June 25, 2015

Aaron Franklin’s BBQ Turkey Breast Recipe

Recipe: Aaron Franklin

A moist and flavourful turkey recipe from the grill masters at Franklin Barbecue. “We’re not exactly known for our turkey, but it does come out real nice, and I even know some people for whom it’s the favourite of all of the things we cook. That’s fine, because it’s also the easiest thing to cook. For this recipe (and in general, in my opinion), it’s important to buy turkey breasts that have not been prebrined or injected with any sort of solution. If you’re anything like me, you want to be in complete control over what goes into or is sprayed on your bird, and you never know with commercially brined turkey.”


  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) skin-on, nonsolution turkey breast
  • 1 cup butter
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Seasoned firewood (preferably oak)
  • Generous 1/4 cup Pork Ribs and Turkey Rub (2 parts black pepper to 1 part salt)



  1. Start the fire. Get a fire going and heat the smoker so it’s about 265°F at grate level.
  2. Trim the breast and apply the rub. If the skin is on the turkey breast, remove it. We just tear off the skin and throw it away. I use the same rub for turkey as pork spare ribs, so 2 parts black pepper to 1 part salt. Use your judgement, but I think a bit more than 4 cups rub per turkey breast is a good guideline.
  3. Cook the turkey until golden, then wrap. Place the turkey, skin side up (meaning, the side that formerly had skin), in the smoker and cook until golden brown (typically 2 1/2 to 3 hours). Remove the turkey from the smoker, place the butter on top of the turkey, and wrap tightly in two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil, dull side out. The turkey breast ends up braising in quite a lot of melted butter and its own juices and the double layer of foil ensures against leakage. Return the turkey to the cooker, this time flipping it so it’s skin side down.
  4. Finish the book. Continue to cook the turkey breast until the internal temperature registers 160°F. This should take about 1 additional hour.
  5. Let rest, then serve. Let the turkey rest until the internal temperature drops to 140°F, then slice thinly against the grain and enjoy.

Wyatt McSpadden