Reheat Frozen Smoked Turkey?

Hey everyone. I see lots of posts about reheating cooked turkey, but not reheating cooked turkey that’s been frozen.

Today I smoked five 2lb bone-in, skin-on turkey breasts for Thanksgiving (which is 8 days away). Supposedly cooked turkey should only be kept about a week, I want to have turkey through next week Saturday, which is a full 10 days away.

I’m thinking of pulling the meat off the bone (smoking is done!) and using the water immersion / ziplock bag seal method (I don’t have a vacuum sealer) and then to toss them in the freezer until next week. Gonna make some stock/gravy with those bones.

Question 1: reheating from thawed or frozen.
To reheat, would I thaw in fridge overnight, then sous vide for 25min per inch at 140º… OR is it better to go straight from frozen to serving temp via sous vide?

Question 2: pre-sliced or not?
Should I slice these breasts before freezing them in ziplock bags or reheat whole in the sous vide and slice after?


Lee, those smoked turkey breasts are fully cooked, at least 140F internal. Correct?

Answer 1.
I find slow thawing preserves moisture in meat. I think you are short in your planned reheating time at 140F. If the breasts are 2-inches thick i’d give them about 3 hours to safely and thoroughly reheat.
Reheating from frozen will take more than 50% longer.

Answer 2.
Reheat whole to preserve moisture.

The way i have been cooking turkey, mostly thighs, is to brine them overnight, then smoke two hours, vacuum pack them and finish cooking SV as if they were raw. I generally avoid freezing pasteurized meat unless i want to hold them beyond a month or more. The results are uniquely superior to any other turkey meat i have experienced.

Thanks for the great input @chatnoir! I totally agree with everything you’ve said here.

Turkey smoked to an internal temp of 150º already. Rested then cooled in the fridge. About to bag and freeze them after deboning.

On the reheat @ 3 hours. You think 140º is the right temp?

Now they’re boned, skinned, bagged and in the freezer. I’ll make the stock/gravy with the bones tomorrow. Thanks again for your advice, Frank.

I’ll report back in after they get reheated with my Anova. I have 5 separate tries to get it right :wink:

Glad you found the information useful.
Suit yourself on a reheat temperature. 140F is the temperature i use to preserve a moist and tender texture. SV reheating is usually performed at or below the cooking temperature.

5 separate tries?
I thought they were all for Thanksgiving and you would have a combined reheat and not have a day long process.

Turkey breasts particularly benefit from the SV’s even heating due to their tapered shape. I think you will be doing them again.

Community will benefit from your feedback on results.

Yeah man, sandwiches! It’s all about the sandwiches! It’s just 5 of us for Thanksgiving this year, so we’ll start in on the turkey maybe Tuesday. IF we can wait that long. I figured 24 hours to defrost slowly in the fridge, ~3 hours in the SV. It’ll be like fresh for daaaaaaays. It’s Thanksgiving WEEK around here this year.

You certainly do enjoy your turkey sandwiches!
I completely agree as it’s the only way i eat turkey breast meat.

I neglected to tell you that i thought you might need a little more material than what you have to make stock for the 30 or more portions you’ve cooked, but for sandwiches you won’t need much.

In case you’re interested, i find turkey browned wings and backs make the best stock, nice and gelatinous.