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VIDEO: Smoked Sous vide Thanksgiving Turkey Roulade and Breasts

Happy Thanksgiving!  For our celebration this year, we combined a few techniques to make the best turkey we’ve ever had! We love trying new techniques and found the turkey roulade to be one that we’re going to keep going back to.

First the turkey roulade

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It’s just about food, family, and friends.  What could be better?  I love the turkey and all the side dishes.  Pie is my favorite dessert…what’s not to love?

When I grew up, the turkey legs were always the parts that got leftover.  And I get why.  They’re sinewy and have all those little tendons and bones.  I love them for their flavor, fat, and always moist meat. But there has to be a way to make them easier to eat. Enter the roulade.

Roulade? What’s a roulade? Don’t feel bad, I didn’t know what it was either.  It is simply food served in a roll, typically meat.  In this case, we’re taking those legs, deboning them completely, sandwiching them together and making our own roll.  That makes it way easier to slice and serve…and a whole lot more pretty.

Sous vide, then smoke that bird

I’ve always been a fan of a hot smoked turkey (smoked at around 350-400F/175-205C) with its crispy mahogany skin and delicious flavor.  But since we were juggling 3 turkeys this year, we wanted to streamline things with sous vide and ensure that it was cooked through perfectly.  We butchered our turkey, separating the breasts and making our roulade with the legs, then we cooked it through completely with sous vide and then finished on the smoker.  The  smoker gave it that “last kiss” to infuse a nice flavor and crisp up the skin.

The end result was fantastic.  The roulade was the first thing to get eaten up and our guests loved it!

Check out our video of the whole process:


Smoked Sous vide Thanksgiving Turkey Roulade and Breasts

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Recipe by: Patrick Jaszewski


  • Whole Turkey (10-18 lbs / 4.5-8.5 kg) fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • RM Transglutaminase (like Moo Glue)
  • Olive oil
    Additional equipment:
  • Sous vide circulator (like Anova or Joule)
  • Container for sous vide (like a cooler
  • Knives
  • Butcher twine
  • Plastic wrap at least 18" wide
  • Freezer bags


    Butcher the turkey (watch video for instructions)
  1. Remove the legs from turkey cutting skin as close to the leg as possible to leave more skin attached to the breast
  2. Remove the lower part of the wing and winglet.
  3. Remove breasts by slicing on either side of the keel-bone. Follow the bone down carefully cutting as you go. Remove the wishbone. Cut around shoulder joint. Upper part of the wing and breast should now be free.
  4. Remove bones from legs by cutting muscle as close to the bone as possible.
  5. Remove tendons (or as I call them, "pin bones") from the legs with a needle nose pliers and knife
  6. Save bones, wings, and carcass for another use (like stock or gravy).
    Build the roulade
  1. Remove thyme from about 8 stems
  2. Weigh de-boned legs in grams
  3. Measure out 0.5-0.7% of the weight in salt
  4. Lay out one leg/thigh section flat, skin-side down making note of which side was thigh and which side was leg
  5. Sprinkle salt and thyme on one of the leg/thigh sections
  6. Sprinkle RM Transglutaminase over same section. Use enough to lightly coat the meat
  7. Lay other leg/thigh section on top of the first skin-side up in the opposite leg/thigh orientation (see video)
  8. Roll up roulade in plastic wrap keeping as much skin exposed on the outside of the roulade
  9. Wrap tightly poking the plastic several times and pressing out any air-bubbles.
  10. Pull and twist ends in opposite direction to tighten
  11. Tie each end tightly with butcher twine, wrapping around to cinch down.
  12. Place roulade in vacuum or zipper bag
  13. Optional: add spoons or butter knives to weigh bag down and prevent any floating
  14. Seal, removing as much air as possible
    Bag the breasts
  1. Weigh the breasts in grams
  2. Weigh out 1.1% of breast weight in salt and 0.4% of breast weight in sugar. Combine
  3. Place breasts in zipper bags
  4. Sprinkle bagged breasts with salt/sugar mixture, dividing evenly
  5. Add about 5 whole sprigs of thyme and 5 sage leaves (optional) to each bagged breast
  6. Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the bag(s)
  7. Optional: add spoons or butter knives to weigh bag down and prevent any floating
  8. Seal, removing as much air as possible
  9. Refrigerate bagged breasts
    Cook sous vide
  1. Set circulator to 151F/66C
  2. Add bagged roulade
  3. Cook 12 hours
  4. Reduce temperature to 131F/55C
  5. Add breasts
  6. Cook additional 8-14 hours depending on your serving timing
    Finish the meat
  1. While we finish on the smoker with pellets, you can use the oven or a stove-top skillet just as well
  2. Remember that meat is fully cooked at this point, we're just crisping up the skin, adding a little smoke, and making it look pretty
  3. Preheat smoker/grill very hot, between 450F/230C and 600F/315C (Hotter is better). Add chips/pellets and allow to smoke for about 10-15 minutes
  4. Remove meat from sous vide bags, pat dry with paper towels. Reserve drippings for gravy
  5. Add meat to the smoker
  6. Smoke until meat reaches desired finishing color and skin is crispy (about 15-60 minutes depending on temperature)
  7. Remove, slice, and enjoy.

Patrick Jaszewski @pjaszewski

Culinary Tyrannosaurus, passport stamp collector, home cook, pilot, strength enthusiast, bilingual, coffee roaster, recovering homebrewer. Committed to DIY ethic. Minnesota native transplanted in Pennsylvania. Thunderbird MBA Alumni and Golden Gopher. Undyingly positive and open minded. Drives Jill crazy by questioning everything.

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