How To Make Rotisserie Turkey Breast


I love my rotisserie. Love love love love LOOOOOOOOOVE my rotisserie. I’ve only used it twice so far, and already I’m getting the hang of it. I just made, without a doubt, the most perfectly cooked turkey it has ever been my pleasure to chew on.

There’s some big ol’ hunks of beef and pork that have a date with my rotisserie in the near future. But for now I’ve got the how-to for turkey breast. This would go pretty much the same for a whole turkey if you’ve got a much larger grill than mine. The breast in the picture above is about as big as I can fit.


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kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper


I’d really like to be using a whole turkey here. I’m a dark meat fan myself. But it just wouldn’t fit, so a breast it is. I only learned a couple of years ago that you could get a breast, pre-cut and shrink wrapped right next to the whole turkeys.


It’s really convenient, but they inject the breast with up to 15% extra fluid. Which you have to pour out of the bag once you cut it open.

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Then rinse it and pat dry with some paper towels.

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Unlike a whole turkey, this cut is open on one side. I really wanted to run the spit through the meat, but the breastbone is in the way. I tried punching a hole through it, right where you see my thumb, but there’s no way.


So I had to be extra careful with the forks to make sure I secured the breast well. Same routine with the thermometer probe as when I did the chicken. In this case I was able to put the probe into the thick part of the breast.


Unlike the chicken, there are no wings or legs to truss up. But there will still be loose edges where they were cut off.


Instead of the thread I used last time, which burned off, I tried toothpicks. One at each opening, to keep the loose pieces tucked up under the forks, looked like it should do the trick.

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Just like I did with the chicken, I put the turkey on the grill with no seasoning, then added salt and pepper once the bird started giving up some liquid.

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After 25 minutes, the skin was starting to show a little color.

After an hour, it looked good enough to eat. But the thermometer showed 155°, another 10 degrees to go.

Another 10 minutes and the alarm went off. Isn’t this just a thing of beauty.


Yeah, I know you already saw that one up top. But I could look at it all day. As a matter of fact, I think I’m going to set the high-resolution version as my desktop.

Reminder: The spit will be hot. Use a heavy-duty mitt to help lift it out.


The toothpicks held up much better than the thread.


Here are the carving directions I mentioned with I did the chicken. Start by slicing down along one side of the breastbone as far down as you can.


Then in from the side at the bottom of the breast.


You should be able to remove the entire half of the breast in a single piece. (I told you it was easier than it sounded when I tried to explain without the pictures.)


About this time I started to feel like I was being watched.


The feeling grew.


And grew.


Man, everybody wanted to get their teeth into this.

Once the breast is off, slice it as thin as you can across the grain.


Serve with the mashed roasted potatoes and some fresh-cut chives from the garden.


And that’s it.


  1. That looks so delicious, and your audience cracks me up. I would like to steal your kitchen rug, however. Please mail it to me to make it easier for both of us.
    It matches my living room rug — which is a 9×11 hand-latched wool rug covered in cherries. My kitchen needs that rug.
    And while you’re at it, you can send some of that turkey breast and the potatoes. Thanks!
    (Selfish? Me??? I just appreciate the finer things!)

  2. April in CT says:

    This has me pining for dressing and all the Thanksgiving fixins! I love the bone in breast since we don’t (gasp!) like the dark meat. I’ll have to keep a rotisserie in mind for the future.

    Trixie, don’t you wish we could email food? lol

  3. K what did you do with the skin?

  4. What a pretty breast. And I mean that in the most innocent way, of course.

  5. bibliochef says:

    Well, the pictures are great. Just came across the site and it is swell. I too love the cat.

  6. Trixie, I’ll email you the rug. What’s your address?

    April, I’m not offended by people who don’t like dark meat. You’re allowed to be wrong.

    Kim, gosh, that’s a silly question, don’t you think?

    Kristin … nah, too easy.

    Bibliochef, while I love the cat, if he jumps up on the counter while I’m carving one more time he might end up on the spit next time. (And while I hate to think I need this disclaimer: I’M KIDDING ABOUT ROASTING THE CAT. Okay, that is all.)

  7. recipes2share says:

    That breast looks sooo delicious!

  8. I browse a lot of food blogs, but yours is right up my farm girl alley. Plain, good to the bone, tasty eatin’. Man, I can SMELL that gorgeous turkey breast.

    As for your audience…. I don’t want no cat hair on MY turkey. Now before I get skewered, I love all animals, but not on the counters with my food! There is a pecking order! LOL

  9. Beth Ann, it’s all about the pecking order. I keep trying to explain to the animals (and my wife) that humans eat first. Nobody seems to be getting the message.

  10. I would sure love a piece of the skin from that Turkey. I don’t think there is a better way to cook chicken or turkey other than a Rotisserie. Yum!

  11. I’ll reserve judgment on that one until I’ve had a deep-fried turkey. But of the ways I’ve tried, I’ll agree with you that rotisserie is tops.

    • Your comment is rightfully reserved, because deep fried turkey, healthy or not, is AMAZING! There’s something about peanut oil that makes everything better!

  12. April in CT says:

    Drew, my dad does a fried turkey every year for our Christmas gathering and it’s excellent. I hope you can give it a try!

    I do a whole bone in frozen breast in the crock pot that comes out soooo moist..yum!

  13. I’ve got to find a couple more people who want to do them. It seems like a lot of work and expense to only do one bird. If I can convince a few neighbors to join in, we’ll make a party out of it.

  14. April in CT says:

    It’s definitely a big to-do. It takes a lot of preparation, but it’s always fun to help dad and watch everyone drooling waiting for it to come out of the hot oil. It would be a great activity for a neighborhood gathering and do a few extras for leftovers!

    Make sure you watch the video on the underwriters laboratory website of a turkey fryer catching fire when being filled with too much oil. Dad showed me that the first year he fried RIGHT before we went out to put the turkey in the oil. I’m so glad he gets joy from watching me freak out.

  15. I just found your web site on the weekend and made the Rotisseri Turkey and the Mashed Roasted Potatoes. I even made the onion dip – I had to stop my niece from eating all the dip so I would have enough to mash the potatoes – can't wait to make the dip again.
    We agree with you that everything tastes better with bacon – or at least the bacon grease.
    I've looked at more of your recipes and can't wait to try them.

  16. Jean, I did that just because I had leftover dip. I don't think even I would make it just so I could put it in the potatoes. That's impressive commitment.

  17. OK so how did you install the temp prob. and keep it from wrapping around the spit?
    I just can not seem to get that.

  18. Follow that link to see how I did it with the rotisserie chicken.

    Short version:
    * Take the spit out of the collar that rests on the bracket at the side of the grill.

    * Run the probe and wire through the collar.

    * Put the spit back through the collar.

    If there’s not enough space between the collar and the spit on yours to fit the wire, then you’re out of luck for this trick.

  19. Nice post.

    Just a tip. Soak the toothpicks in water or use the longer bamboo skewers soaked in water and cut to length needed….the soaking keeps them from burning.

    I did my breast in a smoker at 200F for 2 hours for flavor and then rotisseried it….it’ll be done in an hour….

  20. Great tip on the thermometer. We’re doing Thanksgiving on Friday since my daughter’s in-laws finally demanded equal time. Even though we’re having just my kids, 2 daughters, son-in-law and 2 grandchildren (one still on a different kind of breast, 3 months) my daughter says there is never enough left over turkey. So I’m doing one in the oven, 14 pound, and one on the weber charcoal rotisserie, 7.8 pounds, breast only. I’ve been avoiding checking the weather but it’s been raining all day.
    I’ve brined the breast and also, following a technique I saw on tv (Heston Bloominthul) dipped it in boiling water for 30 seconds, then ice water, twice. Sort of like Peking Duck to dry the skin. Now it’s drying in the fridge until tomorrow. I’ll probably baste with melted butter while it cooks, perhaps mixed with a little honey and soy sauce and sherry.

  21. John, I’ve been meaning to dry one in the fridge for a few years now, but I never seem to have enough space.

  22. Thanxs Drew, i was just searching to see if a rotisserie turkey would be any good and after seeing your demonstration i will be serving it this afternoon.

  23. Looks delicious. Thanks. Hope you gave the cats at least a taste.

  24. Use butchers twine to tie it together. If you have a rotisserie burner on the back of the grill. Remove the grills and heat things. Place a pan under the breast to catch the drippings and use them for your gravy. I make roast beef, chicken and pork loin on the rotisserie all the time. Best way to cook them all.

  25. Pat Terry says:

    Can you give me easy instructions for deboning a chicken thigh? My grandmother use to make the best seared thighs in the world. I just can’t seem to debone my thighs without cutting them to pieces. Hers were in one piece. She put them in her cast iron skilet and put another one on top of the meat to mash it flat while it cooked.

    • Deboning thighs is as much art as science, and takes a ton of practice and experience. I’ve given up on trying, and just cook thighs bone-in. Once they’re done (right) the bone just slips right out without any effort.

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