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FeChef

PA Dutch Turkey BBQ

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Around these parts, Turkey BBQ is not smoked, and does not contain bbq sauce. Its only fall apart tender, juicy turkey in its own drippings and natural juices. That said, I have had great, and terrible turkey bbq. Mainly the bad all comes down to the breast meat. I make pretty good turkey bbq with leftover turkey, but i only use leftover dark meat. My dilemma is i need to cater for 50 people and using only dark meat is not cost effective. I need to come up with a plan to roast the turkey enough to have drippings, but not over cook the breast. I considered slow roasting the entire 22lb turkey till it can be pulled, but even at a low temp like 250F, i fear the breast will be dry. I considered spatchcook, but while it might shorten the cook time, i think the breast will still end up dry. I am considering seperating the breast and pressure cooking it by itself and only roast the dark meat low and slow in the oven. I am just not sure on the times/temps for both just the dark meat in the oven, and the breast in the pressure cooker.

 

Any suggestions would be great.

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17 minutes ago, gfweb said:

Do the breast sous vide. 

I considered that as well. But i couldn't find a recipe for a time/temp that can be easily be pulled.

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6 minutes ago, FeChef said:

I considered that as well. But i couldn't find a recipe for a time/temp that can be easily be pulled.

Breast that's pullable will be dry. Why not cook it to 145 SV and cut in thin slices as though it were pulled?

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10 minutes ago, gfweb said:

Breast that's pullable will be dry. Why not cook it to 145 SV and cut in thin slices as though it were pulled?

You need to research PA turkey BBQ. Look up Wawa Turkey gobbler. Its huge in PA, but its nothing like the real deal. Besides, this is going to be a Catering event. I can't have pulled and sliced turkey in the same Chafer.

Actually, you opened my eyes. I might just do a half pan of shredded dark meat, and a half pan of thin sliced sous vide turkey breast. Each will be in a dripping gravy.


Edited by FeChef (log)
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I did some cursory Googling and couldn't find much of anything about this style of "BBQ" (which, being neither smoked nor sauced, is about as much barbecue as the PA Dutch are Dutch). Anyway, my turkey move for the past few years has been to smoke and shred the dark meat while doing the breasts SV. White meat doesn't want to be pulled, and if you get it to the point where it's pullable, something horrible has happened. Sure, you can drown it in "juices" and pretend that the meat itself isn't dry, but we're all familiar with this kind of subterfuge -- it's the "drown it in gravy" strategy that so many have adopted to make their Thanksgiving meals more tolerable. (There's also the "drown yourself in bourbon" gambit, which can also be useful on Thanksgiving... but that's a solution to another problem.) 

All that's to say, I'd opt for the half-pan 'o shredded, and the half-pan o' sliced solution. The ChefSteps turkey breast is the best I've ever had, though I go just a bit higher temp-wise than they do (8-24 hrs at 135F). And it's *EASY*.

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16 hours ago, btbyrd said:

I did some cursory Googling and couldn't find much of anything about this style of "BBQ" (which, being neither smoked nor sauced, is about as much barbecue as the PA Dutch are Dutch). Anyway, my turkey move for the past few years has been to smoke and shred the dark meat while doing the breasts SV. White meat doesn't want to be pulled, and if you get it to the point where it's pullable, something horrible has happened. Sure, you can drown it in "juices" and pretend that the meat itself isn't dry, but we're all familiar with this kind of subterfuge -- it's the "drown it in gravy" strategy that so many have adopted to make their Thanksgiving meals more tolerable. (There's also the "drown yourself in bourbon" gambit, which can also be useful on Thanksgiving... but that's a solution to another problem.) 

All that's to say, I'd opt for the half-pan 'o shredded, and the half-pan o' sliced solution. The ChefSteps turkey breast is the best I've ever had, though I go just a bit higher temp-wise than they do (8-24 hrs at 135F). And it's *EASY*.

And how are you "smoking" this dark meat? I will assume you are cutting the entire bird up and smoking just like you would chicken quarters.  I wont be smoking, but i am thinking of roasting spatchcook, but with the breast meat removed leaving the rib cage still connected with just the breast meat and breast skin removed to cook with another method to be determined.

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When I break down the big birds, I take off the white meat (with skin) and remove each leg at the thigh trying to get as much of the oyster as possible. The wings and carcass get roasted to make stock. I confit the legs/thighs SV in duck fat (like 144F for 24 hours), chill, unbag, and retherm on a 225F smoker for a couple hours until the skin looks crispy and amazing or I just can't stand it anymore. The skin gets removed (it usually comes off in one piece) and cut up for smokey cracklins. I pull the legs/thighs, trying to discard any tendons I might come across in the process. The result is fantastic. I'm from North Carolina (where were have actual barbecue) and I'd put my turkey-cue up against any pulled pork from anywhere. It's kind of amazing how closely smoked dark meat from a turkey can resemble smoked "the other white meat." I've also been known to reheat shredded smoked turkey in a nonstick skillet with some Benton's bacon fat. Delicious.

 

I know this is all very sous vide-y, but after cooking a few turkeys this way I don't know that I'll ever go back to doing them conventionally. I don't particularly care for sous vide chicken, but SV turkey was a total gamechanger for me.

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@btbyrd Agree re sous vide being perfect for turkey. I actually like turkey breast now. I haven't roasted a bird in maybe 10 yrs

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If you want to pull the breast, I'd go with the pressure cooker. I do whole chicken for about 25 min to make chicken chili. I think that time would work for turkey breast.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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