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The Hirshon Tennessee Smoked Pulled Turkey Sandwiches with Crispy Skin

The Hirshon Tennessee Smoked Pulled Turkey Sandwiches with Crispy Skin

  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • 5 pound bone-in turkey breast
  • ***
  • Turkey brine:
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 5 smashed garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large sprig fresh thyme
  • ***
  • 2 cups wood chips – TFD greatly prefers oak for this recipe, but use your favorite
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-ground white pepper
  • 1 (13 by 9-inch) disposable aluminum roasting pan
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • ***
  • White BBQ Sauce:
  • 2 cups mayonnaise – only Duke’s brand is acceptable to TFD for this recipe, but Best Foods/Hellman’s will work if that is all you have
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup prepared horseradish
  • 2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp. Creole (preferred) or spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds, ground
  • ***
  • 8 hamburger buns
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce


  1. Carve the individual halves of the turkey breast from the bone so you are left with two boneless halves. Keep the bone for stock.
  2. Remove the skin from the turkey breast halves. Dry pieces THOROUGHLY. Cut it into manageable-sized pieces, and lay them on a cooking tray. Add a goodly amount of kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper to each slice. Leave in the fridge overnight until they are nicely dried out.
  3. For the brine: Pour the water into a sauce pan, along with the salt, sugar, garlic, pepper and bay leaf. Bring everything to a boil, then remove from the heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Let the brine cool to room temperature. Once it’s cool, combine it with the buttermilk, then pour the mixture over the turkey breast in a brining bag or small bucket. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  4. For the Crispy Skin: Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Spread skin evenly over a piece of parchment paper set in a rimmed baking sheet. Season generously with salt and pepper. Place a second sheet of parchment on top and carefully squeeze out any air bubbles using the side of your hand. Place a second rimmed baking sheet on top and transfer to oven.
  5. Roast until skin is deep brown and crisp (it will crisp further on cooling), 30 to 45 minutes. Allow to cool and set aside at room temperature. Turkey skin can be roasted in advance, cooled completely, then stored, loosely covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days. To re-crisp, place in a hot oven for a few minutes just before serving.
  6. Just before grilling, soak wood chips in water for 15 minutes, then drain. Using large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap soaked chips in 8 by 4½-inch foil packet. (Make sure chips do not poke holes in sides or bottom of packet.) Cut 2 evenly spaced 2-inch slits in top of packet.
  7. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter three-quarters filled with charcoal briquettes (4½ quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Place wood chip packet on coals. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking, about 5 minutes.
  8. FOR A GAS GRILL: Remove cooking grate and place wood chip packet directly on primary burner. Set grate in place, turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on medium-high and turn off other burner(s). (Adjust primary burner as needed to maintain grill temperature between 300 and 350 degrees.)
  9. Clean and oil cooking grate. Unwrap turkey and sprinkle with pepper and cayenne. Place turkey on cooler side of grill, with thicker parts of breasts closest to fire. Cover grill (positioning lid vent directly over turkey if using charcoal) and cook until breasts register 120 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes.
  10. Transfer turkey to disposable pan and top with butter. Cover pan tightly with foil and return to cooler side of grill. Cover grill and continue to cook until breasts register 160 degrees, 25 to 35 minutes longer. Remove pan from grill and let turkey rest in covered pan for 20 minutes.
  11. Transfer turkey to cutting board. Using two forks or your hands, shred turkey into bite-size pieces. Transfer to large bowl. Add ½ cup whisked juices from pan to shredded turkey and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Then, chop up the crispy skin into relatively small pieces.
  13. Serve turkey on buns with white barbecue sauce and lettuce. Add the chopped skin on TOP of the sauce and lettuce so it doesn’t get soggy. Eat and enjoy.
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours