Cooking a Turkey can be intimidating, especially when it is the centre piece of your Xmas lunch! The last thing you want is a dry bird on your big day to celebrate.
So here are a few tips from us to show you how to make the perfect Christmas Turkey.
WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE.
The right tools and a plan is key to making the perfect turkey. Here are some must have tools and things to consider before your journey.
- Blaze Thermometer (Instant read thermometer)
- Carving knife (Keep it sharp, you don't want to tear the skin away)
- Cutting board (Concave cutting board will help keep all the juices on the board and off the table)
- Space in the fridge (for thawing and brining)
- Olive Oil
- Time - Don't be last minute (You will have to thaw, brine, dry, and cook your bird. Depending on the size of bird, it could be anywhere from 5 to 6 days before you are ready to cook)
PICK THE RIGHT SIZE TURKEY
We know a beautifully roasted full Turkey sitting on the table absolutely looks the best! However, if you only have a few people coming over for your dinner there might not be a reason to get the largest bird available.
- Gathering of less than 6 people: Bone in turkey breast
- Gathering of 6 - 8 people: 5kg Turkey
- Gathering of 10 - 12 people: 7kg Turkey
- Gathering of 14 - 16 people: 5kg Turkey and a Turkey breast
- Gathering of 16 - 20 people: 2x 5kg or 7kg Turkeys
This depends on how much leftovers you want and how many sides you are bringing. We like to load up on veggies, like potatoes and carrots as well.
First off - If you can buy a fresh unfrozen turkey from your butcher... Do that. During the holiday season, you are more than likely going to purchase a frozen turkey.
Turkeys are big and thick, and when you buy it frozen you have to give it the proper time needed to thaw. We only thaw turkeys in the fridge and do not recommend any other method of thawing. There are other ways to thaw, but they are not fun, and it will take the joy out of the cook. A little planning can go a long way here. Make sure you have room in your fridge for the thaw.
It takes about 24 hours for every 2.25kgs of frozen turkey to thaw. For example, a 7kg Turkey will take at least 2 full days to fully thaw before you start the next step.
BRINE THE BIRD
A turkey is notorious for being a dry protein. So, you have to find a good way to get flavour and that juiciness into that fat bird. We recommend brining as the whole bird will soak up all that flavour and add to its final juiciness. With brine the bird gets to fully take a bath in the solution, soaking up every area of the turkey.
You should brine for no less than 24 hours fully submerged in water and Brine. We suggest our Lane's Signature Brine or Lane's Sweet Tea Brine, just add a cup of brine for every 3.7 litres of water and mix.
DRY THE SKIN
Now that you have soaked your Turkey in the brine it's time to air dry the turkey in the fridge. After taking a 24-hour bath, the outside skin layer of the turkey is absolutely drenched. You will need to dry the skin out uncovered for 12 to 24 hours in the fridge on a drying rack (to dry out the bottom skin of the turkey). The turkey meat will hold on to all that good moisture, this step is to dry the skin out so that the skin will cook nice and crispy.
SEASON THE BIRD
You are nearly there! Now that the turkey skin has been drying out in the fridge, we will need to add a bit of exterior moisture, so we add some olive oil to make sure our seasoning will stick. Now we just need to give that outside of the bird a great flavour. We recommend using Lane’s Signature Rub as the main seasoning to make your turkey memorable.
It's cooking time! All that hard work you put in is about to pay off.
Place your bird in an aluminium tray or baking pan (depending on how you are cooking it) to catch any juices. You don't want to try to move your bird while it is 160 degrees to a pan, just go ahead and put it in one.
- Set your smoker/oven to 325f/190c degrees, cook for roughly 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature in the fat part of turkey breast is 150f/65c.
- Baste your turkey with butter and continue cooking until the internal temp is 160f/71c degrees. The tray will catch any butter drippings.
- Pull and rest your bird for 30 minutes - The bird will continue to cook while resting, also now that it is off the heat, the juices will settle throughout the bird.
GET INTO IT
The masses are hungry, but don't take your eye of the ball quite yet. Place your bird on a cutting board preferably one that is concave in the middle to hold all the juices. No one wants the juices from the turkey spilling out all over the dinner table!
Before slicing in we like to pull the legs, thighs, and wings off. Then we cut out both turkey breasts. We do this to make it easier to slice the breast the way we want it without all the other parts getting in the way.
Make sure you have a nice carving knife that is sharp. You do not want to cut into the bird with a dull knife which would just rip and pull that skin right off.
Tuck in and enjoy!
Loved making this recipe? We would love to see! Upload your finished meal photos to Instagram and tag @lanesbbqau.