Spiced Turkey - How to prepare and cook a whole Turkey

Cooking a Turkey doesn't have to be intimidating. Follow these easy steps and cook a bird that will give you fantastic results

Step 1 – Defrost your Turkey, wrapped in it’s original packing in the fridge. Let it sit breast side up and it needs a day per 4 pounds.

Step 2 – Let’s brine! Your brine quantity will depend on the size of your bird. You also will need a container that can fit your bird and enough space in your fridge. My bird was 14 pounds and fit in the inside of a bucket. I only needed 4 liters of brine.

Brine recipe
4 liters water
1/2 cup rock or coarse salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 lemon cut in slices
3-4 bay leaves
1 tsp chilli powder and 1 tsp pepper

Dissolve the salt and sugar in half a liter of water and then add the rest of the cold water, lemon slices, bay leaves and spices. The water should be cool before you add the bird. Be sure to have removed the neck gizzards etc that’s in the cavity. Cover the container and let the bird sit in the fridge for 24 hours. If you’re fridge space is limited you can sit the bird in half the bath and then flip it over.

Step 3 – Remove the bird from the brine bath and make sure it’s wiped dry with absorbent tissues or a towel.

Step 4 - Make a spiced butter (recipe below) and reserve about 2-3 tablespoons. Gently pull the skin away from the flesh and run the butter all over the bird between the skin and the flesh. Add some to the cavity. When done, store in a bag in the fridge for 24 hrs.

Spiced butter
1 cup salted butter at room temperature
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp crushed black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped coriander
Mix all the ingredients together

Step 5 – Prepping the Turkey. Add the turkey to a roasting pan, breast side up. Tuck the wings under the body so they don’t burn and stick out. Tie the legs if necessary. I like to add some flavorings to the cavity but there should be enough room for the hot air of the oven to cook the inside of the bird. I added some lemon slices, a carrot, a piece of green pepper and some coriander. I also added some more veg, mushrooms and the turkey neck etc inside the roaster. This will help flavor the stock for a delicious gravy. Coat the outside of the bird with a tbsp of regular butter. We don’t want to use the spiced butter till the end as the spices may burn.

You need about 15 – 20 mins per pound of cooking time in a preheated oven at 350 degrees centigrade.

Step 6 – Add the bird to a preheated oven at 350 degrees centigrade, I cooked the bird for two hours covered and I checked on it every half an hour, basting and buttering in between. In the last hour, I cooked it open so the skin could brown and I slathered the turkey with the reserved spice mixture. After the Turkey has completed it’s cooking time, let it rest for 30 – 40 mins before you serve it.

Let the Turkey rest for atleast 30 mins before carving.

1 comment:

  1. Karen, thank you for this recipe. I made it a couple of years ago and it was superb!! The turkey was moist and succulent thanks to all the prepping before hand!!!

    Ancita D'Cunha
    Melbourne, Australia