The key to a good shredded turkey sandwich is the moisture content in the meat. Moisture ensures the flavors in the seasonings penetrate the turkey and are distributed evenly. One way to get a whole turkey juicy enough for a delicious shredded turkey sandwich is to braise it in a slow cooker. With the right liquids and seasonings, and a little time, you'll have one tasty turkey perfect for shredding.
1 Defrost the whole turkey in the refrigerator before beginning the cooking process. This should take about 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey.
2 Lay the turkey on a clean cutting board, douse it with olive oil and season it with salt, pepper and any other spices you enjoy with turkey.
3 Cut the turkey into separate pieces. Divide it by wings, breast, back and legs.
4 Place the turkey pieces in a slow cooker and turn it on to low.
5 Add whatever diced, raw vegetables you enjoy to the slow cooker; onion, garlic, carrots and parsnips are good options for the long cooking process.
6 Add a liquid to the slow cooker that complements turkey. Beer, broth, vegetable juice or some combination of the three are common. For Southern-style turkey, add homemade or store-bought barbecue sauce to the slow cooker. Pour about 1 to 2 inches of liquid into the bottom of the slow cooker.
7 Stir the mixture in the slow cooker and douse the turkey pieces with it.
8 Cook the turkey on low until the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Test it by inserting a meat thermometer into the middle of a breast. Cooking times will vary based on the slow cooker and the size of the turkey, but a general rule is 7 to 9 hours.
Items you will need
- Cutting board
- 9.5-lb. turkey (maximum)
- 7-quart slow cooker (maximum)
- Meat thermometer
- If you don't have a slow cooker, add a half-inch of the liquid and the vegetables to the bottom of a roasting pan, place the turkey pieces in the pan and braise at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165 degrees.
- United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service: Turkey Basics: Safe Thawing
- Taste of Home: Shredded Turkey Sandwiches Recipe
- Crockpot 365: Crockpot Whole Turkey Recipe
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
- New York Times: A Great Turkey, Piece by Piece
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images