Ready to swap that plain old dry turkey out with something new and bold? This festive Mexican inspired turkey recipe is a great way to spice up a holiday bird. Poaching keeps the meat super moist and the spicy adobo sauce drives the turkey on a trip south of the border and then directly into your tastebuds!
Make sure to keep scrolling past the recipe card for a deep dive into cooking this poached Mexican turkey with adobo sauce. There’s more photos, a lesson on how to truss a turkey, why we poach our turkey, and what to do with the leftovers. Enjoy!
Table of Contents: Mexican Turkey w/ Adobo Sauce
Poached Mexican Turkey w/ Adobo Sauce
Poaching a Turkey, Really?!
I was skeptical at first, but I promise you, poaching your Mexican turkey is an easy way to get a super juicy bird. To be honest, I can’t believe more people don’t poach turkeys. I’ve done all sorts of things to my birds in search of the best way to keep it moist. I’ve brined, smoked, roasted, and in my darkest days of defeat I’ve been reduced to buying precooked turkey from the store.
One can certainly achieve a delicious and moist bird without poaching it, but I found this was BY FAR the easiest way. I literally pulled the breasts off the carcass with my hands!
So what exactly does poaching a Mexican turkey entail? Poaching is a gentle cooking method that involves simmering food in liquid, such as water or broth. For this Mexican turkey recipe, we use both, and some beer. Simply bring all the ingredients to a boil, drop your turkey in, simmer for 45 minutes, and let it cool in the liquid for a couple hours. Then transfer the entire pot to fridge, let it sleep overnight, and the next day all it needs is a short roast in the oven.
Poached Mexican Turkey w/ Adobo Sauce Ingredients
Here is what you’ll need for this poached Mexican turkey with adobo sauce recipe. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding all these items at your local supermarket. If you have trouble finding duck fat, I’ve attached link.
- Turkey: A smaller bird will certainly be easier to handle here, as you’ll be dropping it into a pot of liquid whole. Fridge space is a consideration too.
- Poaching Liquid: You can have some fun here. I like to use turkey or chicken stock, a dark Mexican beer and some classic veggies and herbs. Carrots, garlic, onions, cilantro, oregano, and an orange. Feel free to add or subtract whatever you like.
- Duck Fat/Butter: You’re going to rub this in between the flesh and the skin of the bird to help maintain optimal juicienss. I like duck fat because its got a great flavor and its a healthier fat than butter. This is the brand I use. Epic Duck Fat
- Adobo Sauce: For this Mexican turkey recipe we like to use dried Puya peppers instead of Guajillo peppers for the adobo sauce. They’re very similar but the Puya is spicer and we like bold flavors.
Poached Mexican Turkey w/ Adobo Sauce Equipment
You’ll need these items to make this Mexican turkey recipe. Some people might not have a pot big enough for most turkey’s. A 5 gallon stock pot should be able to hold most bids.
- Large Pot: Depending on how big a bird you buy will determine how big a pot you’ll need. I suggest getting a 10-12lb bird. That size will fit nicely in a large stock pot.
- Twine: It’s best to tress the turkey, as you’ll be handling the bird a lot. Lower it into the pot, extracting it from the pot, and putting it in and out of the oven. A simple knot around the legs helps the bird keep shape.
- Roasting Pan: You’re gonna need something to put that bird on before you slide it into the oven. A simple sheet pan will be problematic, and the cheap aluminum foil roasting pans aren’t sturdy enough to hold a whole turkey. Go get yourself a proper roasting pan.
How to Make Spicy Adobo Sauce
You can’t have turkey without gravy! And this Adobo sauce will be your “gravy”. We use dried Mexican peppers to create a sauce reminiscent of a Mexican mole. Follow these step by step instructions to create the mole/gravy/sauce for your Mexican turkey.
Step 1: Rehydrate Peppers
Place the puya chilies in a bowl and cover them with almost boiling hot water. Allowing them to soak for around 10-15 minutes. If you need to, use another small bowl as a weight on top of the peppers to ensure they are fully submerged. This will soften them back up.
Gather the rest of your ingredients while you wait for the peppers to rehydrate. Once they are more malleable clean them by removing the stem, seeds, and membranes.
Step 3: Blend Everything
Now toss your rehydrated peppers into a blender. Add the chipotle peppers from the can, the vinegar, orange juice, orange zest, garlic, and all the spices. Blend until smooth.
We like our adobo sauce on the thicker side with a little pulp from the peppers, so it’s ready to go right out of the blender. If you prefer a smoother thinner sauce, add some of the chili water from rehaydrairng the peppers, blend longer, and strain everything through a cheesecloth.
Once you’ve achieved your desired consistency, transfer the sauce to an air tight container or jar and set aside. Refrigerate if you aren’t serving your Mexican turkey till the following day.
How to Make a Mexican Turkey with Adobo Sauce
Follow these steps to make this poached turkey with adobo sauce recipe. It will take some time, but with some planning and a little love you’ll be fine and it will turn out great!
Step 1: Create your Poaching Liquid
Choose a large pot or Dutch oven that is big enough to hold the Mexican turkey and enough liquid to cover it. Add the beer, chicken stock, veggies, and enough water to fill it half way up. Bring to a boil.
Step 2: Prep your Mexican Turkey
Clean the turkey by rinsing it with cold water in the sink. Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the breast and upper thighs. Try not to tear the skin.
Once the skin is loose, rub the duck fat or butter in between the skin and flesh and all over the outside. Stuff the cilantro, oregano, and quartered onion and orange inside the turkey. Truss the turkey.
Step 3: Poach your Turkey
Once your liquid starts to boil add the turkey to pot and adjust the heat so it simmers. Make sure the turkey is fully submerged and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes,
Remove the pot from heat and leave the bird in the poaching liquid while everything cools to room temp. Around 3-4 hours. Refrigerate overnight.
Step 4: Roast your Mexican Turkey
The following day, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Transfer the turkey to a roasting pan, and roast it in the oven for 35 minutes. Turn off oven and leave the turkey inside for at least 15 minutes.
Step 5: Carve, Sauce, and Serve your Turkey
Once your turkey has rested long enough, remove it from the oven and carve it. Serve a couple slices and top with the adobo sauce. Enjoy!
If you don’t know how to carve a turkey, here’s a great step by step video on How to Carve a turkey.
How to Truss Your Mexican Turkey
Trussing a turkey is a technique that helps to keep the legs and wings of the turkey close to its body before cooking. This helps to keep the turkey moist and evenly cooked, as well as creating a more attractive presentation. Truss me, it’s worth doing… (sorry)
Start by laying it breast side up on a cutting board or other flat surface. Take your kitchen twine and tie the legs of the turkey together at the ankle joint, pull the twine tightly to secure the legs in place.
Next, tuck the wings of the turkey under the body, using a toothpick or small skewer to hold them in place. Take the ends of the twine and tie them around the body of the turkey, pulling the twine tight to hold the wings and legs in place.
See! Easy peasy, nothing that should tie you up too long. (okay I’m done)
Mexican Turkey Leftovers
Let’s be honest, leftovers are the best part of making a whole turkey. There aren’t many things better than a thick piece of turkey, lettuce, and tomato between two slices of mayo slathered white bread. Here’s some more fun ideas for turkey leftovers.
So your turkey will be just fine in the fridge for a bout week. Just make sure you keep it in an airtight container. Save the neck, bone, and carcass for a great turkey stock. You can freeze that stuff for a couple months.
This recipe calls for poaching the turkey. SAVE that poaching liquid! It’s a beautiful broth that makes an awesome base for all sorts of things like sauces, soups, and my favorite Turkey Congee. Check out the recipe! Turkey Congee Recipe.
If you don’t want to simply enjoy the turkey meat as is, you’ve got endless opportunities for fun recipes with the leftovers. Cooking that big bird was the hard part, now use your imagination and that pile of meat for some tasty meals. Cheers!
Mexican Turkey w/ Adobo Sauce FAQ’s
Poaching a turkey isn’t fast, once the turkey is boiled it will need to sit in the poaching liquid overnight before finishing it in the oven. 12-24 hours
Of course, apply this method to any other turkey recipe.
If you’re looking for some more fun holiday recipes we got you covered! Check em out and let us know what you think. Cheers!
Mexican Turkey Mexican Turkey Mexican Turkey Mexican Turkey Mexican Turkey Mexican Turkey Mexican Turkey Mexican Turkey Mexican Turkey Mexican Turkey Mexican Turkey Mexican Turkey Mexican Turkey Mexican Turkey Mexican Turkey Mexican Turkey