Learn how to smoke a boneless turkey breast on a Pit Boss pellet grill, and why it is one of easiest, and most delicious, ways to smoke turkey!
We take you step-by-step through preparing your boneless turkey breast, setting up your Pit Boss for the cook, and smoking your turkey to perfection.
We love smoking turkey around here.
We've previously done our classic Pellet Grill Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey, a full Bone-in Smoked Turkey Breast, an Electric Smoker Turkey, as well as the juicy and fast cooking Spatchcocked Turkey on a Pellet Grill.
When you are just in the mood for some good turkey on a busy weeknight, what could be simpler than a smoked boneless turkey breast right on your trusty Pit Boss pellet grill?
So let's get started!
Remove from the Packaging and Season
Open up the packaging and remove any giblet bags, gravy starter packets, or other items that may be packed in with the boneless turkey breast roast.
Don't remove any cooking twine or netting around the raw boneless turkey breast as this will help the turkey initially hold its shape while it smokes on the Pit Boss.
Because there is not that much skin on a boneless turkey breast, we are not going to mess with any dry brining like we might with a whole turkey or a whole chicken where we are trying to get crispy skin.
We are going to simply coat the outside of the boneless turkey breast with one of our favorite BBQ rubs.
If you are having a hard time getting your BBQ rub to adhere, use a little bit of cooking oil such as regular olive oil to help it stick.
Rather WATCH than read? Check out our video on Pit Boss Smoked Boneless Turkey Breast:
Our Favorite Rubs
We have a great BBQ Rub Recipe from scratch in the recipe card at the bottom of the article, but if you want something easy right off the shelf, check out Three Little Pigs Kansas City Championship BBQ Rub.
It's got a great flavor of not only typical BBQ seasonings but also onion, garlic, and even a little cayenne for some heat.
We love it on turkey...and chicken too!
Choosing Wood Pellets
You will need to take a minute to think about what type of pellets you want to use to smoke a boneless turkey breast on the Pit Boss.
Straight mesquite and hickory will give a very aggressive smoke flavor on turkey and should be used only in small amounts mixed in with another type of pellet.
We suggest going for a milder smoke flavor by choosing oak or fruitwood pellets.
We especially like applewood pellets on turkey.
Pecan, apple, beech, alder, and cherry will all give great results.
For fun, you can choose your woods seasonally, using beech and cherry in spring and summer and pecan and apple into the fall and winter.
Also. there is no reason you can't mix a few different kinds together in your Pit Boss!
For the best results, store your unused pellets in a sealed room temperature container like this 20 lb pellet container rather than in the Pit Boss hopper outside.
Pellets do not last forever, but will definitely last a LOT longer if stored indoors in a quality airtight container.
Start up the Pit Boss
We have previously covered how to season a Pit Boss, how to start a Pit Boss, as well as how to troubleshoot the smoke level of your pellet grill.
So if you need a more in-depth review on how to use your Pit Boss for the first time, check those articles out first!
Set the Pit Boss temperature to 250°F, and let the grill come up to temperature.
If you used a rub or seasoning combination with NO sugar, feel free to bump the temperature to 300°F or even 325°F if you are crunched for time.
Because we want to impart as much smoky flavor as possible and also keep our Three Little Pigs Rub from burning, we are opting for a lower and slower cooking temperature.
Put your boneless turkey breast roast in the cooking chamber and let the Pit Boss do its thing!
Place a temperature probe, if you have one, in the center of the boneless turkey breast.
Otherwise, you can spot check later with an instant read thermometer.
Always use good insulated grilling gloves when rotating or moving the turkey around.
We like combining insulated cloth liner gloves with black BBQ disposable gloves over them much like the BBQ competition cooks use to protect their hands and limit constant hand washing or fumbling with BBQ tongs and spatulas when handling big roasts or briskets in their smokers.
You can rotate and flip the boneless turkey breast over during the cook so that it smokes and cooks evenly in the Pit Boss.
Even though the Pit Boss provides INDIRECT heat like an oven, we find there is still increased heat coming from the bottom, even at lower smoking temperatures, which tends to cook that side of the meat faster than the top.
So it's always good practice to occasionally rotate and flip whatever you are smoking in your Pit Boss when you can.
A 3 lb boneless turkey breast roast will take about 3 hours on a Pit Boss at 250°F.
Again, you can raise the temperature up to 300°F if you don't want as much smoke flavor or want to be finished faster.
Keep the lid closed as much as possible when you aren't rotating or flipping, and use the temperature probes to tell you when the turkey is done.
Remove the Netting While Cooking
Pro Tip: Take a minute to remove the cooking twine or netting on the turkey breast when it is about halfway finished cooking.
We found it much easier to remove it at this point vs. waiting until the turkey breast was fully cooked and the twine became more stuck to the meat.
If some seasoning comes off with it, simply sprinkle some more on and then place the turkey back on the Pit Boss.
At this point, the boneless turkey breast should be cooked enough to hold its shape without the need for the netting any longer.
Check the Internal Temperature
You'll want to monitor the internal temperature of the turkey breast roast as it cooks on the Pit Boss for doneness.
Your Pit Boss smoked boneless turkey breast is ready to eat when it hits an internal temperature of 165°F on your instant read thermometer.
If you don't yet own an instant read thermometer, it's going to be hard to really know exactly when that turkey is done cooking on the pellet grill.
One of our go-to and very affordable favorites is this affordable one from ThermoPro.
If you prefer a leave-in thermometer you can just monitor from your phone while visiting with guests or doing other stuff, then check out our newest favorite, the MEATER leave in thermometer.
It is extremely accurate and has an incredible 165 foot Bluetooth range and works right with your smartphone so you don't need to carry a separate controller around with you like many other remote thermometers require.
It has a great free app that is constantly being updated and even has an algorithm to predict how much longer your type of meat will take to cook based on cooking temperature, target temperature, and current internal temperature.
It's like a GPS for your meat!
Carve and Serve
Let the smoked boneless turkey breast rest for about 15 minutes before carving and serving so that the juice stays in the meat where you want it.
Carefully remove the cooking twine or netting from the turkey if you didn't already before slicing and serving.
Slice the smoked turkey using a good meat slicing knife like our favorite from Mairico.
Make sure to cut in nice thick slices and only slice as much as you are serving at once to keep the meat from drying out.
Always store any unserved boneless turkey breast in its whole form to reheat later.
Smoked boneless turkey breast is great on its own with a little gravy, or you can pair it with our smoked twice baked potatoes and smoked green beans for a full meal prepared right on the Pit Boss pellet smoker!
If you want something a little richer, check out our Sticky Smoked Sweet Potatoes or maybe some Pit Boss Smoked Baked Beans done in a cast iron skillet to cook and serve alongside your Pit Boss smoked boneless turkey breast.
Pit Boss Smoked Boneless Turkey Breast
- Pit Boss Pellet Grill
- Wood Pellets preferably apple or another fruitwood
- Large Cutting Board
- Internal Meat Thermometers
- Kitchen Shears to remove netting
- Carving Knife
- Insulated BBQ Gloves
- 1 3 lb Boneless Turkey Breast Roast thawed
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- Your Favorite BBQ rub or our "In a Pinch BBQ Rub" below
In a Pinch BBQ Rub
- 2 tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 tablespoon Paprika
- 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
- ½ tablespoon Coarse Ground Black Pepper
- ½ tablespoon Chili Powder
- ½ tablespoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper optional
Prepare the Boneless Turkey Breast
- Remove the boneless turkey breast from its packaging and set aside any gravy packets or giblet bags included.1 3 lb Boneless Turkey Breast Roast
- Clean, rinse, and pat dry the boneless turkey breast roast well with paper towels.
- Do not remove any twine or netting that is in place around the turkey.
- Brush a thin layer of olive oil all around the turkey breast to help the seasoning stick.1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- Mix together the In a Pinch BBQ Rub ingredients together and apply some to all sides of the turkey. Or use your favorite BBQ rub for turkey.Your Favorite BBQ rub or our "In a Pinch BBQ Rub" below, 2 tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar, 2 tablespoon Paprika, 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt, ½ tablespoon Coarse Ground Black Pepper, ½ tablespoon Chili Powder, ½ tablespoon Garlic Powder, 1 teaspoon Onion Powder, ¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Start the Pit Boss
- Add your chosen pellets to the hopper, start the Pit Boss pellet grill, and let it run through the startup cycle. Make sure the flame broiler panel is CLOSED for indirect heat.
- Next, set the temperature to preheat the Pit Boss pellet grill to 250°F and close the lid.
- Fill an aluminum pan with water pan if you want to add extra moisture, and place it on the far left side of the Pit Boss pellet grill. Place a disposable bucket liner in the grease bucket as well if you want to limit cleanup later.
- Once the Pit Boss has come up to 250°F, clean the grill grates with a good grill brush, oil the grates, and close the lid.
Smoking the Turkey
- Position your seasoned boneless turkey breast on the oiled grates of the Pit Boss.
- Place an internal temperature probe if you have one into the center of the roast.
- Close the lid. Rotate and flip occasionally for even cooking. This will take about 3 hours total.
- After about 1.5 hours of smoking on the Pit Boss, use a pair of kitchen shears to remove the netting on the boneless turkey breast roast. Apply more rub if needed.
- When the internal temperature at the center of the boneless turkey breast has reached 165°F, carefully remove the turkey from the Pit Boss.
Rest and Carve
- Let the turkey rest for 15-20 minutes before carving to allow the juices to distribute.
- Carve, plate, and serve immediately.