How To Make The Perfect Christmas Turkey
An Aussie Christmas is truly a festive occasion. While the Northern Hemisphere, from which many of the traditional dishes and pastimes originate, shivers in the chill of midwinter darkness, Australia is bathed in light. The weather is fine and warm, and fresh foods are in abundance. Of course, the very best aspect of your Christmas Feast is the turkey. It’s the centrepiece of any holiday table, and the main focus of the Festive meal. But what’s the most assured method for cooking the perfect bird? We’ve all had the experience of dry Christmas turkey, and no one wants to repeat the unpalatable texture of that dish.
The Bird Matters
Once, geese were the festive birds of the season, due in large part to the fact that the turkey is indigenous to North America. However, once it was discovered how delicious these plump wild fowl were, turkey quickly supplanted the Christmas Goose. Even when domesticated, turkey meat possesses a flavour that is in some ways superior to that of the goose. However, there are other factors that have maintained the popularity of turkey, generally, and aspects that make it an ideal main dish for an Australian Christmas Party. Turkey has the lowest percentage of fat of any member of the avian family tree.
Because Christmas occurs just after the Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, this lean, light, and delightful bird is ideal for pairing with the fruits of the earth—fresh, crisp greens, vegetables, and fruits, pasta and other savoury cold salads, light soups, and other summer fare. In the past, selecting the ideal turkey to ensure moistness was a bit of a trial. The age, health during the life of the bird, and storage conditions all impact the outcome of the Christmas bird. However, with a company such as Butcherman, you need not worry about obtaining the freshest and best meats and products. They attend to quality to control to ensure that the turkey you order is the best quality, which goes a long way to creating an ideal feast. Below, we’ll discuss the best techniques for preparing your bird.
Before You Cook
Turkey is a popular dish year round in many places. This means that recipes running the gamut from roasted to smoked or barbecued are available. You need not restrict yourself to a simple, plain roast turkey for your feast. However, one of the biggest keys to producing turkey that is moist, tender, and prepared to perfection has nothing to do with cooking approach. Brining meat has been used for millennia to tenderise tough meats or to lock in moisture for delicate dishes, and your holiday turkey is no exception. Brining will also allow you to infuse your bird with a variety of flavours that cooking won’t permit—penetrating the layers of the bird in a way that surface applications and rubs miss.
To prepare a basic brine, the standard ratio is one tablespoon of salt per cup of water. Bring your salt and water to a boil, to ensure all the salt is dissolved, then cool completely. If you want to infuse other flavours into your bird, add whole spices to the brine solution before you heat it. Dried chillis, whole peppercorns, dried herbs such as rosemary or thyme, and even garlic make wonderful additions. Tailor your brine to your specific taste profile for a wonderful, flavourful bird.
Next, submerge your bird and keep in the fridge for a minimum of 12 hours, turning once. After you remove the turkey from the brine, pat it dry with paper towels, being sure to thoroughly dry the inside of the cavity as well as the outer surfaces. Let it rest for one hour, and proceed with your desired preparation technique. It’s important that it be nicely patted dry, especially if you are contemplating a fried or smoked turkey, as excessive moisture can cause some serious problems.
Turkey is one of the most versatile, healthy, and flavourful of meats. Preparing a succulent bird to grace the centre of your summertime feast is a simple matter of attention to method and duration of cooking. With all the variety of recipes and approaches, you’re sure to create something special that is both delicious and appropriate for an authentic Australian Christmas feast.
Above all, don’t forget the leftovers!