Juicy Sous Vide & Smoked Turkey

White rectangular platter filled with sliced roasted turkey.

Sous Vide & Smoked Turkey is so juicy and flavorful. It’s also insanely easy and can be made days in advance so your big day won’t be as busy and stressful.  

To Smoke or not to Smoke… Let‘s do 50/50.

That‘s the beauty of this recipe. You can smoke as much or as little as you want… or none at all. I typically smoke half of the white meat and half of the dark meat (50/50). It‘s all cut up into portions, so it’s entirely up to you.

And since you‘ve cut it up and now have many bones and giblets at your disposal, you can roast stuff and make a incredibly delicious turkey stock.

What Else Can You Cook In Advance?

Well…While the turkey is cooking, you can get your slow cooker working on your Turkey Stock – this means you can also make your Gravy in advance. 

And while you’re getting ahead of the game… You can make your Mashed Potatoes, cornbread for my mom’s Southern Sage Cornbread Dressing, or if you’re taste buds like the flavors that are more northern like my hubby, you can make this Fresh Herb Stuffing (aka dressing)

Turkey Butchery – How to break a bird down

Will the low temperature kill salmonella?

Well, the short story is that many hours of cooking at a low temperature achieves the same results as cooking for a shorter time at a high temperature, but with juicier results because you‘re not over cooking it and drying it out.  Check out this article 

Scroll down for Step by Step Instructions

Sliced nicely browned white turkey meat on the left and dark meat on the right on a wood board. There's a nutcracker in the background who looks like a chef.

Juicy Sous Vide & Smoked Turkey

Stacey Mincoff
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 14 Servings
Calories 505 kcal

Equipment

  • Sous Vide
  • Smoker

Ingredients
 
 

  • 14 Pound Turkey (give or take a few pounds in either direction)
  • Fresh Thyme Sprigs
  • 4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil (one per bag for sous vide)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter (for crisping up the skin in the broiler)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to Taste

Instructions
 

  • Break turkey down. *See video link above for more detailed explanation. Keeping legs and thighs connected to each other, cut them off the turkey. Cutting close to the bone in the back will help you keep the oyster as part of the leg/thigh piece.
  • Cut the last two segments of wings off leaving the drummie attached to the breast.
  • Cut the wing tip off and save it for stock. Remove the wishbone if you want so you can make a wish ;-).
  • Slicing close to the bone, remove the breasts from the carcass.
  • If using carcass to make stock, break the carcass down into smaller portions so it will fit easily into a slow cooker or stock pot. Save all bones extra skin and giblets for stock. Since you have all these bones and giblets now, you don’t have to wait to make stock. See Roast Turkey Stock Recipe.
  • Coat each of the portions with one tablespoon of olive oil. Place skin side down and season generously with fresh thyme springs, kosher salt and black pepper on the other side. Place one breast and wing piece into a vacuum or resealable plastic bag, repeat with other breast, then repeat with one leg quarter per bag.
  • Sous Vide Option 1: Get a very large container that’s big enough to hold all four bags while being submerged under water along with your sous vide device. Set the device temp to 149°F/65°C. Place the bags with the dark meat in the container and cook for 12-24 hours.
  • After dark meat has cooked for 12 hours, turn heat down to 131°F/55°C. Add the bags of white meat and cook for 12-18 hours. *If cooking just white meat, you can cook it for 12-24 hours.
  • Sous Vide Option 2: Sous Vide both dark and white meat at 140°F/60°C for 12-24 hours. Longer time will be more tender.

Finishing:

  • Grill: Remove turkey from bag. Get a super hot grill (with or without smoke) and grill or 4-7 minutes. Skin side down if you want to have the grill marks.
  • Smoker: Soak wood chips of choice for at least an hour before smoking (we like pecan or cherry for this). Remove turkey from bag. Remove herbs. Place turkey skin side up in a cold smoker (we used an electric smoker). Set temperature for 225°F/107°C and smoke for one hour. We placed digital temperature probes into the thickest part of each piece to make sure temp did not get too high. I don’t want it to go past 150°F/65°C since it’s already cooked and I don’t want it to dry out.
  • Crisp the skin: Whether you smoked your turkey or not, once done with smoking and or sous vide, place them all skin side up and rub with butter. Season with a bit more salt and broil at 500°F/260°C for 4-7 minutes or until browned and crispy.
  • Tent and let rest for 15-20 minutes before carving. 

Notes

See video link above for how to break down a turkey.
If you’re worried about it being too pink, you can cook at 135°F – 140°F, but for much less time. 

Nutrition

Calories: 505kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 70gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 236mgSodium: 1026mgPotassium: 730mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 285IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Fall, Sous Vide, Thanksgiving, Turkey
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Step by Step Instructions

Break turkey down. *See video link above for more detailed explanation. Keeping legs and thighs connected to each other, cut them off the turkey. Cutting close to the bone in the back will help you keep the oyster as part of the leg/thigh piece.

Cut the last two segments of wings off leaving the drummie attached to the breast.

Cut the wing tip off and save it for stock. Remove the wishbone if you want so you can make a wish ;-).

Slicing close to the bone, remove the breasts from the carcass.

Turkey laid out into portions of white meat and dark meat.

If using carcass to make stock, break the carcass down into smaller portions so it will fit easily into a slow cooker or stock pot. Save all bones extra skin and giblets for stock. Since you have all these bones and giblets now, you don’t have to wait to make stock and therefore, gravy. See Roast Turkey Stock Recipe. 

Two very large glass measuring cups fill with dark brown turkey stock. There's a nutcracker in the background who looks like a chef.

Coat each of the portions with one tablespoon of olive oil. Place skin side down and season generously with fresh thyme springs, kosher salt and black pepper on the other side. Place one breast and wing piece into a vacuum or resealable plastic bag, repeat with other breast, then repeat with one leg quarter per bag.

Cut up portions of turkey meat side up, seasoned heavily with salt and pepper, and with a few sprigs of fresh thyme.

Sous Vide Option 1: Get a very large container (even a cooler will work) that’s big enough to hold all four bags while being submerged under water along with your sous vide device. Set the device temp to 149°F/65°C. Place the bags with the dark meat in the container and cook for 12-24 hours.

After dark meat has cooked for 12 hours, turn heat down to 131°F/55°C. Add the bags of white meat and cook for 12-18 hours. *If cooking just white meat, you can cook it for 12-24 hours. 

Large plastic and insulated square container filled with water, vacuum sealed bags of turkey, a sous vide device, with a nutcracker who looks like a chef standing by.
Pepé is supervising the sous vide process to make sure I don’t screw it up.

Sous Vide Option 2: Sous Vide both dark and white meat at 140°F/60°C for 12-24 hours. Longer time will be more tender. 

Finishing: 

Grill: Remove turkey from bag. Get a super hot grill (with or without smoke) and grill or 4-7 minutes. Skin side down if you want to have the grill marks. 

Smoker: Soak wood chips of choice for at least an hour before smoking (we like pecan or cherry for this). Remove turkey from bag. Remove herbs. Place turkey skin side up in a cold smoker (we used an electric smoker). Set temperature for 225°F/107°C and smoke for one hour. We placed digital temperature probes into the thickest part of each piece to make sure temp did not get too high. I don’t want it to go past 150°F/65°C since it’s already cooked and I don’t want it to dry out. 

Turkey breast on the top shelf of a smoker and leg quarter on the bottom.

Finishing:

Crisp the skin: Whether you smoked your turkey or not, once done with smoking and or sous vide, place them all skin side up and rub with butter. Season with a bit more salt and broil at 500°F/260°C for 4-7 minutes or until browned and crispy. 

Nicely browned turkey quarters with a nutcracker who looks like a chef.

Tent and let rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.

Sliced nicely browned white turkey meat on the left and dark meat on the right on a wood board. There's a nutcracker in the background who looks like a chef.

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