Smoky Oven-Braised Pulled Turkey

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  8 servings
Prep Time:  15 minutes Cook Time:  3 hours 30 minutes

Smoky Oven-Braised Pulled Turkey

This turkey is spicy, smoky, and succulent. It's perfect for a casual lunch or a buffet party.


2 tablespoons mild olive oil

1 small onion, roughly chopped, about 1 cup

4 pounds turkey thighs, bones in and skin on, rinsed and patted dry

2 cups low sodium chicken or turkey stock

1 cup roughly chopped celery leaves and stalks

4 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick, canela preferred

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon dried mustard

2 teaspoons ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika, sweet or hot

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano or traditional oregano

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent. Move the onions to the side and add the turkey, in batches, skin side down and brown on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes each side.
  3. Return the turkey to the pan. Add the remaining ingredients and stir gently to combine.
  4. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Bake until the turkey is fork tender, 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaves.
  5. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board. Using 2 forks, remove the meat from the bones and discard the bones. Return the meat to the pot and simmer over low heat, uncovered, until ready to serve, no longer than 1 hour.

Kitchen Tips

This can easily be prepared in a slow cooker. Prepare up through step 3 and place the mixture in the slow cooker. Cook on low up to 8 hours.

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