There's nothing new about brining poultry - it makes the meat so moist and tasty. Likewise, there's nothing new about 'barding' your bird with some bacon on the breast to give the outside a bit of baconey flavour.
This instructable combines the two ideas, and both tenderises and moisturises the meat and adds a hint of (smokey) bacon right through. We came up with the recipe for last Christmas (being the distributor for J&Ds BaconSalt in UK) and it was really great!
This Christmas my daughter and her (American) family are spending the holiday here in MurkeySide, so we're going to show them that Brits can do at least as well as our Transatlantic Brethren when it comes to turkey-cooking!
Step 1: Ingredients & Equipment
Roasting tin with grill rack to fit inside
Meat thermometer (I like to be safe!)
2 'Oven bags' or 'Ziplock' bags - each big enough to hold the turkey
Container to put the bird and bags in whilst brining (see step 2)
Turkey - the recipe is for a bird about 4.5kg (10 lbs) but the brine ingredients below can be scaled for larger/smaller. Don't buy a self-basting one for this method.
100gm (4 oz) Brown Sugar
50 gm (2 oz) Salt
5 tsp of BaconSalt ** (we prefer to use the Hickory or Applewood flavours, to give a smokey flavour)
1 Small bunch Fresh Thyme (or dried)
1 Bay Leaf
6 or 7 cloves of garlic, halved horizontally
1 tablespoon black pepper corns
1 Lemon, halved
Water - about 2.5 litres (5 pints) but see next step.
Optional - Black Lemon Powder, a little more brown sugar, and Olive oil for a 'rub'
** Baconsalt is a low-salt spice blend that adds bacon flavour to foods. It can be found in a number of USA stores, and can be bought online mail order from:
www.baconsalt.com in USA $4.50 per 2-oz shaker-jar, plus shipping
www.crazy4flavour.co.uk in Britain or Western Europe £3.95 per jar including postage
The optional black lemon powder is also sold by crazy4flavour.
Step 2: Making the Brine
Put the bird in one of the bags and fill the remaining space with water. Then drain the water into a measuring jug, to estimate the amount of brine needed. Once you've measured it, throw the water away. Return the bird to the refrigerator while you prepare the brine.
Step 3: Making the Brine
Put the same amount of water (or a little less if you are going to cool the brine with ice) into a steel or enamelled pot, and add the rest of the brining ingredients, and heat slowly on the stove while stirring until the ingredients, until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
COOL THE BRINE! The brine should not be warm when adding to the turkey. I add a tray-full of ice to the measuring jug, then add another tray to the pan - stirring both until the brine is cooled. Or you could just cool it in the fridge.
Allow the bird to soak for 8-10 hours whilst keeping cool. Turn every few hours to make sure the brine contacts all of the bird
Step 5: Preparing to Cook
Stand it on a large plate and allow it to drain in the fridge (or cool-box) for an hour or more, turning it ocasionally to drain all or most of the brine from inside the cavities.
Pat it dry with some kitchen towel, then rub all over (underside as well) with Olive Oil. (see 2nd pic)
Fill the cavities as you normally do (or not!). I prefer to cook the stuffing separatley to have it 'crispy', and I put a couple of large onion in the large cavity to keep the shape of the bird. (see pic)
OPTIONAL - use the Black Lemon Powder, the brown sugar, and some Virgin Olive Oil to make a rub to coat the outside of the turkey (like in the third picture).
There's a recipe for BaconSalt stuffing at crazy4flavour.blogspot.com/2008/12/baconsalt-stuffing.html
if you want to go the whole "hog"!!!
Step 6: Cooking
You'll need to wrap bits of it (wings, neck end of breast . . . ) in aluminium foil part-way through to stop them burning when they are fully-done. (2nd pic)
Baste frequently and add a little water as required.
Preheat the oven to 165C (325F) and cook. Approximate times are:
5kg, 8 to 12 pounds, 2 3/4 to 3 hours
6 kg, 12 to 14 pounds, 3 to 3 3/4 hours
7 kg14 to 18 pounds 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
add an extra half hour if you stuff the bird (we use a couple of whole onions)
But don't leave it to chance - ALWAYS use a meat thermometer! The breast must reach an internal temperature of 76C (170F) and the thigh must reach an internal temperature of 80C (180F).
Check the temperature frequently, and add more water to the base of the roasting tin if the water's getting low.
Step 7: Carving
I suggest that you take the advice from the British "Turkey Man", Bernard Matthews:
Enjoy your Christmas (or thanksgiving) BACON ROAST TURKEY!
(there's a host of other ideas for using the rest of your BaconSalt on the blog at crazy4flavour.blogspot.com/, as well as other products sold by www.crazy4flavour.co.uk/)