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Christmas in Spring- bbq instead of a roast?

Santa’s been spotted outside the Scottish parliament building with his placard protesting to keep Christmas where it belongs. But he’s fighting a losing battle this year because Christmas in spring will become a reality for many of you because of Covid, likewise a bbq instead of roast. 

But you don’t have to abandon the turkey altogether.  

BBQing a turkey

Once you know how to bbq a turkey your life will be complete. 

You might even decide to go down the bbq route in December too should we get a bout of freakishly warm weather. 

Here are a few guidelines but you should always follow the cooking instructions on the bird. 

• BBQing a turkey is not like chucking a steak or burger on the barbie to cook over hot coals – it requires indirect heat. You can achieve this by stacking coals on one side of the bbq with the meat on the other side, using foil to deflect the heat if necessary.

• Use a coolbox to marinate the turkey in brine for 24 hours with 80g of salt per litre of water or simply season with salt and pepper – whichever you prefer.

• You can chuck the whole bird on the barbie but you might want to remove the thighs and legs as dark meat benefits from a longer, slower cooking process. Cooking them together could dry out the white meat.

Gas BBQs

• Heat the BBQ to 180°C with the lid down and place the turkey breast-side down in a foil pan. Don’t stuff it though so that the heat passes freely through it. Most of the fat deposits are in the back of the bird, so the fat will run down through it as it self-bastes. 

• Then season with salt and add 0.5 litres of water to the bbq tray and place the turkey in the tray and cook with the BBQ lid down for half of the recommended cooking time, keeping the temperature inside the BBQ at 180°C. 

• Flip the bird over halfway through and season again and pierce a hole in the skin on the inside of each thigh to allow the juices to run and the heat to permeate.

• Check the temperature by inserting the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast  – not the bone. The core temperature is usually 72°C. 

• Rest in the kitchen on a platter for 30 mins and then tuck in. 

Chuck another shrimp on the barbie

How about chilli prawns for a starter to liven things up and so that you can pretend you’re Down Under by repeatedly yelling ‘chuck another shrimp on the barbie’.

• Mix uncooked prawns fresh basil leaves chopped garlic, grated lime rind, chopped chilli and oil in a bowl and refrigerate for a couple of hours. 

• Cook the prawns on an oiled grill pan on the bbq for a few minutes on each side until cooked through.

• Serve with salad or salsa.

Vegetarian Christmas in spring bbq recipe idea

How about going completely off-piste with jerk halloumi burgers for your vegetarian guests? 

• Mix a chopped red onion with some white wine vinegar and sugar

• Chop chunky pepper slices and stick them on the bbq until beautifully charred

• Cut up the halloumi into generous slices, marinade in jerk seasoning and bbq until soft and golden 

• Drain the onions and stick it all on the bun of your choice with a dollop of mayonnaise and a suspicion of rocket.

Happy spring Christmas from CrimboTrees!