Toronto Chef, renowned restauranteur, Food Network judge (Wall of Chefs) and social advocate Suzanne Barr is inspired by her Jamaican roots in the kitchen. Her commitment to social justice for people of colour and the LGBTQ communities is part of her mission. Suzanne Barr grew up crafting Jamaican beef patties in her parents’ kitchen alongside her mother, father and siblings. Suzanne Barr’s heritage inspires many of her recipes including this one for Whole Jerk Turkey. This turkey recipe brings Caribbean flavours to your Thanksgiving table or for your next gathering with your bubble.
Prep time: 2 days (brine and marinade) + 4-5 hours
Cooking Time: 4-5 hours
-1 whole turkey, approx. 12 lbs
-10 liters of warm water
-3 1/2 cup kosher salt
-1 1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 orange sliced lengthwise
-1 head of garlic cut in half lengthwise
-6 tsp allspice berries
-1 bunch fresh thyme
-1 whole scotch bonnet pepper, cut in half
-6 whole bay leaves
Jerk Sauce Paste (Yields: 3 ¾ cup)
-5 bunches of scallions, washed
-6 small carrots peeled, cut into half moon carrots
-5 scotch bonnet peppers, charred
-½ cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
-3 Tbsp fresh thyme, leaves only
-5 cloves garlic
-⅓ cup allspice, ground
-1 cup orange juice
-4 tbsp white vinegar
-3 Tbsp brown sugar
Splash of lime juice
-2 tsp cinnamon, ground
-2 tsp cloves, ground
For the Jerk Brine:
1) Mix all ingredients together and make sure all of the sugar and salt are dissolved.
2) Place bird into brining vessel and pour brine mixture on top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. **Please make sure the whole bird is submerged in brine.
Prepare the Jerk Sauce Paste:
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl place scallion, carrots and scotch bonnets, drizzle 2 tablespoons of canola oil and coat ingredients well.
2) Prepare a sheet tray with parchment paper and spread ingredients evenly on the tray. Roast in the oven until ingredients are charred but not burnt for about 20-25 minutes.
3) Remove from the oven and allow to cool before roughly chopping and placing in a food processor with remaining ingredients. Puree ingredients until they form a thick paste like consistency.
4) Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper really well. Rub the jerk paste all over the turkey including the wing tips, turkey neck and the cavity under the skin to marinate for a minimum 24 hours.
Roast the turkey:
1) Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and place the bird in a roasting pan with a grate to elevate it from the base of the pan. This allows for the juices to gather and eventually to pour off these juices and use for basting the bird.
2) Cover the bird with foil and set your timers. Your bird will roughly take between 4 – 4 ½ hours depending on your home oven if you have a convection option on the stove. You are seeking an internal temperature of 170 degrees, juices running clear. Every hour baste your turkey by using a baster or spooning the jerk juices collected in the roasting pan back onto the turkey.
3) 30 minutes before the bird is fully cooked (internal temperature of 155-160 degrees), remove the foil carefully without tearing the skin from the bird. Crank the oven up to 425 degrees to roast the bird and to seal in the caramelization and juicy meat. Enjoy that Jerk Turkey!
I am a fan of slow and low approach, allowing the flavours to slowly infuse with the bird and sweeten and caramelize the skin to perfection. Ideally jerk turkey needs to be smoked and grilled if you have a large enough smoker make sure to read the instructions as per your smoker and calculate on the weight of your bird. Keep in mind that the scallions, carrots, and scotch bonnet were charred specifically to help mimic that smoky flavour.
Recipe courtesy of Think Turkey.