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Two grilled turkey breasts in a cast iron pan with jalapeno, ginger and cranberry sauce

Wood-Fired Turkey Breasts with Ginger-Jalapeno-Cranberry Sauce

If your Thanksgiving gathering is small this year (or you’re looking to try something new), opting for a turkey breast or two is a great alternative to cooking a whole bird. Smoky and subtly herbal with a deliciously crispy skin, these wood-fired turkey breasts from Ooni’s favorite Canadian backyard grilling guru, James Synowicki, are moist, tender and packed with flavour. 

When you’re serving turkey this delicious, you’ll want a cranberry sauce that’s just as complex and interesting. That’s why you won’t see any slices of canned cranberry (though they have their place) alongside this fire-roasted bird. In its place, James has created a ginger-jalapeño-cranberry sauce that’s a little bit spicy and a little bit sweet — a wonderful complement to these turkey breasts. 

If you happen to have leftovers, serve them up in a classic sandwich or on a Thanksgiving Leftovers Pizza. And don’t wait for a special occasion to make them again. These turkey breasts are more approachable than cooking a whole bird, and are great for a hearty Sunday dinner or as a base for the ultimate game day sandwich.  

Note: This recipe is designed for wood and charcoal cooking using Ooni Karu 12, Ooni Karu 16, or Ooni Pro 16. 

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Serves 4-6 (make sure you leave some leftovers for sandwiches!)

Ooni Pizza Oven
Ooni Infrared Thermometer
Ooni Cast Iron Dual-sided Grizzler Plate
Meat Thermometer

2 turkey breasts, approximately 0.9 kilograms each, split, bone in, and skin on
Freshly ground pepper

For the cranberry sauce
2 large jalapeños
200 grams sugar
16 grams white balsamic vinegar
6 grams salt
4 grams sage, finely chopped
237 grams water
6 grams ginger, grated
340-gram package fresh or frozen cranberries

For the butter mixture
42 grams unsalted butter, melted
4 grams fresh sage, chopped
4 grams fresh rosemary, finely chopped
12 grams kosher salt
2 grams freshly ground pepper 

Suggested garnishes
4 to 6 large carrots, thinly sliced
6 to 8 broccolini stems, thinly sliced 
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Remove the turkey breasts from their packaging, pat dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Place the breasts skin side up on a rack over a sheet pan and refrigerate uncovered while you make the cranberry sauce and butter mixture.

Fire up your Ooni wood-fired pizza oven to 450°C, using a combination of lump charcoal and hardwood to maintain the heat and add layers of flavour.

Place the jalapeños directly on the burning wood/charcoal as it heats, rotating a few times a minute to char them completely. Remove the jalapeños, place them in a small bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap or a plate. Let steam for about 5 minutes. Using a paper towel, wipe off charred skin, slice in half, remove seeds and finely dice.

To prepare the cranberry sauce, add the jalapeños, sugar, vinegar, salt, and sage to a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and stir to combine. Add water, then stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Add ginger and cranberries, increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cranberries soften. Spoon the sauce into a bowl, cover and cool at room temperature. Refrigerate until time to serve. 

To make the butter mixture, place the butter, sage, rosemary, and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a small bowl and stir to blend. Using your fingers, gently separate the turkey skin from flesh. Spread a third of the butter mixture underneath the skin of each breast and massage to coat evenly. Pour half the remaining mixture over the skin of each breast and gently rub it all over (use a pastry brush if you prefer). Set aside at room temperature.

When the oven has reached 230°C, place the grizzler plate in the oven, ridge side up, and heat for 5 minutes.

Open the door and rear fuel hatch and let the oven cool to about 220°C. Carefully place the turkey breasts on the grizzler plate, as close to the front as possible, leaving an inch of space between each breast. Place into the oven. Close the door, but leave the fuel hatch open. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, rotating each breast once, front to back.

When the temperature drops to around 175°C, close the fuel hatch and cook until the internal temperature reaches 70 to 71°C, approximately 50 to 60 minutes longer.

Add fuel as required to maintain a temperature near 175°C. If the oven gets too hot, open the fuel hatch and door to control temperature. If the skin starts browning too much, cover with foil.

When you reach the internal temperature, remove breasts to a platter or tray, cover with foil and place a towel over the top. Rest 15 to 20 minutes before carving. (The internal temperature will rise to 75°C while the breasts rest.)

While the turkey rests, James suggests charring the carrots and broccolini on the grizzler using the turkey drippings (completely optional, but why waste a hot oven and delicious turkey juices?).

Add fuel to begin bringing the oven back up to 220°C. Place thinly sliced carrots on the grizzler, season with salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil, and cook for 15 minutes until lightly charred and slightly softened. (The carrots will be charred, not roasted, and should still have a bit of bite). Remove the carrots to a plate and cover tightly with foil to keep warm. 

Add the thin strips of broccolini to the grizzler, season with salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil, and place in the oven. Add another piece of wood and char the broccolini for 5 minutes, turning once. Remove broccolini to a plate and cover tightly with foil to keep warm while you carve the turkey.

Serve the sliced turkey breast with the veggies and ginger-jalapeño-cranberry sauce. Enjoy!

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