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Clay Henry Turkey Breast

Happy Saturday everyone!    I have been CRAVING turkey.  
Wanted to share my fave turkey dish ever on the Big Green Egg. 

I call it Clay Henry turkey breast, in honor of the famous goat, Clay Henry, in Terlingua, Texas. 

Turkey breast stuffed with goat cheese, cranberries, pine nuts, and bacon. 

The goat cheese and cranberry taste contrast deliciously with the  smoke flavor.   Turkey breast simply doesn't get better than this.

When I saw the recipe I knew this would be delicious so made enough for the freezer. Recently enjoyed the final package of shrink wrapped 1/2" slices. I swear it tasted 90% as good.  

Some people typically add spinach to stuffed entrees like this.  Thought about it but did not.  I wanted every ingredient in the stuffing to hold up well in the fridge and freezer.  

Clay Henry Turkey Breast

Turkey breast stuffed with Goat Cheese, Cranberries and Bacon

Modified for:   Quantity,  Big Green Egg, and the famous goat Clay Henry.

Tea = teaspoon.  TABLE = tablespoon.  So I don't ever mix them up when in a hurry again. 
Weighed ingredients saves on dirty dishes, so I included those.
(In parenthesis words)  = mods  for 3 turkey breasts

=== Turkey filling: Thyme, Rosemary, Pine Nuts, Cranberries, Bacon, Goat Cheese

2 teas (10ml) fresh thyme, minced  (2 TABLES Thyme)
2 teas (10ml) fresh rosemary, minced  (2 TABLES Rosemary)
2/3 cup (100g) toasted filberts, coarsely ground in food processor (300g toasted pine nuts.  I believe I sub'd grinded pecans another time for more flavor.)
2/3 cup (100g) dried sweet cranberries (12 oz / 300g Cranberries)
1 cup (151g) cooked bacon, crumbled   (16 oz / 453g Bacon)
6 ounces (340g) goat cheese, softened (18 oz / 1020g goat cheese)

=== Under the turkey skin: Sage, Lemon Zest, Butter

1/4 cup (60g) butter, softened (¾ cup, 180g softened butter)
1 TABLE  (15ml) fresh sage, minced (3 TABLES fresh Sage)
1 TABLE (15ml) lemon zest (3 TABLES Lemon Zest)
Turkey breasts:    4 pound (1.81kg) boneless turkey breast, skin on
Seasoning:            Salt and pepper to taste (½ tea kosher salt per lb of meat)

Baste 15 min before done with:
Used basting liquid (jalapeno jelly?) + mustard

=== The Plan

Night before - Turkey Filling mixture:  In a medium size bowl,  mix together the turkey filling until well combined.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Night before - Under the Skin mixture:   Mix together the butter, sage and lemon zest.

Consider dry brining the turkey breast now.  3 grams kosher salt per pound of turkey.

The most difficult step of this for me is butterflying.  At 5:52 Martha Stewart's video show how to do that. Interesting how Martha noticed the natural separation at the 2 different muscles.  Need to try that next time. 

I frequently run into trouble making the second butterflying cut.  I have to focus on being…VERY CAREFUL NOT TO CUT THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE while butterflying. 

Would it be better to do this step the night before and dry brine it already butterflied? 

Carefully lift the skin from the breasts and spread a thin layer of the Under the Skin mixture seasoned butter evenly underneath the skin.

Lay the breast skin side down and season with salt and pepper.

Edit:  in the pictures, I did a bacon wrap because I had mangled the skin.   Don't recall what I did with the butter sage mixture.

Spread an even layer of the Turkey Filling mixture goat cheese mixture over the breast leaving a half-inch border around the edge of the breast.
Gently but firmly roll the turkey breast into a tight bundle. 
Tie together with butcher’s twine.
Season the outside with salt and pepper.

=== For a  Big Green Egg 

Setup for indirect.
Add handful of cherry chips.
I cooked it at 325 degrees for 1.5 hrs till 165. Went faster than expected! 

=== Original recipe - for an oven

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. (204 C.)
Place the stuffed breast skin side up onto a roasting pan on lower oven rack and roast for about 20 minutes.
Turn down the oven temperature to 350 F. (176 C.) and continue roasting for 45 minutes.
Remove the roasted breast from the oven and let rest in the pan for 15 minutes.
Cut the twine from the roast and then carve the roast into half-inch slices.
Place desired amount on each serving plate and drizzle with pan juices.


  • GregWGregW Posts: 2,309
    I'm not a fan of goat cheese, but the recipe does look good. You provided an excellent writeup and detailed instructions.
    Birmingham, AL
  • Sweet100sSweet100s Posts: 497
    Hmmm 🧐, If not goat cheese, what would be the next best cheese to go with something like cranberries?

    My favorite Jersey Mike’s sub is the # 7 turkey provolone, so maybe provolone?
  • BotchBotch Posts: 10,388
    This time of year we single guys are looking for a TG dinner that's less than a full turkey.  
    Know what I'm making now, thanks!   :)  
    Introvert Engineers - Social Distancing before it was cool.  
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • GregWGregW Posts: 2,309
    edited October 17
    It may be an exaggeration, but I've always said goat cheese tastes like the goat smells.
    I don't cook with a lot of exotic cheeses, but I bet there would be other cheeses that would substitute for the goat cheese,
    As you suggested, Provolone might be a good choice to try.
    Birmingham, AL
  • I LOVE goat cheese. 
  • BotchBotch Posts: 10,388
    Bring On Da Fawnk!  
    (Tallegio is one of my favorites)  
    Introvert Engineers - Social Distancing before it was cool.  
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • Sweet100sSweet100s Posts: 497
    @GregW, another option is a totally different stuffing combo: 

    Ex: “caramelized onions, portobello mushrooms, parsley and garlic, S&P. Loin is seasoned with just salt and wrapped in bacon.”

    I’d replace parsley with thyme.  Parsley doesn’t have enough flavor after cooked to justify a low shelf-life ingredient in the stuffing.   It would be the first thing to decay.
  • Sweet100sSweet100s Posts: 497
    When I do this next time, I will separate the work into 3 nights: 

    Night 1:  Make the filling and the under-the-skin rub.  

    Double check I have enough bacon in case I mangle the skin again.  (Or the turkey breast just happens to have a thong-amount of skin...  It happens!).   Get twice as much bacon as I think I’d need to wrap it.    

    It’s embarrassing to show up at a neighbor’s front door,
    Do you have any bacon?  This is an emergency...”. ( I thought about making this the thread title...)
    Right in the middle of prep with the egg heating up...

    If this happens the good news is, you can make a late night snack of turkey skin crisps from the skin that didn’t survive the prep.  

    Night 2:  Prep the turkey.   Do the difficult (for me) step of butterflying when very awake and with a very sharp knife.  NOTE TO SELF:  IF THE BONING KNIFE IS CURVED, DON’T LET THE CURVED PART CUT THROUGH THE OTHER SIDE.

    Night 3:  Egg it! 

    I see the amazing cooks of this forum doing cooks like this all the time, but for me this is a skill test of a recipe!

  • BigreenGregBigreenGreg Posts: 247
    Botch said:
    Bring On Da Fawnk!  
    (Tallegio is one of my favorites)  

    Thanks @Botch , it's 6:30 am and I now have George Clinton and the Parliament/Funkadelic entrenched in my brain.
    Also, the turkey breast looks fantastic.
    LBGE, 36" Blackstone, Anova Pro
    Charleston, SC
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 14,610
    This looks and sounds really good! Thanks for posting.

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

    Central Connecticut 

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