182/18 – Thanksgiving Dinner:
Last year I cooked a Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner on the BBQ as a rehearsal for Christmas Day:
I don’t think we will have Turkey this year but we enjoyed the Thanksgiving feast last year so repeated the whole meal this year!
I have wanted to order some chicken from Fosse Meadows for a while now as they are rearing animals the right way. Free range, slow grown, natural foods, dry plucked and hung. When they advertised Turkeys for Thanksgiving I ordered a 4kg bird for £62.55.
What a glorious bird!
One of the first things you notice with a quality Turkey is that it’s dry to the touch, it’s not wet and it’s not slimy. Why? Read on….
Appreciate that is a fair whack of cash but most of us only cook Turkey at Xmas so it’s worth paying out for quality. What do you get for your money?
- 90% of Turkeys raised in the UK are intensively reared in barns holding up to 25,000 birds at a time. The barns are kept dark to reduce aggression and damage to the birds.
- The floor is covered in wood shavings and chippings to absorb the faeces and this isn’t changed during the life of the Turkeys so they end up living in their own filth. 5 to 15% of the birds will die in the barn due to the conditions they are raised in.
- At a few days old the birds have their beaks partially removed with a red hot wire or clippers. Turkeys aren’t naturally aggressive but the conditions they are kept in alters their behaviour.
- The birds are fast growing breeds and have access to rapid weight gain (high protein) feed all day long so can reach weight and be slaughtered from 9 weeks onwards. They reach weight in half the time it took in the 1970’s.
- The turkeys, once killed are dipped into scalding water to loosen the feathers before a machine with revolving rubber fingers removes the feathers. They are then sprayed with cold water.
- If it’s a frozen bird it could be many months old by the time you get it.
- It might have been “basted” which is usually an injection of a water and salt solution. You are paying for that water too! I had a look at some supermarket turkeys which don’t mention being basted but they have a high salt content which you wouldn’t expect to occur naturally.
Fosse Meadow Turkey’s:
- Raised according to Traditional Farmfresh Turkey Association (TFTA) guidelines.
- Kept in small groups with light, fresh air and access to outdoor space.
- Perches so the birds can roost.
- Beaks are left intact.
- Slow growing birds that build up fat and plumper breasts for moist meat and more flavour.
- The birds are fed on local cereal and maize.
- Killed on site then wax plucked then hung for 10 days. When you touch these turkeys you feel the difference straight away, the skin is dry and not slimy. You can smell the bird from where it’s been hung too.
Once you take all this into consideration it’s no wonder really that intensively reared meat doesn’t taste as good as traditionally reared meats.
Other smaller producers/Turkey farmers will produce a quality product similar to the Fosse Meadows birds. See your local butcher or do a Google search for local Turkey farmers. Farmers markets usually have Poultry farmers selling quality Turkeys.
Rotisserie bar slotted through the Turkey. Bit of oil and salt rubbed in to the skin and good to go.
No brine? In the past I have done wet brines, dry brines and no brine. With a quality bird like this you don’t need to do anything to it as it’s packed full of flavour already and as it’s grown slowly the fat has developed properly so when you cook it the bird will be super juicy. If you buy an intensively reared bird it won’t really taste of much and the fat won’t have developed as it won’t have lived long so it will dry out. So if you buy one of those birds it’s probably better to brine it to add some taste and moisture to it. I would recommend buying a quality bird and just cook it as it comes though. Makes things a lot easier and you end up with a better tasting meal.
Oiled and salted, time to spin. This is the Weber rotisserie attachment on my Napoleon Pro 22 grill cooking with London Log Co Holm Oak with some Cherry and Oak chunks. I see a lot of cooks on twitter with stickers on the meat, I was able to join in for once!
I had the Meater probe in around the thigh area and set to alert at 67c. I know from previous cooks it took about 90 minutes but I wanted to probe all over with the Thermapen once the thigh area was getting close to temperature.
The Napoleon was running hot, even on the lowest setting but the Turkey was ready after 90 minutes and looking fantastic!
Bird off and rotisserie removed.
What a great colour! Nice crispy skin too.
Whilst I was messing about in the BBQ hut my wife made green bean casserole
And candied yams. They are marshmallows on top, I was left to watch the oven for a short amount of time and they caught a bit! Tasted great though!
And she made a pumpkin pie.
Looking forward to dessert!
Time to Eat:
All served up. It looks a bit dry but I took this with my phone as my camera was back in the house and I couldn’t face going back in to come out!
Such a tasty meal, I had to go back for more!
Served up with cream. I had to have 2 slices!
We all really enjoyed this meal, the turkey was fantastic. Very tasty, really moist and juicy with a light hint of smoke. The kids ate all their turkey before everything else then wanted more! The sides were all fantastic and we really enjoyed dessert too. Successful dinner!
Rotisserie cooks are always good, glad it fits the Napoleon grill!
|Cook Duration:||Medium: 3/5|
|Cook Equipment:||Napoleon Pro 22|
|Charcoal:||London Log Co Holm Oak|
|Smoking Wood:||Oak and Cherry|
|Cook time:||90 minutes|
|Internal temperature:||70c ish (Thermapen)|
|Notes:||No major changes|
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