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Bob Hart’s Turkey Brine and Glazed Ham

MML

Be a star in the kitchen this Christmas with Bob Hart’s ham and turkey recipes…

SMOKY GLAZED HAM

Hickory baked ham is a wondrous thing ? especially when you do it in your kamado or kettle, ideally over indirect heat, with a few sturdy, soaked hickory chunks. The secret is carefully to remove the skin from the ham leaving as much fat in place as possible, and then to score the fat.

To do this, run your knife through the fat at 45deg to the ham bone, right around the ham as many times as it takes, and then repeat from the other direction ? at right angles to the first cuts. Space the cuts about 2cm apart. This will leave a series of squares (or diamonds, if you prefer) in the fat. Into the centre of each of these, spike a clove.

For the glaze, mix 3tbs of honey, 3tbs of Dijon mustard and 4tbs of dark brown sugar with 1 cup fresh orange juice and 2tsp ground ginger. Simmer to thicken into a glaze. Coat the skinned, scored ham with this before baking, at around 180 C, for at least an hour, and probably quite a bit longer. A meat thermometer is very useful ? especially an instant read variety, such as a folding Thermopen. If you are cooking it in a kettle or a kamado, remember that hint of hickory. If the outer surface of the ham starts to blacken slightly, loosely tent with foil from the time this starts to happen. Finally, remove from the barbecue, open the vents if necessary, remove the foil if you have used it, glaze again with the last of the glaze and finish for 10-15 min at around 200 C.

NOTE: Remember, a commercial ham is already cooked. But give it time because if it is large, it takes time to heat through and absorb the benefit of the smoke and the glaze. And to become really, really delicious.

TURKEY BRINE

To make enough brine to cover the bird, use a generous cup of sea salt with three litres of water and balance with half as much sugar – brown, ideally, and raw Dulce sugar (from Market Lane coffee outlets) if possible – as salt.

Enliven your brine and, thus, the turkey, by adding plenty of orange zest and some juice, several flattened garlic cloves and a generous splash of bourbon. Also, prick the skin in a few key places to allow the brine to penetrate.

Dissolve the sugar and salt in warm water before making up the quantity with cold and, cooling more if necessary. Remember, also, after brining is completed, to rinse the bird in fresh water and to pat it dry with kitchen towels.

If you can source one of those giant resealable plastic bags, you will find it easier to accommodate the bird in your fridge, incidentally. Especially if it’s a monster for which, incidentally, you may need to double the quantities for the brine.

And here is Bob’s ever popular turkey recipe, first published in 2013…

A helpful US technique is to brine the turkey for up to 24 hours before cooking it. This way, both moisture and flavourings penetrate the meat and the result is spectacular.

So this festive season, buy a fresh bird of around 5kgs (for 12 diners or 10 Americans) and try this:

Make enough brine to cover your bird: use a generous cup of sea salt for every four litres of water and balance with half as much sugar – brown, ideally – as salt.

Enliven your brine and, thus, the turkey, by adding plenty of orange zest and some juice, several flattened garlic cloves and a splash of bourbon. Also, prick the skin in a few key places with a knife point to allow the brine to penetrate.

Dissolve the sugar and salt in warm water before making up the quantity with cold and, after brining, pat the bird dry with kitchen towels. Roast as usual – at 190 C for 2-3 hrs – remembering to check the taste of the meat juices before you add salt to your gravy.

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