Bob Hart on how to cook a turkey breast
There is a lot to like about a turkey breast: it is altogether easier to
manage than a whole bird, it is a natural fit with a barbecue and… it’s
Pick one up in a decent market or food store and you will find it
comprises a kilo or two of solid meat which will cook in 2-3 hours
depending on size, and then continue cooking, wrapped in foil, for
another hour. Then, rest it for another half hour, carve it and serve it.
Some people will insist that you need to pre-brine a turkey and, when
you are using the whole bird, I would agree. But for just the breast? Nah.
Simply remove the skin from the breast – trust me on this – and apply a
very simply rub of one part sea salt and one part freshly ground black
pepper, and plenty of it. Perhaps a quarter of a cup in total for a large
A solid fuel barbecue, as always, will deliver the best result because of
the wood-smoke you can add to the proceedings, but you can easily
moderate a gas barbecue, use a large foil tray, and get spectacular
results these days. In either case, however, the secret is to hold that
temperature back to just 150C or so, and be patient.
So now, simply season the turkey breast and roast it at that gentle temp
for a couple of hours, or even a tick longer. Just keep your eye on it and
monitor it with a skewer.
Then, lift the breast out of the barbecue onto a large square of heavy-
duty foil, spread the top of the breast with a cup of slightly softened,
unsalted butter and spread it, by hand, over the breast before wrapping
it tightly and returning to the barbecue.
Another hour, or long enough for that internal temp to reach 70C, should
do the trick, followed to another 30 minutes resting – out of the
barbecue, but lightly tented with foil. And that’s it.
A decent gravy will seal the deal, and a good cranberry sauce is
essential. Not to mention a few roasted spuds, and maybe some
But quite apart from those, you are about to eat a joint of turkey that will
be one of the easiest you have ever cooked, and probably the best.