Sunday, June 15, 2014

Smokey Turkey-Legs Sous-Vide

I have been wanting to Sous-Vide Turkey legs for the longest time but I have never been a fan because of those darn tendons. They are a pain to eat around. Then I had a thought..... why not Sous-Vide the legs and remove the tendons with culinary pliers. Of course I am not doing to stop there. After the Sous-Vide I am going to smoke that Legs for a couple of hours using my Weber smokey mountain using charcoal and chunks of Apple wood.   

The big question was how to remove those damn tendons. Do I do it before or after I cook them? Well after some exploratory knife cutting I decided to do it after they were cooked. Those tendons are locked in there mighty tight. I tried to remove them with pliers but I would have torn up the meat really bad. 

The next question of course was "at what temperature do I cook the Legs at". I searched and searched the net and found many many different suggested temps out there. Some suggested cooking at 150 degrees for 8 hours and some as high as 176 degrees for the same time. I talked with a chef and he personally likes 149 but this seemed low to me. Anyhow I used 160 degrees for 6 hours. Although they came out great I think I should have used 149 for 8 hours like the chef suggested. Of course I was going to smoke them regardless of temp I was going to use.  

Here is a picture of the legs after they came out of the Sous-Vide. The legs look very unappealing if you ask me. 

A picture of the leg being filleted open to reveal tendons.

Very difficult to remove tendons. It was not pretty and I tore up the meat just a bit.   

The goal of the smoke was to impart flavor so I kept the temp down by adding ice cold water to the pan below. I was able to keep the temp within 10 degrees of 180 degrees. They smoked for 3 hours.

Over all they turned out really well. The family loved them but I think they could have been better. 

What did I learn from this experiment? Next time I will Sous-Vide at 149 like the Chef said for 8 hours. I am hoping that the additional 2 hours will allow easier removal of tendons.  And I will Brine the legs this time.  Since this dish was a spontaneous one I had no time. 

I will do this again in the next two weeks hopefully!!!!!