Grilled Honey Dijon Turkey Breast
If you're like me, you love to grill. So much so, in fact, that you're looking for new meats and new sauces to try out because you've used all of your tried-and-true recipes a thousand times and your friends are tired of your chicken skewers.
So when I discovered this recipe for grilled honey Dijon turkey breast, I was pumped. Not only is turkey one of my absolute favorite meats, this recipe doesn't take as long as cooking a whole bird and the brine keeps the turkey juicy throughout the grilling process.
You don't have to wait for Thanksgiving to enjoy this turkey either - it's perfect for summer barbeques, picnics, or even making ahead to bring to lunch. This recipe is quite easy to follow and, after doing the brine in advance, is ready to cook up super quickly.
This honey Dijon turkey breast calls for two important steps to add flavor: the brine and the glaze. You might ask yourself, "Why bother brining the bird beforehand?". The brine is important to help enhance the flavor of the turkey and also helps tenderize it. The glaze will be brushed or basted on during cooking to get a nice caramelized outer texture.
By utilizing both of these steps, you'll be ensuring that there's flavor on and throughout the turkey. Another nice thing? You'll most likely have all of the things you'll need for this recipe in your pantry. On the blog we’ve already covered the topic of preparing turkey, but today we’ll focus on something more interesting and fun both for cooking and eating!
For this recipe, you'll need the following ingredients:
Ingredients For the Turkey Brine
note: White table sugar is fine for the brine, but using brown sugar will add a deeper, more caramelized taste to the turkey. Any type of sugar will actually do (i.e. honey, molasses, maple syrup), but I personally like using brown sugar for this recipe as it complements the Dijon in the glaze without overpowering the taste of the honey.
- 1 skinless turkey breast (deboned and cut in half)
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (can substitute white sugar)
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger (minced)
- 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper or cracked peppercorns
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 3-4 garlic cloves (minced)
- 4 cups of water
Honey Dijon Glaze Ingredients
* note: The chipotle chile adds a smoky sweet tang to the glaze, but if chipotle isn't your thing, you can subsitute the chipotle chile for 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tbsp tomato paste, and a pinch of salt.
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce (minced) *
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1) Preparing the brine
Combine the salt, sugar, pepper, ginger, and cinnamon with one cup of water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and add in the other 3 cups of water. Take off heat and let cool. Make sure the whole thing is mixed thoroughly so that the salt and sugar is fully dissolved.
2) Rest for a few hours
Place the turkey, minced garlic, and brine in a resealable container or bag and allow the turkey to rest for up to 24 hours in the fridge before grilling. Be sure to allow a resting period of at least 2 hours before cooking.
Grilling the Turkey
1) Prepare the glaze
Combine the honey, minced chipotle, mustard, and vinegar in a bowl with a whisk and set it aside.
Pro tip: Let the glaze sit for a bit (at least 10-20 minutes) after combining; this lets the flavors meld together for a more complex taste.
2) Heat up the grill
3) Grill the turkey
Remove the brined turkey from the fridge and discard the brine. Brush the turkey all over with the glaze, then place it on the grill and cook for 25-30 minutes, turning it over only once.
Pro tip: Take the turkey out of the brine 20 minutes before you throw it on the grill; bringing the meat to room temperature right before you cook it allows for more even heat distribution.
4) Glazing the turkey
Baste the turkey with the honey Dijon glaze throughout the cooking process with a brush. Be sure to baste both sides, allowing the basted layer to caramelize a little before adding another layer of glaze.
Pro tip: if using a charcoal grill, keep the turkey off of direct heat or the glaze will burn.
5) Let it rest. When done, remove the turkey from heat and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
Note: Internal temperature should be between 165-175 F when done.
Pro tip: letting the turkey rest before slicing helps retain the juices of the meat, making the turkey stay nice and moist
Pro tip: you can make a large batch of this turkey by adding more breasts to the brine and multiplying the glaze ingredients by the number of additional turkey breasts you use.
If you want something easier for your first try with turkey, check out this video tutorial on how to cook Easy Grilled Turkey:
Doesn't that sound great? Not only is it an impressive, versatile dish that you can slice up for salads, sandwiches, or pasta, it's a delicious change from your normal grilling routine with the added bonus of being healthier to boot. What do you think about this recipe? Leave a comment below with your thoughts and if you tried it out, tell us all about it. If you're as impressed with this recipe as I was, be sure to share it with all your friends!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Should You Brine Turkey?
Brining a turkey breast is an important step before you grill it. The turkey will absorb extra moisture while it brines, making it super juicy later on after cooking. The salt also denatures the proteins within the turkey breast, ensuring maximum flavor and texture.
How Long Does it Take to Grill a Turkey Breast?
You want to grill the turkey breast until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. This should take about 1 to 1 1/2 hours on the grill prepared with the indirect grilling heat method.
What Do You Glaze a Turkey With?
Glazing a turkey breast on the grill will give it a great exterior flavor while preserving the moisture inside. This means a very juicy turkey breast! It is most common to brush the turkey with honey to achieve this glaze. We like to add mustard to the honey so we have a honey dijon glaze.
How Do You Carve a Turkey Breast?
Turkey breast should be sliced against the grain for the most fall-apart, tender slices. Place the breast skin-side up on the cutting board. Slice them at a slight angle into thin pieces, about a quarter of an inch thick.
Can You Marinate Turkey Breast?
Instead of brining the turkey breast, you can choose to marinate it instead. Popular marinades include herbs like garlic, basil, or Italian seasoning along with oil, soy sauce, and lemon juice. You can also add brown sugar if you want a slight sweetness.