remove the turkey breasts from the Traeger grill. Place them on a cutting board and let them rest before slicing them.

Let the turkey breasts rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

By allowing the turkey breasts to rest, the meat will be able to bring back the juices and loosen the muscles in it for a tender finish.

Naturally, the breasts will also heat up by 5 degrees Fahrenheit during the resting process.

So make sure that you do not serve the turkey breast right away after they have been cooking.

Leftover Turkey Breasts

If you have some leftovers from the huge meal brought by the turkey breasts, you can store them properly for next time.

Just place the leftovers in a zip lock bag and place them in the fridge.

This will make them last up to four days so you have a meal ready in the fridge. If you want to prolong the leftovers, you can also place them in the freezer if you want

Just make sure that you wrap the leftover breasts in aluminum foil before placing them in an airtight container and then into the freezer. This will help prevent freezer burns.


After smoking the turkey breasts without brine, you would still be able to see the juices oozing from the meat. This is because the slow and low temperature keeps the meat juicy.

You do not have to deal with evaporation when cooking with the slow and low method.

One important part of the process is to always allow the turkey breasts to rest after smoking.

You can customize the recipe above and change the seasonings if you would like but always follow the process to get the best results with your Traeger grill and turkey breasts!

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