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Ever dreamt of serving up a Christmas turkey so grand it’d make your Nan’s roast look like child’s play? Well, dream no more. Thanks to the legends at Village Butchers, we’ve got our mitts on their top-notch Organic Turkey, and I’m about to spill the beans (or should I say, breadcrumbs?) on how to make it the star of your festive show.
Now, this isn’t just any turkey. Oh no. This bird’s been living the high life, frolicking around on pesticide-free pastures like it’s at Glastonbury year-round. Fed on a strict diet of… well, whatever posh organic turkeys eat.
We’re about to embark on a BBQ journey, and it’s 90% passion, 8% perspiration, and 2% hoping the British weather holds up.
Right, aprons on, let’s get cracking!
Prep Time: 5 days (4 days for defrosting, 1 day for brining)
Cook Time: 2.5 to 3 hours
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 days and 3.5 hours
Servings: 10-12 servings
Equipment: Kamado Joe Classic 3, roasting rack, food-safe bucket/container for brining, meat thermometer
For the Turkey:
- One 4.7kg frozen free range bronze turkey
- 500g unsalted butter, softened
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- Fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage), finely chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Quality lumpwood charcoal
- 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter (for basting)
- Juice of 1 orange (for basting)
- 2 tbsp honey (for basting)
For the Brine:
- 1 cup salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 liters water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 star anise
- 1 orange, sliced
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp juniper berries
- A small bunch of fresh thyme and rosemary
- Start defrosting 4 days prior to cooking.
- Place the turkey in the refrigerator. Ensure it’s positioned on a tray to catch any drippings.
- Check for complete defrosting by ensuring no ice crystals remain inside the cavity and by taking temperature readings in multiple parts of the turkey. The internal temperature should be between 0°C to 4°C (32°F to 40°F).
- Prepare the festive brine by combining all the brining ingredients in a large pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Allow the brine to cool to room temperature.
- Once cooled, transfer the brine to a large food-safe bucket or container. Submerge the turkey, ensuring it’s fully covered. If required, use a weight to keep it submerged.
- Store in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. For optimal flavour infusion, aim for the full 24 hours.
- Carefully remove the turkey from the brine and thoroughly pat it dry using paper towels.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, minced garlic, chopped herbs, lemon zest, salt, and pepper to create a fragrant herb butter.
- Gently separate the skin from the turkey breast using your fingers. Apply a generous layer of the herb butter underneath the skin, spreading it evenly. Ensure the remaining herb butter covers the entire exterior of the turkey.
- Let the turkey sit at room temperature for an hour prior to cooking. This allows for a more even cooking process.
- Set up your Kamado Joe Classic 3 with quality lump wood charcoal.
- Light the charcoal, allowing it to heat until the grill reaches a steady 325°F (163°C).
- If possible, use a roasting rack to ensure better heat circulation around the turkey.
- Place the turkey on the grill, positioning it breast side up.
- For moisture retention and added flavour, pour a cup of chicken or turkey broth into the roasting pan below the turkey.
- Cook the turkey for approximately 2.5 to 3 hours. Every 30 minutes, use a brush to baste the turkey with a mix of melted butter, orange juice, and honey.
- For safety and optimal results, ensure the turkey’s thickest parts reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Use a meat thermometer to check.
- Once cooked, remove the turkey from the grill and place it on a carving board.
- Loosely tent the turkey with aluminium foil, allowing it to rest for at least 30 minutes. Resting is key for the meat to retain its juices, ensuring a succulent turkey.
- Start your carving process by detaching the legs and thighs, followed by the wings.
- When carving the breast meat, ensure you slice against the grain. This technique gives you tender slices of meat.
- Present your carved pieces beautifully on a serving platter.
- Defrosting: A completely defrosted turkey ensures even cooking. Check for defrosting by ensuring the internal temperature matches the ambient temperature of the refrigerator.
- Brining: Always use a food-safe bucket or container for brining. Ensure the brine is cooled before introducing the turkey to prevent bacterial growth.
- Cooking: Rotate the turkey every hour for even browning. For parts that brown too quickly, shield them with aluminium foil.
- Resting: Allow the turkey to rest post-cooking. The resting phase ensures the meat retains its moisture, leading to a juicier turkey.
- Safety: Always ensure the turkey’s internal temperature reaches a safe 165°F (74°C) in the thickest parts.