The easiest, most stress free and impossible to overcook thanksgiving turkey. Brined, marinated, cooked to perfection using sous vide and finished in a wood fired oven to deliver a ridiculously juicy and flavorful bird. Not to mention, the time this method frees up to rub elbows with your guests and not be checking internal temps or basting.
- 1 whole turkey (about 12 pounds)
- ¾ cup ghee
for the brine
- 4 lemons, cut in half
- 3 sprigs fresh sage, bruised with the back of a knife
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, bruised with the back of a knife
- 1 apple, seeded and quartered
- 1 orange, cut in half
- 1 bulb of garlic, skin and stem removed, bulb cut in half through the cloves
- 15–20 bay leaves
- 30 peppercorns
- 1 ½ cups kosher salt
- ½ cup honey
- water, enough to cover everything in the stockpot
for the marinade
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- small bunch fresh parsley, larger stems removed and reserved for the turkey gravy
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, de-stemmed, rough chop
- 2 sprigs fresh sage, de-stemmed, rough chop
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme, de-stemmed, rough chop
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) of salted butter
- Day 1— Quarter the turkey: Remove the wings and wingtips, reserve for turkey gravy. With the turkey on it’s side and the breast facing you towards you, gently pull leg away from body and slice between thigh and body, cut around the oyster and bend thigh away from you to pop out and reveal hip socket; cut through joint to remove leg. Repeat with remaining leg. With breast side up find the center sternum bone and slice vertically along either side, keeping knife against the rib cage and wishbone as you peel the breast and drumstick away. Lay quarters on a sheet tray lined with paper towel to dry the pieces off. Reserve carcass for turkey gravy.
- Brine the turkey: Bring all ingredients to a boil in a stockpot, taste for saltiness and adjust if needed. Turn off the heat, cover and let settle out and cool naturally. Once cooled add turkey pieces and refrigerate over night, 12 hours.
- Day 2— Marinate the turkey: Remove the turkey from the brine and thoroughly dry each piece with paper towels. Season both sides with freshly ground pepper, a light touch of salt and the fresh herbs, pressing them into the meat. Place the two breasts with a stick of the salted butter into a vacuum bag and the two legs into a second bag with another stick of salted butter. Vacuum seal and refrigerate over night, 12 hours
- Day 3— Sous vide the turkey: Place the marinated bagged turkey legs into a stockpot with hot water and using an immersion circulator bring the water temp up to 140°F, sous vide for 1 hour. Remove the turkey legs, massage the bag to evenly distribute the melted butter, return to the water bath along with the marinated bagged turkey breasts. Sous vide for 2 hours pulling the breast bag out once to evenly distribute the melted butter. Remove the turkey from the bags, discarding all liquid from inside the bags.
- Roast the turkey: Preheat a cast iron pan with the ghee in the wood fired oven, around 450°F. Add turkey to the pan, skin side down first, careful to not overcrowd, (if necessary roast in batches), rotating to brown all sides. Roast the breasts for about 10 minutes and the legs for an additional 4-5 minutes or until an internal temp of 155°-160°F. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and rest for at least 15 minutes, turkey will continue to cook ensuring a proper finish temp.
- Carve and serve: Cut through the joint to remove the drumette from the breast leaving the drum whole, then slice the breast. Cut through the joint to remove the leg from the thigh leaving it whole as well. Remove thighbone, roll meat together and slice. Fan meat out on a serving platter and dig in.
- Vacuum sealer alternatives: Not everyone has a vacuum sealer, simply use a sealable storage bag removing as much of the air as possible so the bag doesn’t float up during cooking.
- Sous vide alternatives: Follow all steps, skip this technique and simply roast the turkey in the wood fired oven at 365-400°F for about 45-50 minutes or until an internal temp of 155°-160°F, basting frequently with the pan juices. Cover with aluminum foil in the oven to protect the meat from burning if needed.
- Category: entrée
- Method: sous vide, wood fired