Its that time of year. Thanksgiving is coming. Big Bird Day. Turkey Day. (T-Day, if you will). Imagine this, you’ve gotten a Sous Vide this year, you’ve had a lot of success with most of the stuff you’ve tried. Now you’re getting reallllly cocky. You want to make the big bird in the SV.
Im here to be your guinea pig. I set out to make a mock Thanksgiving turkey ahead of the big day. And heres how it went. Since I have never attempted turkey in the SV, I followed some great advice on the Anova facebook group. I decided to follow the Chef Steps recipe for Legs and the Kenji Lopez recipe for breasts.
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🔪Prep Time 10 minutes
🛁Sous Vide Time Legs/Thighs 24 hours @149F/65C
🛁 Sous Vide Time Breast 3 hours @145F/62.7C
Broil Time: 10 Min
🎂 Total Time 24 hour 10 min
- 2 Turkey Legs w/ Thighs (Skin On)
- Olive Oil
- Aromatics of choice
- 1 Large Turkey Breast (Skin On)
- Fresh Ground Pepper
For this experiment I decided to get all the relevant Turkey pieces to try.
To start, I took my legs and thighs and gave them a light pre-sear on the skin. Heated a heavy bottom Cast Iron Skillet over medium high heat and add a high smoke point oil. Seared till golden.
So more big news on the blog, JB Sous Vide finally has a vacuum sealer. Ill be running this one through its paces and then do a review.
Take your turkey legs and seal.
Set your Sous Vide cooker to 149F/65C and place your pouches into your Sous Vide Container
At hour 9 into the Legs cook I took to prepping my turkey breast so it had time to absorb the salt.
First remove the skin and set aside. As per the recipe we’re crisping that separately.
Season the turkey generously and seal. I set my breast in the fridge to rest for 12 hours.
At hour 21 of the leg cook, I dropped the temperature of the water bath to 145F/62.7C and set the breast in for a 3 hour cook. I left the legs and thighs in to finish its 24hrs out.
To work on the skin, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. You’re going to take a shallow sheet pan lined with parchment. (I used a pyrex here. do as kenji says, not as I do). Spread the skin over the first layer of parchment.
Cover with a second layer of parchment and press out the air with your hands. Set another sheet pan on top and place in the over. Roast the skin for about 30-45 min.
After 24 hours cooking the legs and 3hrs for the breast, its time to get to searing. Remove the pieces from the bath and pat dry with paper towels. Right now it doesn’t look that appetizing, but we’ll take care of that in a minute.
Place the leg pieces on a rack over a sheet and pre heat your broiler to as high as you can get it. Broil the legs for between 5-15 min. Keep an eye on them to avoid burning.
Slice up your Turkey breast and serve with you favorite T-Day sides and enjoy!
Ok, ok, I know what you’re thinking. How did it taste? Well, I would say it was an OK representation of turkey for me. The star of the show was without a doubt the legs/thighs. They were so tender and juicy. So much flavor. I would do that again. The breast was not my favorite. I just didn’t enjoy the texture it gave me. I will have to do some tweaking there to see if I can get to something I love.
Now, would I sous vide a whole turkey for your Thanksgiving? No, I don’t think I would. At this point in time at least. I think if i were going to do it, I would make a Turkey roulade but after this experiment I would still lean towards the traditional roast turkey method. Just me. Whatever you do though. Practice it before the big day. Do not. I repeat, do not! wing it. Looking at you Mary.
If you enjoyed this recipe id love to hear from you! Drop me a line and let me know what you liked or what you didn’t like, your opinion matters to me. As always you can follow this blog from the button below, as well as your favorite social media platform! Follow on Instagram and Facebook @JBSOUSVIDE to be the first to know when I post a new cook and share it with a friend!
Hi James. Big thank you for doing the mock up. I really appreciate it. I’ve decided to roast my turkey this year after reading your entry here. I’ve had great success roasting a turkey, having done about 30 or so in my life. I’ll save SV’ing a turkey breast for another time when it’s just the 2 of us and not a holiday meal with the family.
No problem Elizabeth. I can’t help but agree with your logic. Stick with what you know and experiment on a time when ur not trying to feed others. I have no doubt a lot of ppl can do it well. I’m just not there yet to where I would risk it!
Thank you for saying Lou!