I consider turkey breast the best substitute for a whole turkey. When I don’t have time or energy to make an entire turkey, I always resort to the next best thing, and I’ve always ended up happy with the results.
So, for this article, I decided to share one of my culinary pearls of wisdom and tell you all about Honey Baked Ham turkey breast. So, today, we will be discussing the smoked and roasted Honey Baked Ham turkey breast.
Differences Between Smoked and Roasted Honey Baked Ham Turkey Breast
In a nutshell, the Honey Baked Ham smoked and roasted turkey breasts are both delicious options, and the verdict depends on your preference and the occasion. Still, some crucial differences between them could make you prefer one over the other.
The smoked variety is very rich with a complex smoky flavor and tender texture, while the roasted turkey breast is more natural flavored with an irresistible crispy skin.
While the smoked turkey breast is more robust, the roasted version is more traditional and straightforward.
Before I get into detail about both, I must stress that both are prepared with the same attention and feature the Honey Baked Ham signature glaze we all know and love!
As I said, both varieties are prepared with the same care, so whether you choose the roasted or the smoked version, you will get a well-prepared turkey breast.
What I appreciate most in the smoked Honey Baked Ham variety is that the meat is very succulent, juicy, and flavorful, which indicates that the preparation method was very meticulous and detail-oriented.
They typically brine and season the turkey breast with a blend of spices and herbs to enhance its natural flavor and add some new notes that complement the natural turkey breast taste. After the turkey breast is well seasoned, the next step is smoking.
The turkey breast is slowly cooked over low, indirect heat, and the process can take several hours. Can you imagine? Several hours of cooking for a turkey breast!
But, the patience pays off since the smoke penetrates the meat, infusing it with recognizable smoky flavor notes.
The final touch is probably my favorite and that is the Honey Baked Ham glaze, slightly caramelizing the meat adding a sweet layer that sticks to your fingers making the nibbling even more satisfying.
Compared to the smoking process, roasting is a more straightforward method of cooking, which contributes to the traditional and more natural flavor of the roasted variety.
The roasting process begins the same way as the smoking, which is by seasoning the turkey breast with a similar seasoning blend. It may even be the same one, but I am not entirely sure.
After the seasoning, the turkey breast is coated with honey to create that signature sweet glaze. While the glazing is the final step when smoking the turkey breast, it is right in the beginning when roasting it.
Next comes the actual roasting, which is your typical oven-roasting procedure, which you’ve probably done many times before. The Honey Baked Ham roasting secret is the high heat, thanks to which the meat is soft, moist, tender, and juicy with a golden-brown skin.
While roasting, the seasoning and the glaze meld with the natural turkey breast flavor, creating a soft symphony of perfectly adjusted notes, resulting in a hearty and traditional taste.
You probably already have an idea about the roasted and smoked turkey breasts’ flavor; if you think they are heavenly, you are right!
They have very different flavors, each unique and irresistible. The smoked version is more aggressive, deep, and complex, with sharp, smoky notes and a delightful hint of honey.
To make things even tastier, the natural flavors of the turkey breast complement the smokiness along with the herbs and spices from the brine or seasoning.
On the other hand, you may think that the roasted version is bland since it has a more natural and traditional flavor, but you would be wrong. Even though it isn’t as expressive and explosive as the smoked turkey breast, it is incredibly rich and flavorful.
It combines the turkey breast’s natural taste with the herbs and spices, along with the glaze, creating a wholesome final flavor that will not leave you indifferent. At least, that’s the case with me.
Regarding texture, both the smoked and the roasted varieties are very inviting and appealing because of their smooth and tender textures.
Due to the smoking process, the smoked Honey Baked Ham turkey breast is more tender and softer than the roasted version as the super slow cooking locks in the turkey breast moisture.
The roasted Honey Baked Ham turkey breast is firmer and more compact, with a crispy golden brown skin. It is usually less moist than the smoked variety but still very juicy and succulent.
The roasted variety is generally healthier than the smoked one because smoking may add some harmful elements to the meat. Still, that isn’t to say that the smoked variety is harmful or damaging.
The other nutritional content is similar since both varieties come from the same type of meat with very similar spices.
Which One Is Better?
It is impossible for me to answer this question since I love them both and have them very frequently, but on the other hand, I can see how one would prefer the smoked variety over the roasted and vice-versa.
If you are a fan of more powerful and pronounced flavors, you should definitely go with the smoked variety. If you prefer the gentler and more traditional flavors, go with the roasted one.
In either case, you will be left with a smile on your face!