Jamaican Holiday Turkey

I was standing in line one day at my local discount store. There was a Jamaican women in front of me who turns and says in a thick accent, "Man, what are you making for Christmas this year?” Of course I explained that I’m Jewish and we don’t celebrate that, but that I had family coming over for Thanksgiving. So to make a long story short she gives my wife and me this recipe for her Xmas turkey. It sounded good, so after a few tweaks and some recipe manipulation, I made it. It was great. Now you too can bring some Island warmth to your holiday table.

Start with a great whole turkey from KOL Foods. You know the quality already, pasture raised, no growth hormones or antibiotics. Just great taste because it has lived its life in a virtual turkey spa.

  • KOL Foods Pastured, organic Whole Turkey
  • 3 Large Onions
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Heads of Garlic – peeled
  • 2 Oranges
  • 2 Lemons
  • 2 Limes
  • Kosher Salt
  • Granulated garlic powder
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Probe Thermometer

First slice the onions into thick slices (about an inch) and place them on the bottom of a roasting pan.

Put the turkey breast-side down in the roasting pan on top of the onions. This will help to keep the skin crisp, without letting the turkey poach in its own juices.

Next give the turkey an olive oil rub down. Gently massage the oil into the skin. You can also use margarine for this as well. (Double check that the oleo is parve)

Now, take the garlic cloves and place as many as you can under the skin of the turkey. You can cut tiny slits in the skin to get some in, but don’t go crazy. You can fit some in under the skin at the neck and at the cavity. Don’t forget the back of the bird as well. Also place some in the cavity and between the wings and breast and between the legs and thighs as well.

Next, squeeze the juice out of the citrus right onto the bird. Try to get all you can out of them. You can also do this in a juicer and then pour the juice on. But don’t throw out the rinds. Use them to stuff the cavity of the turkey. They’ll provide great aromatics during the cooking.

Dust the turkey with the salt, granulated garlic and finally with the thyme. Make sure the turkey is breast side down in the roasting pan. Place it in a 350-degree oven for about a half hour, just enough to get the skin on the backside of the bird crispy.

Once done, carefully take the bird out, and flip it on its back, breast up. I use BBQ tongs to do this. Now insert the probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. Put back in the oven and cook until the temperature reads 145 degrees. Check on the turkey during this process to make sure that the skin doesn’t burn. If it starts to get too done, place a piece of aluminum foil over the skin and keep cooking.

Once the turkey is done, take out of the oven and let rest for at least twenty minutes. Now slice.

(The thighs may be slightly under done at this point. If so, slice them up and put the leg and thigh meat into some of the phenomenal drippings that are on the bottom of the pan and put back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes or so until they’re done.)

I serve this with my homemade stuffing, Asian green beans, herb roasted potatoes and cranberry cosmopolitan sauce. But that’s another recipe or four.

Have a great holiday.

L’Chaim . . . Avi