Through the magic of our Sous-Vide-Que technique, you’ll produce the best turkey you have ever tasted, guaranteed.
When it comes to the holidays, the last thing you want is to be responsible for serving family and friends a flavorless, dried out turkey. But cooking a whole bird just right can be quite the challenge, especially when it comes to getting the dark meat just right without over cooking the white meat. In an effort to remedy this, and to reduce the number of steps in cooking a whole turkey as possible, we are pleased to share our recipe for sous-vide-que turkey.
If you are not familiar with the concepts of sous-vide-que, this is a concept we have worked hard to develop, essentially combining the ability of the sous vide cooking process to ensure moist, tender meat every time with the depth of flavor only a smoker or grill can create.
For this recipe, you will need a sous vide immersion circulator such as the Joule. You will also need a grill and hardwood chips, pellets, or sawdust. We want lots of smoke in a hurry, so chunks are not ideal. I do it with GrillGrates, a product that puts the smoldering wood within 1/2-inch of the meat. Your Thanksgiving or weeknight turkey will never be the same.
And here’s a recipe:
These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page
- Prep. Break down the bird into quarters, 2 breast lobes, and two drumstick/thigh combos. Sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat and a similar amount of sugar and let it sit in the fridge for about 2 hours so the salt can penetrate deep. Then put the meat in freezer safe zipper bags.
- Next, set up the sous vide machine. Ideally we would cook the legs and breasts separately at different temps, as in the video above, the experts at Joule recommend we cook the breasts at 130°F (54°C) and legs at 150°F (65°C), but our tests found very little difference if you compromise and cook them both at the same temp, 145°F (63°C). So set your sous vide machine for 145°F (63°C).
- Cook. Slip the meat into the bags and slip the bag into the water and seal it so there is no air in the bag. Push it under water. If it floats, open the bag and insert a weight like a spoon. Leave it in the water for at least 12 hours. Watch the water level since some will evaporate.
- Prep again. After 12 hours or more, begin preparing the gravy by removing the meat from the bag and pouring the juices in the bag into a sauce pan. Bring the juices to a low simmer and skim off any scum. Season it with salt and herbs. I like thyme and sage. Strain. This is the basis of your gravy. You can thicken it with a roux made from equal parts butter and flour heated in a pan til it turns pale yellow, but I prefer to serve it thin so it can penetrate a bit.
- Fire up. Pre-heat a grill as hot as possible and throw chips or pellets on the fire and generate as much smoke as possible. I like to use a product called GrillGrates because they have a bottom that can hold the wood and smoke in very close proximity to the meat.
- Cook again. Pat the meat dry then place the turkey parts on the grill. Paint the meat with the Huli-Huli sauce on all sides. Turn the meat every 2 to 3 minutes so the grates don't burn the skin. You can paint one or two more times. Leave the meat on just long enough, with the lid up, to color and flavor the meat without overcooking it.
- Serve. Remove from the grill, plate, and serve immediately. Also enjoy this extended version of our sous-vide-que turkey video!