For this Thanksgiving, I wanted to do something a little different with the turkey. If you are someone who does not want to dethaw and deal with a whole turkey, then try this Smoked Turkey Breast recipe! Smoked until tender, then wrapped in foil with butter so that it stays juicy and savory. Paired with some Cranberry Chili BBQ Sauce and you’ve got a winner! 

Smoked Turkey Breast sliced and served.

Smoked Turkey Breast

We all have been there: either 1) you are intimidated by cooking a whole turkey, 2) you simply don’t want to cook the turkey or 3) you do not have enough time to dethaw the whole bird. Cooking a whole turkey takes time and care, and if we’re honest can be a pain in the butt!

So what do you do in that moment? Well, you could make something different, like prime rib, beef tenderloin, or cornish hens. But, maybe you still want turkey; or someone in your family that loves the tradition is insisting on having some turkey at Thanksgiving dinner. Well, we got you. Give this delicious (and much easier to cook) Smoked Peppercorn Turkey Breast recipe a try!

Why you’ll love this recipe

This delicious Smoked Turkey Breast is smoked for a couple of hours in a smoker, imparting a rich smoke flavor to the meat. The spritzing of lager beer every 20 minutes also adds another element of flavor that keeps the bird moist as it’s slow cooking. 

Plus, the cranberry sauce adds a holiday element to the turkey breasts, so it’s perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas! With this recipe, you get all the benefits of a delicious turkey dinner without having to dethaw, preplan, or even deal with all the hassle!



  • Whole Turkey Breast – I used a bone-in turkey breast for this recipe.
  • Mesquite Peppercorn Lager Seasoning – This is my own spice blend made with beer, black peppercorns, and other spices! However, feel free to use your own dry rub or just salt and pepper. 
  • Canola Oil – Helps in browning and crisping during smoking. It also helps the seasoning adhere to the turkey.
A close up shot of the smoked turkey breast.


  • Lager Beer – Used to spritz the turkey during smoking, it adds moisture and flavor to the meat while keeping it from drying out as it cooks.


  • Butter – Placing butter on the turkey breast before wrapping it in foil helps in basting the meat as it melts. This keeps the turkey moist and adds richness to the flavor.


  • Cranberry Jelly – Adds sweetness and a hint of tartness to the sauce, giving it a unique fruity flavor that compliments the smokiness of the turkey.
  • Ketchup – Contributes a tangy, slightly sweet element to the sauce.
  • Garlic Chili Paste – Adds heat and a bold garlic flavor, giving the sauce a spicy kick.
  • Rice Wine Vinegar – Balances the sweetness and heat with some acidity.
  • Honey – Adds sweetness and helps thicken the sauce.
  • Worcestershire – Enhances the sauce’s depth of flavor with its umami-rich, savory notes.

How to Cook Smoked Turkey Breast

The Prep

First, you’ll want to give those turkey breasts some love by coating them with canola oil and then seasoning them up. You can use my Mesquite Peppercorn Lager Rub if you have it, or just stick to the classic salt and pepper.

Cover them with some plastic wrap and pop them in the fridge for at least 2 hours to let those flavors sink in, or even better, leave them overnight for the perfect dry brine.

To learn more about brining, what it is and it’s benefits, check out an article I have discussing it here: The Benefits of Brining

The Smoke

Now, let’s get that smoker going! Preheat it to a toasty 275F for some indirect cooking action. Also, don’t forget to toss in some wood chips or wood chunks to dial up that smoky goodness.

The raw turkey breast getting started on the smoker.

Place turkey breast on the smoker and let them smoke for about 1-1.5 hours. Spritz the turkey with beer every 20 minutes so that it keeps moist. Once your turkey reaches 115F, remove it from the heat source.

Grab a big piece of aluminum foil, about 2 feet long, and lay it out. Plop down 2 tablespoons of butter and place your turkey on top. Add another 2 tablespoons of butter over the turkey, then wrap it up. Repeat this wrap for all your turkey breasts. Smoke turkey breast for another hour until they hit that perfect 165F.

While your turkey’s cooking, let’s whip up that Cranberry Chili BBQ Sauce. Find a trusty cast iron skillet and toss it on the smoker or over the fire for a minute to heat up. Throw in all the sauce ingredients and simmer for about 5-7 minutes until warm and thickened.

An overhead shot of the three smoked Turkey breast.

Once the juicy turkey breast is done, let it rest for a good 10 minutes. Then, it’s slicing time! Serve up the breast meat with a generous drizzle of the homemade Cranberry Chili BBQ sauce and enjoy your smoky masterpiece!

Smoked Turkey Breasts Tips 

  • Use a meat thermometer or instant read thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast reaches 165F.
  • After skinning and thawing your turkey breasts, pat them down with paper towels. This step will allow the outside of the breasts to crisp up during smoking. 
  • If you want to add a hint of sweetness, throw some brown sugar into your seasoning mix. 
  • Let the breast come to room temperature before throwing it on the smoker. This will also help them obtain a nice crust when cooking.
  • Make some delicious turkey gravy to go with your turkey breasts!

More Turkey and Holiday Recipes

How to Store Leftovers & Reheat

Store leftover turkey in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Alternatively, you can freeze the turkey breast for up to 4 months!

Reheating turkey breast can be tricky because it can dry out easily if you heat it up too quickly. To remedy this issue, I’ve listed two easy ways to reheat your turkey breasts without ruining them:

Oven Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 300-325F. 
  2. Simmer some chicken broth in a small saucepan. This is the secret to keeping the turkey breast moist when reheating.
  3. Take your turkey slices and put them in a baking dish.
  4. Place a clean dish towel over the baking dish and pour in the simmering chicken broth until the towel is fully saturated but not soaking wet. 
  5. Wrap the entire thing in foil. 
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the meat is hot and juicy.

If that’s too much commitment for you, don’t worry. You can also heat up your turkey slices in the microwave.

Microwave Method:

  1. Grab a plate or small dish and place your turkey slices inside. 
  2. Grab a paper towel and dampen it slightly. You don’t want it to be soaking wet.
  3. Place it over top of your turkey slices. 
  4. Microwave in 30-second increments until your turkey is heated.
smoked peppercorn turkey breast

What to serve with Smoked Turkey Breast

Serve up your delicious turkey breast with holiday side dishes like green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, homemade stuffing, or any of your other favorite Thanksgiving recipes!

If you want more Thanksgiving Turkey recipes, try our SMOKE FRIED TURKEY or MAPLE BOURBON SPATCHCOCK TURKEY!

Smoked Turkey Breasts Recipe FAQs

Can I use a boneless turkey breast for this recipe?

You sure can! Keep in mind that the cook time may be a bit shorter for a boneless breast. 

What type of smoker should I use for this recipe?

You can use a pellet smoker or an electric smoker! We here at Over the Fire prefer our charcoal smoker, but that’s just us. 

Can I use a wet brine for this turkey breast?

You can if you want, but a dry brine is a bit faster and still yields juicy, flavorful results! 

What type of wood chips should I use for this easy recipe?

Feel free to use maple, hickory, cherry, or apple wood chips! 

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Smoked Chipotle Steak Chili

Smoked Peppercorn Turkey Breast

If you are someone that does not want to de-thaw and deal with a whole turkey, then try this Smoked Peppercorn Turkey Breast! Easy, simple and smoky delicious.
Author:Derek Wolf
No ratings yet
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 people




  • 12 oz of Lager Beer


  • 12 tbsp of Butter

Cranberry Chili BBQ Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp of Cranberry Jelly
  • 1.5 tbsp of Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp of Garlic Chili Paste
  • 1.5 tsp of Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1.5 tsp of Honey
  • 1 tsp of Worcestershire


  • Lather the turkey breast is canola oil then season up using the Mesquite Peppercorn Lager Seasoning or the simple salt & pepper. Place the turkey in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set but ideally overnight.
  • Preheat your smoker to 275F cooking indirectly. Add some wood chips or chunks for additional smoke flavor.
  • Add the turkey to the smoker and cook for 1-1.5 hours spritzing with beer every 20 minutes.
  • Once the turkey hits 115F, pull it off.
  • Grab a 2 ft piece of aluminum foil and place 2 tbsp of butter on it. Add the turkey on top of the butter with 2 more tbsp of butter on top.
  • Completely wrap the turkey and place it back on the smoker.
  • Repeat this for all the turkey breasts.
  • Continue cooking the turkey for another 1 hour until it reaches 165F.
  • When done, pull it off and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Add a cast iron sauce skillet to the smoker or over fire to preheat for 1 minute.
  • Add all the ingredients for the Cranberry Chili BBQ Sauce.
  • Let simmer for 5-7 minutes until warm and thickened.
  • Pull out the turkey and slice. Serve with the BBQ Sauce and enjoy!


Serving: 8g | Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 1919mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 544IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Derek Wolf

Derek is the driving force behind Over the Fire Cooking. He started cooking with live fire in 2016 and decided to start a social media page so his friends and family could follow the journey. Fast forward to today and Over the Fire Cooking has spread across multiple platforms with millions now following Derek's fire cooking journey. He's a southern fellow who enjoys everything from classic BBQ to Central and South American inspired dishes. Whatever he's cooking up, it's guaranteed to be so freakin' delicious!

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