If you are looking for a turkey recipe that isn’t in the style of a traditional Thanksgiving turkey, I have got just the thing for you! After raising 3 turkeys last year, I challenged myself to come up with something new and usable, like lunch meat.
I found numerous recipes online, but they all seemed so complicated. They had varying degrees of oven temperatures, dry rubs, basting liquids and so on, taking more attention than I was willing to give. In an effort to reduce the turkey breast’s neediness while still keeping it flavorful and juicy, I turned to brine, olive oil, and a single temperature cooking process.
IT STARTS WITH THE BRINE
While brining is nothing new, it’s rarely used in the average kitchen due to our rushed lives and lack of excess time. But, let me tell you this – it is worth it! Your socks will be blown off with the incredible flavor and juiciness of the finished product.
- 2 quarts cool water
- 1/4 cup salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning h
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flake
Mix all ingredients in a container large enough to hold the brine and the meat you wish to process. I typically use a 2-gallon bucket with a lid or a large bowl covered with plastic wrap or foil. The meat needs to be totally submerged in the brine to soak up all the goodness. Refrigerate and allow your meat to brine for 24-48 hours minimum. I let mine soak for 4 days!
THEN THE WET RUB
Once your brining time has elapsed you will be ready to prepare the meat for oven roasting. Taking a cue from store-bought deli meat, I created this Sun-Dried Tomato Wet Rub to impart even more flavor into my turkey breast. Before whipping up the rub set your oven to 275 degrees to preheat.
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/4 cup or a handful of fresh basil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 drops liquid smoke
- 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
Combine all of the above ingredients in a blender or use an immersion blender to reduce everything to a slightly chunky, almost pesto consistency. Remove the meat from the brine and rub this mixture all over your turkey breast, into every nook and cranny! Wrap your newly seasoned breast tightly with foil and place in a bread loaf pan or similar.
ROASTING LOW & SLOW
The key to a really juicy turkey is not only in the brine but also in the manner in which you cook it. Low and slow is the key to retaining the flavors and moisture. Roast your turkey for 2 hours or until the internal temperature of your breast reaches 165 degrees.
Once complete, wrap the turkey breast (which probably has holes from the thermometer) in another layer of foil. Allow it to rest 15-20 minutes at room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.
A SLICE OF HEAVEN
If you have a rotary slicer then you are one step ahead of me! If not, then like me, use a sharp knife to slice your turkey against the grain, to the desired thickness. You’ll end up with plenty of flavorful lunch meat with NO fillers and NO ingredients you can’t pronounce. The final product does freeze well. However, this stuff is so good…it probably won’t last long.