“Chris we want ah Jerk Turkey recipe.. tired of boring oven roasted turkey” That was the DM I received on Twitter a couple weeks back.. even before I was thinking about doing this Christmas Special. I’m not a huge fan of turkey as I find the meat boring, especially when you think about the cost of it and the time it takes to get good results. My goal with this recipe is to show you how simple it is to make a tasty jerk oven roasted turkey, using a ‘cheap’ turkey and in much less time than the traditional method used for roasting turkey.
1 turkey (abt 12 lbs)
2 stalks celery
5-6 parsley stalks (optional)
2 scotch bonnet pepper
1 medium onion
5-7 cloves garlic
10 sprigs thyme
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/2 cup citrus juice (I used fresh clementines)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1-2 tablespoon brown sugar
4 slices ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon allspice (aka ground pimento)
Gluten Free Turkey Gravy
– 3 cups chicken stock (gluten free)
– pan drippings (there was about a cup)
– 2 sprigs thyme (chopped)
– 1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
– 1 tablespoon corn starch (potato or rice will also work)
– 2-3 tablespoon water
* adjust salt and black pepper if necessary
IMPORTANT! If doing this gluten free, please go through the entire list of ingredients to ensure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs. Especially the soy sauce and chicken stock.
You may have to watch the video below to fully understand how to spatch-cock the turkey. Basically you have to remove the entire back bone, then press down on the breast to crack the bone so it sits flat (I usually make a cut on the inner part of the breast-bone to help achieve the flatness I require). I also trimmed off the wing tips. please save the back bone, wing tips and if the neck is included with the bird. Please note that I used a ‘utility’ turkey from Walmart. it’s pretty much the cheapest bird available as I wanted to show you that you DON’t need an expensive turkey (works great with more pricey birds as well). Be sure to choose one that not freezer burned, no blemishes and looks overall decent. Be sure to trim off excess fat and skin.
By removing the back bone (spatch cock) it will help the turkey cook MUCH faster in the oven as we’ll have more cooking surface. Give all the ingredients (for the marinade) a rough chop and place it all in your food processor or blender. Please pulse until you have a sort of chunky marinade. Wash your hands immediately after with soap and water after handling the scotch bonnet pepper – same for if you apply the marinade with your hands as I did.
Basically all you have to do now is massage the jerk marinade all over the bird. If you wanted you can also work it below the skin. Then cover and allow to marinate overnight or at least 4 hours. Before I placed the marinated turkey on the roasting tray I was using, I created a bed with chopped carrots, celery and some parsley. This way the turkey had some space below it to allow the heat to do it’s thing. I would also recommend that you line your roasting tray with tin foil or it will take some WORK to clean it after.
I then placed the pieces of clementines I juiced earlier for the marinade as well as the back bone and wing tips (for some reason the package didn’t have the turkey neck) on the roasting tray. As your oven comes up to 35 F, cover the roasting tray with tin foil (loosely over the breast so it doesn’t stick as it roast).
Place the marinated (covered) turkey into the oven (middle rack) and cook for an hour. After an hour remove and baste with the juices. Be VERY careful when removing it from the oven as it will generate a lot of juices and combined with the weight of the bird, it could potentially spill on you.
After another hour in the oven it’s time to remove once again baste it. The remove 90 % of the juices which formed, along with the back, neck and wing tips. Now back into the oven UNCOVERED!
Place the juices along with the back/neck/wing tips in a sauce pan, along with the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and allow to reduce by about 1/2. It’s then time to strain this and place back on the burner. Go in with the chopped thyme and parsley.. then thicken this gravy. Since we’re doing this gluten free, add the corn starch to the water (cold) and whisk. then into the pot with the gravy. Whisk, taste for salt (adjust) and thicken to your preference. Add a bit more corn starch if needed (you may also use potato or rice starch).
By now the turkey can come out of the oven fully cooked. By having it go the last 40-45 minutes uncovered, it will develop a wonderful color and really heighten the ‘jerk’ flavors. The cooking time will vary a bit according to the size of your turkey, plus your oven may give different results than mine. basically you want the thickest part of the turkey read 165 F on a meat thermometer. (Total cook time was 2 hrs 45 mins for me)
We achieved a few things with the jerk turkey. We took a cheap turkey and evenhanded it with the jerk marinade and at the same time we cooked it much faster than if you were roasting a whole bird.