Turkey gets such a bad press, and yet it is the “go to” meat in the UK for Christmas in particular but also and other holiday periods too. This year we delayed our ‘Christmas season’ Turkey cooking until New Year’s Day, and I have to say it really was worth the wait! At times of the year when the indoor oven/s are ‘under pressure’ is an ideal time to take the centre piece of the meal and cook it lovingly over wood and charcoal! Cooked in the Big Green Egg the turkey can be quite magnificent – and the second benefit is that it frees up the ‘domestic oven’ for some more mundane work! In the past I have had some mixed results with turkey on the BGE – so convinced was I over the magical cooking properties of the Big Green Magician – but you can still overcook turkey on the BGE so it becomes dry and boring, and it is impossible to turn a cheap frozen battery bird into a luxurious organic free range bird just by the way you cook it! So there are some simple rules!
- Buy a good bird
- Do not over cook it
- Do not over smoke it
So the aim is to take a first class product and then enhance it with simple preparation and careful but effortless cooking – this really IS SIMPLE!!
For this particular cook we took a 6Kg Loué Turkey bought from one of the UK online butchers. The turkey was simply basted in natural yogurt and then generously salted and peppered. The larger body cavity was just very loosely stuffed with a bunch of fresh sage!
The large BGE had been set for indirect cooking at 150C. The temperature was managed on this occasion with a CyberQ Cloud from BBQ Guru – simply as we had guests and the cooking could then be managed remotely. It would have been almost as simple to do this ‘old school’.
Just before adding the Turkey, a small piece of cherry wood was added to the fire to generate that lovely sweet gentle smoke. The Turkey was cooked at 150C for around 2hrs (over a drip tray containing some water). The temperature was then increased to 180C for the final hour of cooking to give a lovely brown and crispy skin. We removed the turkey from the BGE when the core temperature was 65C. It was double wrapped in foil and placed in an empty cool-box packed with clean tea towels. It was left like this for an hour or so before serving. (This is below the usual recommended 73C – but the evidence is that holding the meat for longer at a lower temperature is just as safe but the meat is certainly more succulent with this approach). Do check out this approach to make sure you are comfortable with the idea first – see here. The one thing you will find is that the legs are cooked to a higher temperature than the core bird temperature – but as it happens that is no bad thing!
The turkey was beautifully moist and the taste was glorious – Sliced generously from the breast and contrasted with a little of the leg meat – wonderful! Moist, succulent, tasty and with just a faint hint of cherry smoke – a perfect example of “less is more”!!
Do try it – turkey can be this good – honest!!!!
Luxurious Roast Turkey
Roasted Turkey with a little cherry smoke
- 6Kg Loué Turkey
- Plain Yogurt
- Bunch of sage
- Salt and Pepper
- Step 1 Take the oven prepared Loué turkey and smear the breast and legs with plain yogurt. Generously salt and pepper. Place the bunch of fresh sage loosely in the larger body cavity.
- Step 2 Set up the BGE for indirect cooking at 150C. Add a little cherry wood to the fire, put a drip pan in place containing some water to stop any charing of the meat juices
- Step 3 Place the turkey over the drip pan and cook at 150C for about 2 hrs
- Step 4 Raise the temperature to 180C for the final (3rd) hour of cooking to give a lovely brown and crispy skin.
- Step 5 Remove the turkey from the BGE when the core temperature reaches about 65C. Double wrap in foil and place in an empty cool-box packed with clean tea towels until needed (ideally for at least an hour).
- Step 6 Use the meat juices from the drip pan as a basis for a delicious sauce
- Step 7 Slice the turkey and serve with your choice of accompaniments