Sous Vide Smoked Turkey Breast

For Thanksgiving we had a Turkey Breast competition; a traditional smoked turkey vs a smoked turkey that was smoked for a few hours and then finished in the Sous vide cooker.

I removed the breasts from the bone for the Sous Vide variant; this was mostly because I use a rice cooker with a  separate controller and the whole breast wouldn’t fit into it. On Tuesday night, I mixed up a brine (very roughly, 3/4 cup of salt to about 1/2 gallon of water, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, some cracked peppercorns, and some other spices) and both of them got put into the brine. The separate breasts were a lot easier to deal with because they just went in a ziploc bag.

In the morning, started up the smoker (a brinkman electric that I’m not that happy with), and put on the turkey. The traditional one had a thermometer in it so that I could check for doneness; the others would come off early enough that I didn’t need to track their temperature. The wood was a mix; mostly apple chips, with a couple of chunks of mesquite to add another flavor (make sure to be careful not to use too much; it’s easy to to far with mesquite and poultry).

Then I do the usual smoker thin; replenishing the wood every 30 minutes or so.

After 3 hours, the two separate breasts come off, go directly onto a cookie sheet and then straight into the freezer. They are ultimately destined for the vacuum pack, but I need to freeze the juices so they won’t ooze out into the foodsaver when I pack it.

After about 9 hours total, the breasts hit 152 degrees on the smoker and I pull them off. I carve them off of the bone, and they go into the freezer to cool for an hour, then into the fridge overnight. The others get vacuum packed.

Thanksgiving morning the vacuum-packed ones go into the cooker with the controller set to 148 degrees. The others go into the oven at the appropriate time.



The sous vide version is slightly moister, the traditional ones have slightly better smoke flavor. The difference in effort is significant, however; it’s *so* much easier to just smoke the breasts for a few hours and then pull them off and finish cooking them. It’s also possible to freeze them and then finish cooking them a few months later.

So, what do you think ?