Christmas lunch is by far one of my favourite meals of the year for two reasons: Family and food. If you’re not familiar with an Australian Christmas(well how we do it in my family) it’s usually hot, cans of beer start at about 10am, then there’s cold seafood followed by a number of animals roasted and served with various sides. After a nap there’s usually mum’s famous flaming plum pudding.
I will say one thing about Christmas lunch, it’s a gigantic pain in the butt in terms of logistics with often 20+ family and friends over for lunch and normally a large ham, turkey, roast something else all to be prepared on the day.
This year we had to lift our turkey game as we had some intrepid Americans joining us for lunch and there’s one thing Americans do it’s Turkey.
So the journey started with ordering a sous-vide unit from Sansaire(best $200 I ever spent), ordering a large turkey (8kg/12lb) from John Cesters at Prahran Market and then figuring out how to make the most flavourful and moist turkey for everyone to enjoy.
The solution had to start with the right bird, so a free range organic bird from John Cester was a good start, and their poultry is always great.
In the quest for MMMMMOOIIIISSSTTTT the turkey was brined for 24 hours in a basic brine, the washed, dried and stuffed with a regular stuffing.
Then shit got weird, out came a space bag, a vacuum cleaner and a 30L esky. The plan to cook the turkey at 60 degrees celcius for 12 hours on Christmas eve and then finish the woodfired oven on Christmas Day.
What you need.
1 x sous vide unit (Sansaire is a great option).
1 x Space Bag (alternatively talk to you butcher about getting them to vac pac your bird.
1 x Turkey
4L cold water
1 Cup kosher Salt
1 Cup brown sugar
Peppercorns, thyme, sage, bay leaves, onions, celery, carrots.
2 cup cooked white rice
1/4 cup bacon, chopped onions, celery
Peppercorns, thyme, sage and parsley (a good 1/4 cup of each.
1. Start the brine by combining everything and bringing it to the boil, then allow to cool completely.
2. Remove any internal organs that remain in the bird and place in the brine, covered in the fridge for 24 hours.
3. Remove from the brine and wash with cold water(well). Pat dry with paper towel.
4. Vac Pac or place the turkey in a space bag and seal.
5. Place into a water bath at 60 degrees celcius for 12 hours
6. Cool the bird(an esky full of beers and ice is ideal in Australia). It needs to cool all the way through so use lots of ice.
7. Remove the stuffing from the bird and collect any jelly that’s formed(great for gravy).
8. (optional) baste the bird in a combination of melted jelly and brown sugar.
9. Roast in a hot oven(or woodfired oven) for 30 minutes to crisp up the skin and warm it through.
Hot damn this turkey was not only moist but full of flavour from the brining process. This process can be replicated for single cuts of turkey breast if you aren’t cooking for an army.