Many sous vide enthusiasts use a higher temperature and longer interval for dark meat over white meat. For one thing, dark meat is DARKER, d’oh. Sure, it makes a certain amount of sense. Dark meat is a little less tender (note that I didn’t actually use the word “tough”), and when cooking by traditional methods, it takes longer to get the pink out of legs and thighs than it does breast meat. All well and good.

But when it comes to pasteurization/preservation, dark meat and white meat go at the same speed. And I like simple things. So, this time at least, I just did the whole thing at once.

First, I removed the carcass. For more information on how to do this, visit HERE. The carcass gets roasted to make that awesome turkey gravy. For more information on that, visit HERE.

Above: Lipavi C20 container, N20 polycarbonate racks. Lipavi C20L lid.

In the picture above, I have what started as a 25 lb. turkey. I broke it down into 2 breasts (with shoulder joints attached), two wings, two legs and two thighs–about 20 lbs. That’s a Lipavi 25 liter vessel. To avoid crowding, the volume of the packages should never exceed the volume of the water. So, we fill the vessel half way and see if the racked turkey fits. We just made it. You can figure it out ahead of time by the numbers too, if you want–water and meat have about the same density. Two lbs. of meat is going to have an approximate volume of 2 quarts–32 liquid oz. Brain cramp. That’s why I just fill the container half way and see where it goes from there.

132 F/56 C for 7 hours.

After the interval elapses, shock the sealed packages in cold tap water (iced if possible) until they achieve 70 F/21 C. This takes about half an hour. Refrigerate at 40 F/4 C until you are ready to proceed. In this condition, the pasteurized turkey will keep at least two weeks. Like a sealed carton of milk.

Preheat oven to 350 F/176 C.

The legs. I know–very pink. There is a difference between “safe” and “palatable.” You weren’t expecting to eat the turkey right out of the bag, were you?

The wings–not quite as glaringly pink. Look closely. There is almost no moisture loss in either package–which means no shrinkage, either. One of the great features of low temperature pasteurization.

Dip the packages in hot water (or a sous vide bath) long enough to loosen the small amount of gel in the bag.

Cut a corner of the bag, drain out the juices and add them to the stock that I know you are making with the roasted carcass bones. Lay the pieces of turkey out on the surface that you plan to cook them on. This is a sheet pan lined with parchment. Less mess that way.

Use a marked dredge/shaker to dust with powdered egg white. I have shakers with powdered sugar and flour, very handy. Make sure you label them. The contents are not interchangeable.

You can separate your own eggs if you prefer. Make sure you dilute the whites with equal amounts of water so you don’t get too much on there.

Mist with water to dissolve the powdered egg whites.

This creates the sticky surface for the spices to cling to, very important.

Sprinkle with desired seasonings. You can use one from the store or make your own. We have a bunch of recipes for rubs and crusts HERE.

Turn the legs and wings over and repeat the egg white/seasoning process. Spray or drizzle ever so lightly with oil.

Same thing with the thighs. These are laid out on a sheet pan lined with one of those silicone mats, also very handy. You may have noticed that the thighs are currently skin side down. There is a reason for that. Stay tuned.

Dusted thighs. Liquid egg whites are also available in a carton at the market. Powdered is by far the most convenient. Mist with water.

Apply seasonings just like you did with the wings and drumsticks.

Turn the thighs over, do the egg white thing and the mist thing.

Apply the seasonings, drizzle or spray with a little oil. Now you have the skin side UP, which, of course, is what you want.

Roast at 350 F/176 C for 90 minutes, or as long as it takes to achieve the desired effect. It will take longer if you didn’t preheat the oven. There is a reason for everything.


Also yes.

Norm King

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