With Christmas and the cold weather here many are retreating indoors to indulge in many festive traditions like eating all the mince pies before Christmas Eve and pouring a little more brandy than usual but what about those brave souls that take on the challenge of a camp fire Festive Dinner!?
Now Cooking a turkey on a campfire is going to give you one or two challenges. One of those challenges is making sure that your bird is cooked throughout and safe to eat, any good chief will tell you that your bird needs to be at least 73 degrees Celsius throughout before you can enjoy a single taste of that succulent meat. Next, your going to need a decent pot that’s going to give you that beautiful, crispy skin that we have all come to know and love. Crazy you say? Not a chance I hear you cry…. Well It can be done, but we are going to have to think it through from the beginning and get everything ready early!
So, what are we going to need?
· A 5kg Norfolk Turkey (As is tradition)
· A little bit of Olive oil
· Salt and Black pepper
· Your preferred seasonings (I like garlic and onion)
· A huge Dutch Oven! Get the biggest one you can find
· A large handful of washed, clean stones
· Remote reading cooking thermometer
How are we going to do it?
1. let’s get a fire going, have plenty of wood to hand and let it burn for at least an hour to get some lovely hot embers.
2. Rub your oil all over the outside of your bird, season with salt, pepper, and your chosen seasonings. If you have some onions to hand cut them in half and stuff them in! (This is not necessary though to be honest, it just makes you look like you know what your doing and Gordon Ramsey would be proud of you.
3. Grab your massive Dutch Oven and throw your stones in the bottom of it to lift the bird so it doesn’t fry, make sure it doesn’t touch the sides or the lid.
4. Now, the rest is simple. Bang the turkey in the pot, stick the probe of the thermometer into the centre of the beast and make sure its not against any of the bones. Then place the lid on tightly.
5. Move your embers under your pot and place some and on top of the Dutch oven and replace when they turn to ash.
A 5kg turkey will take about three hours to cook this way but watch the thermometer! Remove when the internal temp hits 73 C, then for extra Gordan Ramsey points allow your creation to sit covered, for about 20 minutes before you devour.
Now there we have a very simple fully cooked Christmas turkey that you did all by your self in the woods, but always remember that turkey is a very fragile meat that tends to go very dry if it hasn’t been given the love and attention it needs so save those juices from the bottom of the pot, mix with a little Bisto and you will struggle to recognise the difference between yours and your grandmas Christmas day turkey.