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Turkey Brine and Smoke Recipe For Lunch Meat

Ingredient Wild

Jeremiah Doughty | From Field to Plate

Why spend money on deli slices for your lunch sandwich when it’s turkey season and you (hopefully) have a fresh bird to clean and get ready to eat? Here’s how to make lunch meat from your wild turkey for a lunchbox trade you definitely will not want make. Your tablemates can keep their PBJ.

turkey breast on grill

Turkey Brine

  • 1 quart water
  • ½ cup kosher salt 
  • ½ cup brown sugar 
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed 
  • 4 bay leaves 
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns 
  • 1 cup orange peels (one large orange) 
  • 1 cup lemon peels (2 lemons) 
  • 2 sprigs rosemary 
  • 1 sprig thyme 
  • 1-2 quarts ice water for later use 


1. In large pot bring water to boil along with all ingredients, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 20-30 minutes 
2. Remove from heat and let cool 15 minutes
3. Add turkey breasts to ice water, add brine to cold water as well. Place in fridge for 18-24 hours. 
4. Remove from brine and pat dry, set aside 

BBQ rub 

  • ½ cup brown sugar 
  • 2 tbsp paprika 
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika 
  • 1 tbsp cracked pepper 
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt 
  • 1 tbsp onion powder 
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder 
  • 1 tsp dried mustard 
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper 

wild turkey sandwich


1. Preheat smoker to 185 degrees 
2. Season breasts with BBQ rub on both sides, let sit for 1-2 minutes
3. Smoke your breast until internal temp reaches 155 degrees
4. Pull turkey and place in fridge unwrapped to cool and end cooking. Allow to rest in fridge for 12-24 hours before slicing 
5. Using a meat slicer or a very sharp knife to cut thin slices of meat or thick depending on your lunch meat preference. 
6. At this point you can eat, freeze or use within 7 days of smoke 

Tip: If you want to keep the skin on and keep it from getting rubbery, remove skin from breasts, scrape off fat, and place skin back on breasts. This will help it become crispy and not rubbery. 

Wild, Top Quality, and All Natural Wild Game available at Gamekeeper Butchery

Need wild game meat for a recipe you've been wanting to try? Check out GameKeeper Butchery. GameKeeper Butchery is dedicated to procuring the finest assortment and highest quality of specialty meats from the United States and around the world. Our commitment is to deliver the safest, freshest and most wholesome products.

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