This is a rather simple method to grill something that isn’t loaded with fat. Since it doesn’t have all that delicious fat, we have to work a little harder to add flavor, but in the end, we’ll be glad, and healthier, for it.
I began with a 10-lb Honeysuckle bone-in turkey breast, rinsed and gravy packet removed—last time I checked gravy wasn’t exactly on the healthy list:
I’ve trimmed the excess skin and plan to spatchcock (butterfly) the breast for easier handling and even cooking.
The backbone is removed with a good pair of poultry shears. As I proceeded I decided to go ahead and remove all the bones to really make the grilling process simple:
It would’ve been easier to remove the boneless breasts while the rascal was still whole but I was already into it. I discovered this was more effort than a non-pro meat cutter should handle and created a lot of extra work. The turkey breast could also be cooked whole and then sliced off the bone if desired.
Now I have two boneless halves and will add the healthy mixture below to help flavor the bird and maintain moistness.
Creole Smoked Turkey Breast Ingredients:
1 cup Smart Balance Buttery Spread
2 tbsp minced garlic (or more or less to your taste)
2 tbsp Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
1/4 cup white wine (reserve for later after you stuff the skin)
The Smart Balance was allowed to come to room temperature for ease of combining with the other ingredients.
Smart Balance and garlic:
Then the creole seasoning:
Here’s the process of adding the mixture under the skin which will likely require a few toothpicks to secure the skin in place. You could also completely remove the skin and simply baste with the mixture if desired for an even healthier meal. I’m going for healthy here but the golden brown skin is so attractive, holds the mixture in place, and virtually cooks away.
Work your fingers under the skin to separate the area between skin and meat—sort of like trying to put a latex glove on. Next spoon or push the mixture into the area created and spread around as much as possible.
I’ve opted to forgo the toothpicks this time around and place the turkey breast halves into a shallow broiler pan to grill:
***Editor’s note ~ Skipping the pan here and putting the breasts straight on the grill will be healthier than this version as the fat will drip down into the fire rather than stay in the pan, but you risk drying the creole smoked turkey breast out***
Reserve a bit of the mixture to melt and occasionally baste the bird while grilling. I added a few splashes of white wine to liquefy the mixture a bit and may need to add more liquid later.
The old Char-Broil is set up for the flank method — coals on the left and right with creole smoked turkey breast in the center:
Apricot (in foreground) and a few pieces of Nectarine retrieved from my wood stash were used to add the smoke flavor. Oh yeah! I’ve got a wood stash and perhaps there will be photos of that in an upcoming post. It’s a huge benefit knowing some friends that are in the tree removal business:
*** Editor’s note ~ if you would like to see the most extensive list of things you can smoke with on the web. I have more than 50 things ranging from all manner of woods to herbs, grape vines, and even onion or garlic cloves click here***
The creole smoked turkey breast goes on the grill and later the coals are refreshed and a chunk of each wood is added. The wine was added to the Smart Balance/garlic/creole seasoning mixture for basting later. The lid was closed and I went to work on the sides for this meal:
***Editors note ~ While Dad didn’t do it here, I recommend putting the fat part of the breast closest to the fire so you don’t risk drying out the tip of the skinny part. With the smart balance basting constantly it’s not as big of an issue but I would do it none the less***
I picked up some new crop California Asparagus at the local grocer to grill with a drizzle of olive oil, cracked pepper, and a small amount of coarse salt. Fresh Sweet Potatoes will be pre-cooked—boiled about 10 minutes—then cooled, thick-sliced, and brushed with olive oil to be finished on the grill to gather that smoky flavor:
Wine pairing for this meal—is this the unhealthy part?—is a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc:
Typically this varietal from that region imparts a hint of citrus which I’m hoping complements the creole seasoning and smoky flavor of the turkey. I don’t think you could go wrong with a chard here either—even a glass of light red—pinot noir or red burgundy will certainly complement turkey as well.
The thermometer indicates 300 degrees in the pan at 30 minutes in. Liquid? The mixture under the skin has melted and the natural juices from the Turkey are bubbling in the broiler pan. I’m occasionally basting the bird with the leftover mixture:
The wine is corked and I’m perched upon my grilling post out back and sampling a few of the nibblers I had placed on the direct heat and basted with the mixture. The view is beautiful. My neighbor, Dave R., has over the years planted the edge of the dam with daffodils that are now in full bloom and reflecting off the mirror surface of the water on this calm, peaceful day. The Pear trees are blooming, the Plum is about to burst forth, and soon the flowering crab apple trees will bring their splash of color to the scene. What a beautiful time to be grillin’ and chillin’:
Here’s a pic of the creole smoked turkey breast one hour in with temp reading abut 325. Another chunk of nectarine wood is added. Another coating is basted on the bird and I’m probably in trouble with Mimi. The broiler pan is getting some serious stuff in the bottom that will likely have to be soaked for a week to get it clean. Here’s the deal – I cook, she cleans up. I do help though… sometimes:
The sweet potatoes are sliced and drizzled with the oil and ready to go on the grill. The same drizzle is applied to the Asparagus with a small amount of coarse salt and cracked pepper added:
After 90 minutes the turkey is pulled from the grill to rest under some foil. Always let meat rest after pulling it from the grill. The juices are in an excited state and will ooze out immediately after cutting into it. If you let it rest a bit then the juices settle down and stay in the meat when sliced:
If you don’t butterfly the the breast and split it in two cooking time would be longer. While the creole smoked turkey breast rests is the perfect amount of time to finish the sides. The coal grate is raised and the Sweet Potatoes go on. When they finish I’ll move them to the center, off the direct heat, and begin the Asparagus:
Here’s a pic of the finished Sweets and the Asparagus on the heat. Once the Asparagus is finished it will be time to carve the Turkey Breasts:
The turkey sliced:
Here’s the meal plated:
The asparagus was still crisp and full of smoky flavor, the sweet potatoes were cooked through but still firm and a bit of Smart Balance Spread was added to top them off. The turkey was cooked thoroughly although moist in most parts and drier in others. I probably could’ve pulled it 15 minutes sooner at one hour 15 minutes on the grill as it would continue to bake while resting foil-covered. It was very flavorful and I didn’t miss real butter at all. I will certainly prepare this again. The turkey had a mild smoky flavor and the touch of creole seasoning was just enough.
Now for the best part—leftover turkey sandwiches the next day. Whole grain bread with a little honey mustard and you’ve got another healthy meal or two.
As usual if you have any questions or comments about the smoked turkey breast with creole seasoning under the skin, leave a comment below or send me an email.
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