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Old 07-20-2011, 02:15 PM   #1
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Slow-Cooked Turkey?

So lately I've been using my crock pot a lot and it's got me thinking about Thanksgiving. I really don't like turkey and have avoided eating it for the past few holiday seasons. I would like to like it and I started thinking about ways to cook it.

I've had it roasted, baked, and fried and it never really struck a chord with me. My question is, has anyone ever cooked it like you would in a crock pot (eg braising) for a ridiculous amount of time at a super low temp? Bear with me on logistics of this because I don't even know if there are roasters that can accomodate this but what if I cooked the bird at say 180F degrees for 24 to 30 hours in a savory liquid in some sort of slow cooker. What would the end result be? Fall off the bone delicious or water gooey mess?

I don't know enough about turkeys to know if this is a stupid question or not but I'm willing to test some theories here. What do you guys think?

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Old 07-20-2011, 02:21 PM   #2
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What don't you like about turkey?
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Old 07-20-2011, 02:23 PM   #3
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Don't like Turkey either :( Only had smoked turkey though, maybe I should try plain.
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Old 07-20-2011, 03:09 PM   #4
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I actually don't much like the flavor of the meat itself. When cooked it's rarely seasoned and I think it needs to be brought up to a higher level. I'd almost like to treat it like a pork barbecue roast with a rub but cook it in a slow cooker.

I was looking at a few things on google and saw the sous vide style of cooking and I think that might be a good method to partially replicate. I think vacuum sealing the bird would be too much of a chore but cooking at 180-185 for 50-60 hours could product some interesting results.
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Old 07-20-2011, 03:23 PM   #5
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I've never braised a turkey. Since I like turkey roasted or smoked, I doubt I ever will.

A couple of points to consider:

Regardless of cooking method, you can add flavor to a turkey through brining. Since I brined my first turkey, I have brined every one since. It makes a huge difference in flavor.

Turkey is about the leanest white meat on the planet. Braising it in a slow cooker, could lead to dry white meat. All the meat will come to temp together in a braise while roasting gives you flexibility to have breasts at 165º F and thighs at 185º F.

Read this then decide: Good Eats Roast Turkey Recipe : Alton Brown : Food Network
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Old 07-20-2011, 03:40 PM   #6
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Years ago the Frugal Gourmet did a show on poaching whole turkeys. The idea was that if you only wanted the cooked meat and not a big TaDa presentation you could cut up the turkey and poach the parts to get moist meat for various uses and a nice broth for soups. I did it once and it was good but, I like roasted to death dried out American Mom style turkey. Many variations of his method are still out on the net.
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:04 PM   #7
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but what if I cooked the bird at say 180F degrees for 24 to 30 hours in a savory liquid in some sort of slow cooker. What would the end result be? Fall off the bone delicious or water gooey mess?

Well first of all that's a recipe for serious food poisoning. You should never cook poultry at a temp. that low.

Turkey isn't supposed to fall off the bone. It is meant to be cooked only until it's done and no more.

Lets say that you cooked it in your crockpot for 24 hours at 250. In liquid. What you will end up with is turkey stock, basically. All the liquid and flavor of the meat will have been expelled into the cooking liquid. The liquid might be tasty but the turkey will be very, very dry and probably somewhat disintegrated.

Its actually very easy to roast a turkey.

If you don't like turkey, maybe roast some beef or a ham instaed?
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:32 AM   #8
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Alright, so we need a higher temperature to make it safe. I was thinking something along the lines of a sous vide method.


As for the statement "Turkey isn't supposed to fall off the bone." That's not true. It's just not common practice but that doesn't mean it couldn't be good. Cooking is about trying new things and inventing. So, it's not fair to say that that end goal is incorrect just because it's not the way everyone is doing it.

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Turkey is about the leanest white meat on the planet. Braising it in a slow cooker, could lead to dry white meat. All the meat will come to temp together in a braise while roasting gives you flexibility to have breasts at 165º F and thighs at 185º F.
So now we should consider cooking the parts separately to their optimal temperature. Maybe this method will only work for the dark meat - That I don't know but I'm willing to test some theories here.
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:16 AM   #9
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...So now we should consider cooking the parts separately to their optimal temperature. Maybe this method will only work for the dark meat - That I don't know but I'm willing to test some theories here.

I didn't say you should cook the parts separately. I said the parts cook at different rates so they reach their different optimal temperatures at the same time.

I agree with jennyema that a long low braise as you describe will make a dry tasteless turkey and a great broth. Braising is for poorer cuts of meats with high percentages of fat and connective tissues that the long slow process breaks down.

All this being said, give it a try and find out if you like the result.
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:48 AM   #10
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Make Turducken! I can't stand Turkey but I like it this way :) Turkey stuffed with duck stuffed with chicken!
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:46 AM   #11
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As for the statement "Turkey isn't supposed to fall off the bone." That's not true. It's just not common practice but that doesn't mean it couldn't be good. Cooking is about trying new things and inventing. So, it's not fair to say that that end goal is incorrect just because it's not the way everyone is doing it

Turkey that "falls off the bone" is, by definition, disintegrated. And it will be very dry and tasteless, having had its taste and moisture sucked out of it and into the cooking liquid.

That might be good to some people, sure. You could "pull" the meat and mix it with some kind of sauce. You could shred it and make enchiladas or a casserole or use it in a soup.

But it wouldn't be very appetizing served by itself. Think of what the chicken is like after you make stock.

Roasting a delicious moist turkey is pretty simple and doesn't take a lot of time. Also, you could just roast a breast, which is even easier.
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:33 AM   #12
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I always made my turkey in a roasting pan on a rack. Sometimes I would use a Reynolds cooking bag. But 3 years ago I bought a Rival 18 quart roaster oven and I've never wanted to cook a turkey any other way. It's pretty much like cooking it in a crock pot. You just prepare the turkey, put it in the roaster, and as Ron Popiel likes to say "SET IT AND FORGET IT!" I poke my external thermometer into the thigh and set it for 165 and turn on the beeper, and if I've stuffed it, I have a second remote thermometer. Then I go do everything else I have to do to prepare dinner without worrying about the turkey until the beeper goes off. If the turkey's done early, the roaster will keep it warm without drying it out.

Oh, BTW, it also frees up your oven for other things like baking the dinner rolls and pies!
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Old 07-21-2011, 04:46 PM   #13
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So lately I've been using my crock pot a lot and it's got me thinking about Thanksgiving. I really don't like turkey and have avoided eating it for the past few holiday seasons. I would like to like it and I started thinking about ways to cook it.

I've had it roasted, baked, and fried and it never really struck a chord with me. My question is, has anyone ever cooked it like you would in a crock pot (eg braising) for a ridiculous amount of time at a super low temp? Bear with me on logistics of this because I don't even know if there are roasters that can accomodate this but what if I cooked the bird at say 180F degrees for 24 to 30 hours in a savory liquid in some sort of slow cooker. What would the end result be? Fall off the bone delicious or water gooey mess?

I don't know enough about turkeys to know if this is a stupid question or not but I'm willing to test some theories here. What do you guys think?
I would guess watery gooey mess as far as the turkey itself goes, however it might work, especially with the dark meat which is fattier. I have a friend that cooks a whole chicken in the crock pot with tomatoes and seasonings, then removes the bones and skin once it's done. He then adds partially cooked rice and green beans and cooks it for about an hour longer. I thought the chicken would end up gross for the same reasons I'd expect turkey to end up gross but it was finely shredded and actually pretty good. Instead of doing an entire turkey, you might try picking up a thigh and leg combo first and experimenting with that. What sort of flavorings/seasoning were you thinking about adding?
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Old 07-22-2011, 08:56 AM   #14
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So that's the answer to the question. Fat. There is not enough fat in turkey to make a long, slow cooking process work. That's the part I was missing in this whole thing.

I concede. I'll go with frying.
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:20 AM   #15
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Brining turkey with herbs will impart extra flavor into the meat. Roasting or barbecuing until the thickest part of the breast reaches 155"F. and removing from heat, let rest for 15 mintues, will give you moist, tender turkey. Smoke will enhance the flavor as well. If it's still too dry for you, insert bacon lardoons into the breast.

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Old 07-22-2011, 05:47 PM   #16
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So that's the answer to the question. Fat. There is not enough fat in turkey to make a long, slow cooking process work. That's the part I was missing in this whole thing.

I concede. I'll go with frying.
Have you ever thought about dicing it up and stir-frying it with other ingredients? Maybe mushrooms, celery, onion, garlic, some black pepper and tarragon? Actually, that sounds kind of good. Hmmm, I might have to try that and I like turkey roasted Thanksgiving style.
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Old 07-25-2011, 08:44 AM   #17
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Have you ever thought about dicing it up and stir-frying it with other ingredients? Maybe mushrooms, celery, onion, garlic, some black pepper and tarragon? Actually, that sounds kind of good. Hmmm, I might have to try that and I like turkey roasted Thanksgiving style.
I really haven't. I just don't really like the flavor of turkey for some reason. I have actually never had it smoked.. that might be a good one to try.
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Old 07-25-2011, 10:56 AM   #18
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I really haven't. I just don't really like the flavor of turkey for some reason. I have actually never had it smoked.. that might be a good one to try.
I usually end up smoking several turkeys every year for pot lucks, weddings, and just because everyone loves them. I use a Webber 22 inch charcoal grill, and maple from the nearby forests, and apple from my back yard. Mesquite also is great for turkeys. Simply prepare the bird as you would for roasting, turss it, place it on a turkey rack, and place it over a drip pan that is placed between divided beds of charcoal, with the wood on top of the glowing coals. Close all vents halfway, and place a meat thermometer in the thickest potion of the white meat, right down near the thigh joint. Put the lid on and let it cook until the thermometer reads 160'F. Remove the turkey to a platter and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Carve by removing the breasts and slicing against the grain. remove the winds, thighs, and drumsticks. Clean the meat off of the back, saving the "oysters" for someone special, and serve with sides. I guarantee that you will be a culinary hero.

There is no need to baste or otherwise fuss with the bird after it has started to cook. Just make sure to rub butter all over the skin, and salt before placing on the grill. Oh, and the drip pan needs to be filled half way with water. The juices in the pan, after the bird is removed is amazing and can be used to store the carved turkey in, if it's not to be eaten right away, or it can be made into a gravy or sauce, or added to soups. I also cook up the giblets and inject the resultant broth into the turkey before cooking. If you have brined the bird, that step isn't necessary. In fact, you don't have to do it even if you haven't brined the bird.

I hope this makes turkey pallatable for you.

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Old 07-25-2011, 12:42 PM   #19
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If you feel adventurous--deep fry it like it's done down South, method and videos are online. IMO, deep fried turkey tastes great, but then I like turkey.
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Old 07-25-2011, 03:42 PM   #20
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If all of the above doesn't work for you, eat duck. No one says that to not like turkey is wrong. Eat what you like. If others in your family and friend circle need turkey, make it for the, and something else for yourself. It's all good.

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