Thanksgiving Turkey: Butcher, Brine, Sous Vide

Thanksgiving Turkey: Butcher, Brine, Sous Vide

Learn Chef Kieron’s Thanksgiving turkey technique!

Chef Kieron shares his unique way to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey. The entire process takes anywhere from 3-10 days, so if you prefer to save some time in the kitchen this year, you can also order your turkey from our Thanksgiving To-Go menu, and we’ll do all of the work for you. You can just pick-up, reheat and serve!

In the below recipe, Chef Kieron uses the sous vide method, which is essentially cooking the turkey meat in a water bath at a consistent temperature over a long period of time. This is guaranteed to deliver a tender, juicy and delicious result every time.

Pre-Prep

Instructions:
If you’re working with a frozen turkey, the first thing to do is to make sure the turkey is fully defrosted. Recommend placing in a deep pan to catch any liquids and keeping it at the bottom of the fridge. This can take up to three days.

Step One: Butcher Your Turkey

Materials:
Large Cutting board
Butcher’s knife

Instructions:

  1. Open up the turkey over a sink and pour out the liquids. Dry out the skin and cavity with a paper towel.
  2. Remove the giblets – these are usually in the cavity of the neck in a small bag. (Tip: you can set these aside for making gravy!) 
  3. Place the turkey on a large chopping board. First you will remove the wings. Remove all three parts of the wing – the tip, mid joint and the drumlet. Use your fingers to find the knuckle joint closest to the breast and slice through the joint, focusing on not cutting the breast meat. (Reserve these wings for the gravy stock.)
  4. Take out the wishbone – this will make carving easier and allow you to get to the breast meat. Place the bird on its back and lift up the flap of skin at the neck. You will see a V bone her connected to the breast.  Using a boning knife slice along each side of the V inside and out. Then use your finger to work around the bone and pull towards yourself – this will take a bit of force.
  5. Now you will remove the crown. Turn the turkey with the legs and thighs facing you. Pull the the skin where the thighs meet the breast. Slice at this point following the line of the thigh toward the leg. Below the rib cage you will slice downwards but to not cut all the way through. Repeat on the other leg and thigh. Invert the bird gaine and pop out the joints.  Follow the line of the thigh ensuring you capture the oyster.  
  6. The legs/thighs and the crown are now separate. Break the back bone of the crown and cut through to remove about ⅔ of the back bone. (This can also be reserved for the stock.)

Step Two: Brine Your Turkey

Turkey brine enough for a 25 lb. turkey

Ingredients:

  • 454g Kosher Salt (can brine for up to 10 days, in which case only use 125g)
  • 1,544g Water (room temp)
  • 5g Nutmeg (grated)
  • 14g Juniper Berries
  • 14g Rosemary (fresh)
  • 14g Thyme (fresh)
  • 54g Garlic Gloves
  • 2ea Celery Stalks
  • 1ea Onion (large)
  • 2ea Carrots
  • 14g Sage (fresh)

Instructions:

  1. In a saucepan, add salt and 908g of water and bring to simmer.
  2. Cut the onions, carrots and celery on a large bias.
  3. Place the salt water, vegetables, herbs, spices, garlic gloves and remaining water (636g) into a large container. (For a 25 lb. turkey, a 5-gallon bucket would work well.)
  4. Add the turkey to the brine container.
  5. Place the turkey in the refrigerator on a tray and wrap the exposed turkey with plastic wrap. Let it sit for 24 hours.
  6. Turn the turkey 180 degrees, and let it sit for an additional 24 hours.
  7. After the 48 hour brining process, remove the turkey from the brine. Use paper towels to dry the turkey off. Keep the vegetables and herbs for the leg and thigh roasting tray.
  8. Your turkey is ready for cooking!

Step Three: Sous Vide Your Turkey

Materials:

  • 2 Turkey roasting bags (HERE)
  • 2 Sous vide sticks (HERE)
  • 2 18qt heat proof tall container (HERE)
  • 2 Large binder clips (HERE)
  • 1 Large spoon
  • 1 Blow torch

Ingredients:

  • Pre-butchered 22-24lb turkey
  • 2 Red onion (roughly chopped)
  • 1 Head of celery (roughly chopped)
  • 6 Carrots (roughly chopped)
  • 40g Garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 10g Thyme
  • 15g Rosemary
  • 15g Sage
  • 5g Peppercorns
  • 2g Cloves
  • 2g Juniper Berries
  • 20g Salt
  • 200g Turkey Stock

Basting Ingredients:

  • 200g Melted butter
  • 2 Cloves of garlic
  • 10g Sage
  • 5g Pepper corns
  • 10f salt

Instructions:

Day before Thanksgiving:

  1. Fill heat proof container about ⅚ of the way to the top. 
  2. Set up sous vide to 150F for the crown and 155F for the legs and thighs and turn on to preheat. Label each container with some tape and a sharpie so you know which is which.
  3. In one of the turkey roasting bags, place the two legs and thighs. In the second, place the crown skin side down.
  4. Split all the rest of the ingredients between the two bags evenly.
  5. Gently place each bag into the correct water with the bag open at top to allow the air to escape. Use the spoon to push the bag down until all the air has escaped. Clip the excess top of the open bag to the side of the pot.
  6. Once the water has reached the desired temperature, record the time on the label on each container and set a timer on the sous vide app or on your phone for 24 hours.

Thanksgiving Day:

  1. Pre set your oven to 450F.  
  2. Take all of the basting ingredients and place in a pot. Bring to a simmer.  
  3. Once simmering, take off stove and allow to sit for one hour.  
  4. Strain the butter through a fine sieve and set aside for the roasting process.
  5. Take the turkey out of the water approximately one hour before you need it. Remove the legs and thighs first and drain the bag into a colander over a sink. 
  6. Gently remove the skin and keep to one side. 
  7. Pull the leg and thigh meat off the bone. Place this into a bowl and season with salt, pepper and a little turkey gravy as your personal taste prefers.
  8. Repeat the process of the draining the bag with the crown, being careful around the skin so as not to break it. 
  9. Place into a roasting pan and pat the skin dry with a paper towel.
  10. Using the blow torch, gently dry out the skin for about one minute moving the blow torch continuously about two inches away from the skin.  (This should dry the skin, not burn it.) 
  11. Place the turkey in the middle of the oven. Brush it with the butter you prepared earlier. Repeat every five minutes for twenty minutes (four times.) This should produce a golden brown skin.
  12. Remove and let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before serving.

Prefer to leave the work to us? Cornman Farms’  Thanksgiving To-Go is available to order until Saturday, November 23.