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Sous vide turkey question

I'm doing a sous vide turkey for Thanksgiving using a Michael Voltaggio recipe from Williams Sonoma. It involves breaking down the bird, brining, sous viding, then a quick 5 minute dunk in 375 oil. We did a test run last week, following the recipe and technique to a T and when we cut into the turkey legs the meat was quite pink with a few bloody spots by the bone. In retrospect I should have stuck the Thermapen in right after I took the legs out to make sure the temperature was right inside but I had trusted to recipe. Any concerns as to the appearance or does that come with the sous vide territory in this case?

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  1. Since you are alive and well to give us your results from last week.....I would say you are fine, and no worries.


    1. 2 hours @ 150 degrees should be enough to pasteurize legs that are up to 45 - 50 mm thick. If there is a concern you should be able to drop them in to the bath at the same time as the thighs without losing any quality. A pasteurization table for poultry can be found here http://www.douglasbaldwin.com/sous-vi....

      1. There is a big range in recommendations for sous vide of the dark meat for turkey. Personally, I like it cooked longer, like 6 hours... It gets much more tender. I don't have my notebook with me, but last year I did the breast and legs/thighs separately, different temperatures and much longer time for the dark meat. They came out great.

        2 Replies
        1. re: firecooked


          Do you deep fry after the 6 hours to crisp it up?

          1. re: vchase

            I crisped the skin for the thighs and breast in a hot skillet. I did the legs (eaten at a later time) under the broiler. One of the 1/2 breasts was just used for sandwiches, so that was used as it (and made the BEST turkey sandwiches ever).

        2. How long and at what temp?

          I do breasts for 2 1/2 - 3 hours at 145. That was fine (but the texture of the turkey breast was a touch "lunch-meaty". But I brought them to two dinner parties - and was clearly the winner here. Especially my neighbor who insisted her turkey would be better (I love it when people do that!) She'd overcooked her turkey - dark meat was good, breast was quite dry. She isn't good at being humble or conciliatory. But she was that night. She thought I'd saved her Thanksgiving (I brought 1 large breast, 2 thighs).

          The thighs (with bones) at 175 for 10 hours. I've read 8-10 hours. But they came out stringy, but fairly moist. Next time I'd try them at a lower temp, or a shorter time period. 150 for 4 hours. Anyone had much experience in this arena?

          BTW - I brined everything for 24 hours.

          1. You need to cook the breasts differently than the dark meat pieces.

            I used Michael Votaggio's recipe with turkey breasts, but setting the machine to 144 degrees for three hours. It came out great.

            I didn't cook dark meat sous vide. Most people cook the dark meat for a lot longer (6-10 hours) as well as at a higher temperature to give time to break down the collagen. Plus a lot of people say that the difference in flavor / texture for dark meat isn't as pronounced with sous vide as it is with white meat.

            1 Reply
            1. re: calumin

              Thanks for your response. I actually did the recipe as it was written except I added the turkey legs at the same time as the thighs. I didn't get any pinkishness in the meat / blood by the bones this time around. Seems like there are a lot of different temps and times to play with as far as sous viding the different turkey cuts so maybe there will be some experimenting down the line.

              I was generally pleased with how the turkey came out. The brine had a lot of citrus and quarter cups of 5 different spices and I don't think anyone of those flavors came through in the final product, except for maybe the cloves. I thought the thighs came out the best.

            2. Sous vide is a technique designed to cook tougher muscle groups to a medium rare end temp and still break down the connective tissues that make these flavorful cuts tough.

              Long story short, "it comes with the territory".

              2 Replies
              1. re: Brandon Nelson

                Sous vide also works well with certain fish, poultry and vegetables than benefit from an accurate temperature cooking.
                Cooking turkey and breast separately makes alot of sense.
                I tend to SV my breast a little higher.
                Sous vide/confit the dark meat and trying to get the maillard reaction after helps in the final product i find.

                1. re: Brandon Nelson

                  It does come with the territory a bit. Color is not an ideal indicator of doneness or safety with sous vide.

                  Notably though, I find that deboning poultry before cooking sous vide can be useful to minimize shades of red and keep the meat from skeeving out people who aren't super familiar with sous vide poultry. For some reason, there's usually more pink in bone-in poultry than deboned cuts, even if both are fully and equally cooked.