Pulled Turkey With Jus
This stripped-down, built-for-flavor recipe, adapted from “Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling” by Meathead Goldwyn, is for people who don’t brine, forgot to brine or didn’t leave enough time to salt a bird and leave it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. It keeps the white meat moist and boosts its flavor with a rich, simple jus of stock fortified with soy sauce and deglazed pan drippings. The idea comes from Southern barbecue pit masters who shred or chop the meat from a pork shoulder and wet it with vinegar, black pepper and maybe a little tomato. The turkey is roasted slowly to keep the meat fibers from seizing up, and the breast meat is shredded or sliced so thin it falls apart. The meat is then dunked in the jus and served in a dish deep enough to hold both meat and liquid. The thigh meat and legs can be served alongside on a separate platter. The next day, the jus-soaked meat and a little cup of extra jus make for a perfect turkey French dip.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 1turkey, preferably about 12 pounds, although the recipe produces enough jus for larger birds
- 2tablespoons salt
- 1teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1celery stalk
- 1medium carrot
- 1medium onion
- 3or 4 branches fresh herbs, including sage and thyme
- 1tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
- Neck, giblets and wing tips from one turkey (don’t use the liver)
- 2carrots, cut into 2 or 3 pieces
- 3celery stalks, cut into thirds
- 1large onion, peeled and cut into quarters
- 1teaspoon salt
- Ground pepper
- 1 ½cups good white wine
- 4cups chicken broth (water can be substituted, but broth yields richer results)
- 1clove garlic, peeled
- A few sage leaves and 1 or 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1teaspoon soy sauce
Step 1Prepare the turkey: Heat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare the turkey for roasting by pulling out the gizzards, cutting off the wing tips with a sharp knife or a scissors and removing the neck. Reserve them for the jus.
Step 2Place the turkey on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle half the salt and pepper inside the cavity, and the rest over the bird. Chop the celery and carrots into large pieces, and peel and halve the onion. Push them inside the cavity, along with the herbs. Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pan and roast, about 11 minutes per pound. (Remove it when a thermometer in the thickest part of the breast near the bone reaches 162 degrees. The carry-over heat will raise the final temperature to at least 165 degrees.)
Step 3Make the jus: While the turkey roasts, turn a burner to medium high and heat the oil in a large pot until it shimmers. Add the neck and other turkey parts, and the carrots, celery and onion. Sprinkle with the salt and a few grinds of pepper. Allow the parts to brown, stirring now and again to prevent scorching, about 10 minutes.
Step 4Add 1 cup of the wine and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the broth or water, garlic, herbs and soy sauce. Stir and bring to a boil, then immediately turn down the heat to a simmer. Partly cover and let it simmer gently for at least an hour and no more than two. Strain the stock and set aside. You should have about 3 cups.
Step 5When the turkey is done, remove it to a platter or cutting board, and set the pan across 2 burners. Over medium-high heat, get the juices bubbling hot and then add the remaining 1/2 cup of wine, scraping up the bits stuck to the pan. Let it cook for another couple of minutes until some of the wine has evaporated. Add the stock and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 or 6 minutes, until it has reduced slightly. Taste and adjust for seasoning. (It will probably need more black pepper.) Strain to remove any remaining solids, put it back into a pot and keep hot.
Step 6Remove the breasts and shred the meat. (Slicing it 1/8 inch thick helps speed the process on large birds.) Put the meat in a serving dish and pour 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the jus over it. The legs and thigh meat can be served alongside the shredded breast meat.