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How to cook a Christmas turkey: Tips from an executive chef in Kelowna

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Summerhill Winery executive chef Jeremy Luypen shares his secrets for a stress-free Christmas turkey – Dec 20, 2019

Jeremy Luypen is the executive chef at Summerhill Pyramid Winery.

“To cook the perfect bird, you have to start with the perfect bird,” Luypen said.

“Fresh if you can get it is the best way to go.”

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If you have to go with a frozen bird, Luypen says make sure you thaw it thoroughly in the fridge.

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“Don’t run it under cold water. Don’t purge it in the sink. Just low and slow in your fridge over a couple of days,” Luypen said.

The executive chef also recommends placing the bird in a brine.

“A brine is just a mixture of water, salt, seasoning and a little bit of vinegar,” explained Luypen, adding a turkey can be brined for around a day and a half in the fridge.

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A brine helps give the turkey flavour and makes sure it stays moist during the cooking process.

Luypen suggests stuffing only aromatics in the turkey cavity.

“If we have to cook it so the stuffing is cooked inside, chances are the meat is going to be dry on the outside,” Luypen warned.

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Before baking, Luypen likes to truss or tie his turkey up.

“It helps keep the bird from drying out when cooking,” said Luypen.

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In order to bring the bird to that perfect brown crisp we all love, Luypen will drizzle the turkey in olive oil.

And when it comes to cooking turkey properly, Luypen swears by a temperature probe.

“I want to cook a bird to about 155 to 160 degrees,” Luypen said.

“They say poultry isn’t done until 180 [internal temperature], but when you take something out of the oven, it doesn’t stop cooking. You have allow for carry over cooking time.”
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Luypen says that the average turkey will continue to cook even when it’s removed from the oven, rising up 20 degrees in a half hour.

“It gets to that 200, 220 [degrees] on the counter,” said Luypen, “so you risk over cooking it.”
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