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To cook the perfect Xmas Turkey

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					To cook the perfect Xmas Turkey
The best starting point for a great Turkey is of course to buy the best quality turkey available
(organic, free-range, etc.) Not all of us can afford a massive full size Turkey and to be honest we
don’t all need that much meat so if you want to buy a smaller piece of Turkey go ahead, but you
need to be aware of its weight and adjust the recipe accordingly.

Tip 1: Cook your Turkey breast-side down.
Tip 2: Cook the turkey stuffing separately, not in the cavity, this helps to make sure you cook the
turkey more evenly.

This is the part that will make your Turkey stand out from any other cooking method.
Soak it overnight in Hi Mountain Game Bird and Poultry Brine. If you have never used a brine
before you will be amazed at the difference it makes to the meat. You will need a large plastic
bucket that can fit inside your fridge, with a lid is good if it has one. You can start this process 2
days before Xmas, making sure that the bird is totally un frozen before you put it in the mixture.
You can add a touch of Liquid smoke to the brine if you like, it will give it a light smoky flavour that
is very nice, especially in the skin. Simply follow the instructions that come with the product, they
are very simple, measure out the correct amount of mix and add to water according to the weight
of the bird and submerge it in the brine making sure it has filled the cavity and is completely
submerged. You can even put some chicken fillets in with it if there is room. After soaking it
overnight thoroughly rinse all the contents and then refrigerate after wiping dry.

Tip 3: If you like a crispy skin on your bird leave it uncovered in your fridge for at least a couple
of hours or overnight before you start the cooking process.

Tip 4: Adding spices to the brine ie: garlic, herbs, lemon juice, apple juice, instead of the skin of
the bird, will take the flavours deeper into the meat.

Tip 5: Make sure you have a good reliable meat thermometer that you can put in the oven, this
will save you a lot of time and worry about whether your bird is properly cooked. You will never
regret investing in a good quality one as you can use them in all your roasts, making sausages
etc. We use a digital one with a probe on a wire that you insert into the roast and leave it there
while it cooks, the wire comes out the side of the oven door and into the thermometer, you set the
required temp or time and it will beep when it reaches your selection. An absolute god send,
especially on Xmas day when you are so busy, you will wonder why it took you so long to get
one.

Now, you may need to get up early on Xmas morning to get this bird started, when will depend on
how big he is.

Ingredients
1 turkey, approx. 7kg (serves ~12)
Juice of a lemon
Salt and pepper
Olive oil or melted butter
1/2 onion, peeled and quartered
Tops and bottoms of a bunch of celery
2 carrots
Parsley
Sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme

Utensils
If Brining a plastic bucket with lid & something to weigh down the Turkey.
A meat thermometer to test the internal temp of the Turkey
Butchers string-twine / Skewers
Roasting tray and rack
Oven / Weber or Smoker
Method
1. Bring your refrigerated bird to room temperature before cooking. If you get a frozen turkey, you
will need to defrost it in the refrigerator for several days first. Allow approximately 5 hours of
defrosting for every 500gms.

Handle a raw turkey with the same amount of caution as when you handle raw chicken - use a
separate cutting board and utensils to avoid contaminating other foods. Wash your hands with
soap before touching anything else in the kitchen. Use paper towels to clean up. Remove the
giblets, they can be used for stock for the stuffing etc.

2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. / You can cook your Turkey in a Weber or Smoker by
following these same instructions for temp. Limit using too much smoke to avoid over smoking.

3. Make sure your bird is thoroughly washed out with water. Pull out any remaining feather stubs
in the turkey skin. Lather the inside of the cavity with the juice of half a lemon. Take a small
handful of salt and rub all over the inside of the turkey. If you have brined the Turkey there is no
need to add any Lemon or Salt at this stage.

4. For added flavour, put the half onion inside the turkey, peeled and quartered, a bunch of
parsley, a couple of carrots, and some tops and bottoms of celery. Close up the turkey cavity with
either butchers twine-string (not nylon string!) or metal skewers. Make sure that the turkey's legs
are tied together, held close to the body, and tie a string around the turkey body to hold the wings
in close. The neck cavity can be stuffed with parsley and tied closed with thin skewers and string.

5. Rub either melted butter or olive oil all over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle salt generously
all over the outside of the turkey if you have not used the pre brining method. Sprinkle pepper
over the turkey.

6. Place turkey BREAST DOWN on the bottom of a rack over a sturdy roasting pan big enough to
catch all the drippings. Cooking the turkey breast down means the skin over the breast will not
get so brown. However, all of the juices from the cooking turkey will fall down into the breast while
cooking. And the resulting bird will have the most succulent turkey breast imaginable.

Add several sprigs of fresh (if possible) thyme and rosemary to the outside of the turkey.

7. Chop up the turkey giblets (gizzard, heart, liver). Put into a small saucepan, cover with water,
add salt. Bring to simmer for an hour or so to help make stock for the stuffing.

8. Put the turkey in the oven. We recommend cooking time of about 15 minutes for every
500gms. For 7kg turkey, start the cooking at 200C for the first 1/2 hour. Then reduce the heat to
175C for the next 2 hours. Then reduce the heat further to 105C for the next hour to hour and a
half. If you have a meat thermometer that cannot be left in the bird start taking internal
temperature readings approx 30-45 minutes before the final expected done time. Insert the meat
thermometer deep into the thickest part of the turkey breast or thigh. The final internal temp
should be around 75-80C.

If you want the breast to be browned & crispy as well, you can turn the bird over for the last 15-20
minutes of cooking, at an oven temp of 145C. (Oven must be at least 120C for browning to
occur.) Note that if you do this, you will have a higher risk of overcooking the turkey breast. We
never worry about browning the breast. If you have a fan forced oven you may need to lower the
temps by approx 5-10 degrees. You will know your oven better than anyone so use your
knowledge to get the best temp.

9. Once you remove the turkey from the oven, let it rest for 15-20 minutes. Turn the turkey breast
side up to carve.

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