Smoked Turkey Breast for Sandwich Meat with QView!!!!

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by tallbm, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Ok quick description, qview and then write up.

    I decided I wanted to try cured Smoked Turkey Breast and slice it for sandwhich meat  and it came out great!  This was my first time doing so and I experimented with a few things that worked out well and I will go into that in more detail but first QVIEW!!!!

    The quick facts:
    • Turkey Weight: approx. 5 pounds (from a 7 pound turkey breast I had to debone)
    • Smoker Temp:  275F
    • Total Cook Time: 4hrs 1min to an IT of 165F in the breast across 3 probes
    • Smoke Applied for:  3hrs 50min, I applied double smoke by lighting 2 rows of my AMNPS and it ran out at that point, I did not cut short on purpose
    • Wood Used for Smoke: 50% pure Hickory and 50%/Pit Boss Competition Blend pellets (which is approximately 50-60% Maple, 20-25% Cherry, 20-25% Hickory)
    • Seasoning/Brine/Marinade:
      • Brined  for 25 hours with 1 tsp Cure #1, a heaping 1/3 cup of salt, close to 1/4 cup of Brown Sugar, Jalapeno mush left over from my strained injectible marinade for my whole turkey smoke the day before, and approximately 2 liters (64 oz) of water, all blended together in the blender and put into a bucket with the breast and meat pieces
      • Seasoned with Black Pepper, Garlic (granulated), and Dehydrated Onion flakes after being pulled from the brine and being patted dry with paper towels
    The Goal:

    My goal was to try cured Turkey Breast and prepare/smoke it in a fashion that would hold together so it could be sliced for sandwich meat.  I also wanted to try out my new Chef's Choice 615 meat slicer and non-serrated blade.  I figured I would learn a few things in this process and see what did and didn't work :)

    The Prep:
    • I defrosted the Turkey breast (bone in, which included the upper back) over about 6 days but it was probably done within 4 days
    • I removed the skin and deboned the breast meat along with any big chunks that came off the upper back of the bird (the bone in breast comes with the upper back attached to the breast)
    • I put the breast, additional chunks of meat and all brine into a bucket, sealed, and put in the fridge
    • Brined for 25 hours, see the "quick facts" above for the brine solution mixture.  Yes the brine included cure to get that great cured smoked turkey flavor
    • Seasoned all meat all over with Black Pepper, granulated Garlic, and dehydrated Onion flakes
    • Put any separate meat chunks in between the two big breast cuts and tied together as tightly as I could to try and get a solid chunk of meat so it would all cook together and stick 
    • Put tied breast on a rib/roast rack and put rack in a foil pan

    The Cook/Smoke:
    • The cook was pretty straight forward.  I was able to set and maintain a smoker temp of 275F and went until all 3 of my meat probes read 165F IT of the breast.
    • I did at 275F rather than a higher temp because I had no skin to deal with on the turkey and the extra time would allow for extra smoke to be applied
    • I also did 275F as I have found with chicken breast that the longer it sits in the smoker the dryer it will get so I wanted this to remain in the smoker the least amount of sensible time possible while still getting the desired smoke
    • I applied pure Hickory pellets and Pit Boss Competition Blend in a 50/50 combination.  I learned from my whole turkey smoke the day before that the turkey could handle more hardcore smoke so I went with 50% pure Hickory this time around
    • I applied double smoke by lighting 2 rows of my AMNPS knowing that the cook would be fairly quick
    The Post Cook Prep/Slicing:
    • I pulled the meat from the smoker and let rest for about 20 minuted before messing with it
    • I cut the cotton string from the meat after debating on letting it stay on.
      • The meat held together pretty well but I noticed that as it rested more longer it seemed to show signs of wanting to separate in areas where separate pieces of meat were mashed together
    • I let set another 20 minutes and then decided to vac seal the breast so that it would be forced to hold together and would be unable to come apart
    • I let it rest another 20 minutes after vac sealed and put it in the fridge over night
    • Let it set in the fridge over night
    • Put in the freezer for 2 hours before slicing, this was to help it hold together for the slicing
    • After the 2 hours of freezing I cut off the back end of the meat to make it flat (had already cut off the other end the day before for sampling hahaha)
    • Took the cut off end and sliced it on #2 thin slicing setting of the meat slicer, it held together fairly well
    • I continued to slice the rest of the turkey breast and I was glad to see it holding together fairly well and was completely acceptable
    • I vac sealed and put in freezer
    The Results:
    • The Turkey Breast came out superb in flavor and was what I was expecting!!!!!
    • I give the texture of the Turkey and the  slices a B+ and I'm not sure I could really improve upon having it all hold together even more.  It meets expectations.
    • The Turkey was juicy, flavorful, and perfect texture for sandwich meat 
    • The Brine with the cure was very good though I would not brine for any longer or I would reduce the salt content a little bit.  The small ends of the breast were a tad salty but the normal/thick areas were fine.  We can always do with a little less salt though so it wouldn't hurt to cut back a little.
    • The seasoning gave amazing flavor which is always the case when you have Salt (from the brine), Black Pepper, Garlic, and Onion.  The Trueky flavor is sooooo good!
    • The color was beautiful!  That redish brown color is a visual meal in itself
    Lessons Learned:
    • For the most part there is not much I would change but I guess I would start with cutting down the Brine salt a little
    • I would definitely vac seal again while putting in the fridge, as I think this was a very key for it holding together so well and I will actually be vac sealing as soon as it is cool enough to vac seal rather than waiting as long as I did
    • Freezing 2 hours for slicing was also a good idea that paid off big.  I know to do this with other sliced meat type items but I have never sliced anything that consisted of smashed together whole pieces of meat that could come apart so I had high hopes and it paid off. 
    • The cure gave that great cured Turkey flavor I was hoping for but I DON'T think it is mandatory and I would like to try my next attempt without cure to compare the two results
    • The Jalapeno mush left over from my injectable marinade strain turned out to be a great surprise with the flavor.  The Jalapeno imparted flavor was a nice unexpected bonus so I am glad I did it.  I wont' make it a normal brine ingredient but it is nice to know that throwing 5 large Jalapenos in a blender can import a bunch of great flavor and just a small touch of heat that seems more like strong black pepper heat than chile pepper heat.  What a pleasant surprise.
    • Going with the pure Hickory as half my overall pellet volume blended with the PBCB pellets as the other half was a great choice as well.  It gave me the hardier smoke flavor I was missing from my Whole Turkey smoke the day before.  I learned, applied, and scored a win here!  
    • The Chef's Choice 615 is like 10 times the improvement over the old Cabela's slicer I was bother from my father hahaha.  I also bought and used the non-serrated slicing blade upon the comments of other 615 owners and I had no issues.  It was also a breeze to clean rather an a chore.  I'm glad I went for it.
    I think that is it for my smoke.  Feel free to ask any questions and give any feedback.  I hope this helps anyone who would like to do the same thing.  Thanks! :)
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  2. griz400

    griz400 Master of the Pit

    Damn nice, but you said for a sammie ... lets see the sammie ...btw [​IMG]but, we want the sammie
  3. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Hahahhaa crap!  [​IMG]

    It didn't even dawn on me to make a sandwich today with it.  The meat is all frozen right now but I pulled a pack out to defrost.

    I think this weekend I will make a Turkey Muffaletta sandwich.  I just need to pick up Provolone, Muffaletta pepper and olive mix, and maybe some different bread.  

    I promise this sandwich will not disappoint!!! :)
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    The turkey looks fantastic!

    Great write up too!

    Point for making the carousel!

  5. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Thanks!  Wow the carousel two days in a row.  I'm on a roll :) 
  6. chopsaw

    chopsaw Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I like to do meats to slice for sandwiches . I do alot of top round beef and chicken . 

    When I do chicken I use unflavored powdered  gelatine  between the meat pieces , the into roll netting . 

    Works well . Looks good . I'm gonna get me some Turkey . 
  7. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Thanks for the input.  I hadn't thought about gelatin or roll netting.  I'll keep in mind in the future when I try this again :)
  8. chopsaw

    chopsaw Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I got the idea from Poli's site . Look under lunch meats . 
  9. uncle eddie

    uncle eddie Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I have never thought about trying to make my own smoked lunch meat like this before.  Points for a great idea!

  10. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Thanks!  Yeah it is awesome and much better than store bought.  You should have seen my Pastrami Loaf post.  Talk about lunch meat heaven there! :)
  11. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Ok ask and yee shall receive!

    I bought some bread, a couple of different muffaletta olive/pepper jars.  One was marked down half off so I figured why not try it out to see if it was as good as my normal one... it was better!!!

    NEW Lesson Learned:

    I did run into an issue with the meat though.  It wanted to tear apart (and did) when I tried to grab individual slices :(

    My suggestion would be to make sure that when you vac seal/store it to stack it in amounts that you would put directly on your sandwich.  What I mean is that if you would put 5 slices on a sandwich then put five slices together into the vac seal bag, then another 5 slices separate into the vac seal bag, and repeat until you have no more room.  Then seal the bag.

    This way when  you make a sandwich you can just grab the whole stack in on shot and it will not tear up or even come close to tearing up as you pull it out of the bag.

    It is really not much of an issue but kind of fights the idea of having lunch meat by the slice without it falling apart.

    Here is a big Turkey Muffaletta sandwich and a little one.  Both have the sliced turkey, provolone, a different brand muffaletta "spread" on each sandwich, and a touch of mustard.  The little sandwich had the new marked down spread I decided to try and It was better due to the use of more kalamata and dark olives as well as more hot peppers!

    See left pic of example (top sandwich) where meat held together fine as one big section from the vac bag. See right pic for example of slices tearing on me.

    Left pic shows new better muffaletta spread on left sammy, and old spread on right sammy.  Right pic is side shot of big sammy.

    Check out that provolone gooyness mmmm

    Sandwiches being dug into.  Left pic camera flash on, right pick flash off 

    If you've never had a Muffaletta you are missing out.  This is the Turkey version.  The Ham and Salami version is even more flavorful!

    I hope you enjoyed :)
    chilerelleno, griz400 and ab canuck like this.
  12. griz400

    griz400 Master of the Pit

    normally just give 1 point ... but, that sammie sorta kicks asssssssss ... lol [​IMG][​IMG]     ... I got some some stuff grillin as we speak ... show you in a little while 
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
  13. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Hahahahah thanks!

    Yeah I figured with such good turkey sandwich meat I may as go all out and make a gourmet sandwich for the first go round.  

    Though it doesn't look like a billboard picture, I'm glad you could tell it was not an everyday kind of sandwich and I hope it catches some eyes.

    I'm not some super olive loving guy but a muffaletta or olive bruschetta spread is a whole other animal completely.  Talk about an amazing sandwich that people may not even know exists.  And to be honest I've never had a 100% proper muffaletta from New Orleans.  I've only had it at a few local chain deli restaurants in my area and it is amazing.  I can only imagine how much better a 100% authentic one tastes :)
  14. chilerelleno

    chilerelleno Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    LOL... Love it.

    Points for both initial post and sammich post :biggrin:
  15. ab canuck

    ab canuck Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

      Wow that looks great!!!!  The Breast and the sammie.... Point for sure...
  16. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Thanks!  Another one may be in the works shortly :)
    Thanks!  I have a feeling the meat is not going to last long hahahaha

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