Ok it’s time to talk turkey. If you are planning a traditional Christmas lunch then the turkey is the centrepiece and you need to get organised now. Ordering a good quality turkey will make all the difference. Last year I ordered a beautiful free range bird from Bertie’s Butchers in Richmond and I will be doing the same this year but talk to your butcher to see what’s available and order it now for pick up a day or so before Christmas. Trust me, all the good birds go and you don’t want to be stuck with a supermarket bird on Christmas day.
I like to start preparing the turkey on Christmas Eve by brining it over night in a mixture based on a recipe by Nigella Lawson. This ensures that your turkey is really moist and doesn’t dry up.
Then on Christmas Day my secret is to cook the turkey on the BBQ. This is brilliant because it frees up your oven for all the roast potatoes, vegies and millions of other things you will be cooking. Also the BBQ does a brilliant job of cooking a turkey delivering a crisp skin, beautiful bronze colour and slight smoky flavour to the meat. All you need is a BBQ with a lid on it. How much more Australian could you get for Christmas day? Good luck!
- 6 litres water
- 250 gms sea salt
- 3 tbsps black peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves
- 2 tbsp allspice berries
- 4 star anise
- 200 gms sugar
- 2 onions, unpeeled and quartered
- 1 x 6 cm piece of fresh root ginger, unpeeled and sliced
- 4 tbsps maple syrup
- 4 tbsps runny honey
- 1 x 5.5 kilograms turkey
- 75 grams goose fat or butter
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1. Put the water into your largest cooking pot or a bucket or plastic bin. Add the brine ingredients, stirring to combine the salt, sugar, syrup and honey.
- 2. Remove any string or trussing from the turkey, shake it free, remove the giblets, if not already done, and put them in the fridge then add the bird to the brine, topping up with more water if it is not completely submerged.
- 3. Keep the bird covered in your fridge overnight or up to to two days before you cook it.
- 4. Take the turkey out of the brine mixture and wipe it dry with kitchen towel at least 1-2 hours before it has to be cooked.
- 5. Preheat your BBQ to 200c if there is a thermometer, if not just turn to high.
- 6. Melt the goose fat or butter and maple syrup together slowly over a low heat. Paint the turkey with the glaze before roasting and baste periodically throughout the cooking time.
- 7. Roast in the BBQ with the lid down for 2½ hours. When you think it’s ready, pierce the turkey with the point of a sharp knife where the body meets the leg, and if the juices run clear, it’s cooked; if still pink, cook it for longer until they run clear, or use a meat thermometer.
- 8. Then take the turkey out of the oven, and let it sit, tented with foil, for 20–40 minutes. The resting time is very important.