Smoked turkey tenderloin, a mouthwatering delicacy packed with the right balance of smoky and bacon flavor, has often been considered the centerpiece of a hearty Thanksgiving meal. However, the versatility of this dish extends beyond seasonal gatherings, making it an ideal meal choice for intimate dinners and casual get-togethers.
This comprehensive guide will provide you with a variety of recipe ideas, cooking tips, and FAQs to help you master the art of smoking turkey tenderloin. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a novice in the kitchen, these recipes are designed to guide you every step of the way.
Decoding the Smoked Turkey Tenderloin: Bacon-Wrapped Fatty Tasty Deliciousness
Turkey tenderloin is a lean cut of meat located between the turkey’s breast and rib. It is tender, flavorful, and, when cooked properly, incredibly juicy. Our favorite method involves wrapping the tenderloin in bacon strips and smoking it until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius). The bacon not only adds a delicious saltiness to the turkey but also helps to keep it moist throughout the cooking process.
The Perfect Smoked Turkey Tenderloin Recipe
- 2 Turkey Tenderloins (about 1.5 pounds each)
- 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons of Honey
- 4 cloves of Garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon of fresh Rosemary (minced)
- 1 tablespoon of fresh Thyme (minced)
- 1 teaspoon of Smoked Paprika
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 cups of your favorite Wood Chips for smoking (we recommend cherry or applewood for turkey)
1. The Marination
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, honey, minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. This mix is going to give your turkey tenderloins an enviable flavor base. Place your turkey tenderloins in a large zip-top bag and pour the marinade over them. Massage it into the meat, making sure every bit is well-coated. Allow the turkey to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, though overnight is ideal.
2. Prepping the Smoker
About 30 minutes before you’re ready to cook, soak your chosen wood chips in water. Preheat your smoker to 225°F (107°C) and add the wood chips. If your smoker has a water pan, fill it up.
3. Let’s Get Smoking!
Remove the turkey tenderloins from the marinade and pat them dry. Once your smoker has reached the right temperature and is producing that lovely, fragrant smoke, place your tenderloins on the grill grates. Close the lid and let the magic happen.
4. Patience is Key
Smoke your turkey tenderloins for approximately 2.5 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) on a meat thermometer. Resist the temptation to peek; each time you open the smoker, you let out heat and smoke – both of which are vital for that irresistible smoky flavor and juicy tenderness.
5. Rest and Serve
Once done, remove your smoked turkey tenderloins from the smoker and let them rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring every bite is flavorful and moist.
Pair this stunning smoked turkey tenderloin with a fresh garden salad, roasted veggies, or a creamy potato salad.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 295Total Fat: 12gNet Carbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 40g
Recipe Alteration Options
- Italian Dressing: For a tangier flavor profile, try marinating the tenderloin in Italian dressing before wrapping it in bacon.
- Liquid Smoke: If you don’t have a smoker, you can still achieve that desirable smoky flavor by adding a dash of liquid smoke to your brine or marinade.
- Different Woods: Experiment with different types of wood pellets for unique flavor profiles. Hickory or maple can lend a robust flavor to the turkey.
Choosing Your Smoker: Weber Performer Charcoal Grill vs. Pellet Grills
When it comes to smoking your turkey tenderloin, the type of smoker you use can significantly influence the flavor and cooking process. The Weber Performer Charcoal Grill is a fantastic option for those who prefer traditional charcoal smoking. This grill offers excellent temperature control and imparts a unique smoky flavor to your dishes.
On the other hand, pellet grills like the Traeger, Pit Boss, or Z Grills are fueled by wood pellets and are often praised for their ease of use and consistent temperatures. These grills can also offer a variety of smoke flavors, depending on the type of wood pellet used.
Smoked turkey tenderloin wrapped in bacon is a fantastic recipe to have in your culinary repertoire. It’s not only delicious, but it’s also flexible enough to adjust based on your dietary needs and flavor preferences. Whether you’re preparing for a large extended family gathering or an intimate dinner, the succulent, smoky flavor of this dish is sure to impress.
Two words encapsulate this guide: delightful and simple. From the prepping stages to the final result, the path to a delicious smoked turkey tenderloin is a straightforward one that even beginner cooks can navigate with ease. Read the recipe, follow the steps, and start your journey towards creating this delicacy today.
Can I smoke a boneless turkey breast the same way?
Yes, you can smoke a boneless turkey breast following the same steps. The cooking time may vary, depending on the size of the breast.
What if I can’t find apple wood pellets?
If apple wood pellets are unavailable, you can substitute with other fruit woods like cherry or peach. For a more potent smoke flavor, try hickory or mesquite.
Can this recipe be adjusted for cooking for two or three people?
Absolutely. Simply reduce the number of turkey tenderloins accordingly. The smoking time may also need to be reduced slightly if the individual tenderloins are smaller.
Is turkey breast and tenderloin the same?
No, turkey breast and turkey tenderloin are not the same. The turkey breast is a large piece of meat located on the front of the bird, whereas the turkey tenderloin is a long, thin cut found on the underside of the breast.
What is a turkey tenderloin?
A turkey tenderloin is a boneless, skinless cut of white meat located on the underside of the turkey breast. It is known for its tenderness and mild flavor, which makes it an excellent choice for smoking, grilling, or roasting.
How to cook applewood smoked turkey tenderloin?
To cook applewood smoked turkey tenderloin, first marinate the tenderloin with a blend of your favorite herbs and spices. Then, place it on a smoker preheated to 225°F, using applewood chips for that sweet, smoky flavor. Smoke until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, which usually takes 2-3 hours.
Is turkey tenderloin dark meat?
No, turkey tenderloin is not dark meat. It’s a lean, white meat cut from the breast portion of the turkey, known for its tenderness and mild flavor compared to the darker leg and thigh meat.
I’m Calvin Lamb, an LA-based culinary enthusiast with a decade’s experience in five-star kitchens. My innovative dishes, inspired by seasonal flavors and sustainable practices, blend classic and modern cuisine. Besides crafting unique culinary experiences, I relish exploring new eateries and devising fresh recipes.