I just finished cooking our 19.5 pound Thanksgiving turkey using Sous Vide for the first time. WE have used sous vide extensively over the last 6 months on other meats and poultry. Our turkey came out more tender and flavorful than any that we have had in the past.
I cooked the bird for about 26 hours at 150 degrees. I basically followed the recipe on the Anova website but felt that recipe was not definitive enough for the first time user. So I am making the additional comment to help you in when you try to tackle a whole turkey.
- Our turkey was 19 pounds so we had to use 4 quarts of chicken stock to fill the bag properly. I used a large brining bag with double ziplock type closure.
- definitely load the turkey in the bag with the breasts down . This is where the mass of the meat is and you want to be sure to expose it to the 150 degree water.
- when filling the bag with the chicken stock and spices and herb mixtite, be sure that the bird’s cavity is completely filled with no air bubbles. If you don’t the bird will try to float as you cook it.
- when you take the cooked bird out of the bag to let it set, the skin will be very delicate because most of the fatty substance will be cooked out of the skin. As such, pat it dry and don’t rub it or the skin will come off.
- we try to reduce salt in our diet, so I did not use as much as the recipe called for.
- Be very careful to allow good water circulation around the bird through the cooking process. This will assure that the bird will be cooked evenly throughout.
- Finally, the spices and herbs that we used were all fresh and hand chopped before combining them in the chicken stock.
The beauty of using sous vide is that it is almost impossible to not cook the bird perfectly. I lowers the anxiety of cooking the Thanksgiving centerpiece perfectly.