How to Pick the Right Cut of Turkey

turkey breasts on a grill


Turkey Smoke Team

You can’t go wrong when turkey is on the grill or smoker. However, picking out the right cut of meat is like picking out a car…it has to fit your needs! Whether you’re grilling out for one or smoking for the whole family, turkey offers a variety of options that strut their stuff over the coals. Check out some different parts of a turkey that are worth getting fired up over:

Types of Turkey Cuts

Bone-In Breast

Not fat, just big-boned. A bone-in turkey breast offers a robust white meat alternative to the whole bird without the lengthy cook time.

smoked bone-in turkey breast

Boneless Breast 

Don’t mistake its lack of bone structure for a lack in brawn. The boneless breast is the brick house of the bird providing a tender, juicy cut that can be sliced into any size or shape. If you’re fancy, pound it thin and roll it up in a roulade.


Season it. Simmer it. Stew it. Ground turkey is a utility player that can be used in any recipe in place of other ground proteins.

Leg (Drumstick)  

Step right up for the fan favorite! This dark meat cut calls for long, slow cooking, but the result is well worth the wait. Tender and flavorful, turkey legs aren’t just a theme park novelty… they’re a timeless classic.


Let’s call them the dark horse of turkey products. Turkey thighs are the perfect cut for those that reach for the dark meat on the plate. Brine it for the grill or smoker, and let the flavor speak for itself.

seasoned turkey wings


When it comes to wings, size matters. Turkey wings are larger than other poultry options and a prime choice for more substantial appetizer portions. They make for some good eating off the grill or smoker.

Whole Bird

It’s not just for Thanksgiving. A whole bird has the flavor, tenderness and versatility to satisfy anyone at any time of year. Plus, who doesn’t love leftovers?

Turkey: A Cut Above the Rest

Don’t let the unfamiliarity of different turkey cuts intimidate you. Turkey is a natural fit for the grill or smoker, and its versatility makes it the perfect protein to let your pitmaster skills really speak for themselves. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get grilling!

Need some inspiration? Check out our archive of trophy-worthy recipes.