Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

What makes Thanksgiving 2015 so special that I need to write another post? I refined some of my Sous-Vide techniques and wanted to share. Here are some LINKS to past techniques and Turkeys I have done. 

Let's begin....Like everyone else I start with a completely thawed and cleaned Turkey. The next step is crucial so pay close attention. If you want a well seasoned moist bird dry brining is essential. I Dry-Brine all my proteins. Here's what you do. Liberally sprinkle kosher salt all over the Turkey. That means the inside too. You need about 24-36 hours for the salt to be absorbed. This is similar to an equilibrium cure so if you went as long as 48 hours it's not a big deal; just don't go less than 24 hours. Read all about Dry-Brining HERE and HEREAfter the Dry-Brining I always rinse the Turkey under cold water. Not a crucial step but rinsing removes the impurities that might have leached to the surface after salting. 

If you don't already know how to break down a Turkey look no further than here for your Tutorial. Chefsteps shows you how to break down a Turkey in this VIDEO.

Melt lots of unsalted butter. Yes we are going to inject our bird with butter. Everything tastes better with butter. 

My favorite injector!!

I posted this picture to give perspective. This is a big injector. Start injecting. 

The Turkey was injected multiple of times. I hit every joint too. This baby is full of butter. If you wanted you could add other things to your injector but I prefer just butter. 
Let's talk seasoning techniques. I learned this one from Thomas keller in his book Under Pressure.  I made sure the herbs did not make any contact with the Turkey by making a plastic bouquet garnet that was pierced all over. This technique will perfume the Turkey with aromas that will surround and enhance the taste of the meat. Take my word on this because I have ran some experiments. What I have concluded is this, herbs put in direct contact with the food will overpower the meat and will not flavor the whole thing. All the flavors of the herbs will be concentrated where they lie. By placing them in the plastic wrap the aromas will seep into the Turkey slowly. I used Sage, Thyme and Parsley. For the breast I placed two packets on either side of the breast.

All vacuumed sealed and ready for the bath. 

Turkey Breast Sous-Vide at 140˚ƒ for 4 hours.

Dark meat Sous-Vide at 150˚ƒ for 6 hours. 

All these temps and times are designed around how I want to finish the Turkey. In this case, I plan on smoking the Turkey for about 90-120 minutes at 180-190˚ƒ. When the smoke dissipates, I will cranked the heat up to about 225-250˚ƒ to give that mahogany glaze we all love so much. 

What preceded the smoke is important too. After the Sous-Vide process I Cold- Shocked the Turkey in an Ice-Bath and refrigerated overnight. If I had taken the turkey out of the SV and proceeded directly to the Smoker, the Turkey would have overcooked. Starting out with temps much lower helps mitigate the possibility of overcooking the Turkey. I also know if I placed a Turkey in my smoker with an internal temp of 34˚ƒ, it would have taken forever for the meat to come up to temp too. So what did I do?  I cranked up the Sous-Vide to about 125˚ƒ and set the Turkey in the bath for about 45 minutes. The Turkey hit the smoker registering 100˚ƒ internally. The Turkey was removed from the smoker when an internal temp of the white meat was at 140˚ƒ and the Dark meat hit 150˚ƒ

So to recap....if you processed your protein at "X" temp and proceeded to finish using "Y" method the temperature of protein would be elevated beyond the processing temperature. Cold-Shocking will prevent the protein from becoming overcooked during the process of searing using "Y" method. 

These are all techniques. If you miss one of these steps the outcome will be different. Let's say I wanted to finish the Turkey in a frying pan instead of an oven or smoker. I would have made sure that the meat was at least at 120˚ƒ before the meat would have hit the pan. Again these are my techniques. This works in the oven too. Just plan ahead.

These are two different Turkeys just out he of second Sous-Vide bath. Dried very well and seasoned.  I seasoned one with additional spices and herbs and one without. Just personal preference. Now on to the smoker.

I used my propane smoker instead of my charcoal smoker. The weather was horrible and propane is so much easier than charcoal in poor weather. I like using Apple and Cherry when I smoke poultry but you can use whatever you want. I also like to add Sage to the smoke box for extra flavor. 
Cherry Smoked
Apple Smoked