Jamaican Style Turkey

The Best Jamaican Style Turkey

This Jamaican-Style turkey recipe is one recipe you can’t leave off your Christmas list. Seasoned in a rich green seasoning marinade and roasted on chopped veggies; you’ll have yourself the best turkey to carve for the holiday. 

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Cooking a turkey wasn’t something I’ve dreamt of doing but when my hubby D, brought home a 14-lb turkey my only thought was – how the heck am I gonna cook this bird?

In the Caribbean, we don’t usually have turkey dinners for Christmas, and we don’t actually celebrate Thanksgiving. 

However, I am in a new world, and in the Cayman Islands, they celebrate a lot of different holidays.

Photo by SJ on Unsplash  - TheShyFoodBlogger
Source: Photo by SJ on Unsplash

I suppose it’s due to the different people that visit or live on the islands. 

Since I’ve been here, I’ve met people from Nicaragua, Canada, the USA, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and so many other countries. 

So it’s safe to say the country is filled with an array of different ways to celebrate this time of the year. 

Now I know as I am writing this post now, it’s way past Thanksgiving and Christmas but I still had a 14lb turkey sitting in my freezer.

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So I finally decided to take a whack at how to cook a turkey. 

How to Cook a Jamaican-Style Turkey?

Now firstly, I had no idea where to start with cooking such a large bird.

So I went and did some reading up on what is needed. 

I found this recipe guide that gave the basics on how best to cook a turkey.

14 lb Turkey - TheShyFoodBlogger - Jamaican Style Turkey

The steps and ingredients were pretty basic so I thought it couldn’t be that hard. 

What I didn’t realize is the time it takes for this bird to be properly roasted so that one can eat it all up. 

Now depending on the size of the bird, you’re looking on at least 13-15 minutes per pound to cook it.

Given that my turkey was 14 lbs I’m looking at at least 4 hours. 

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And 4 hours it did take. I started this in the afternoon and didn’t finish until maybe 2 a.m.

Crazy right!? Haha, but it was worth it because the turkey was so delicious. 

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Ingredients You Will Use

The main ingredients you’ll need when cooking a turkey will be: 

  • A whole turkey – I used a 14 lb turkey for this recipe but you can use a smaller bird. Depending on your oven size and how long you want to roast it for.
  • Chicken or Vegetable Stock – I used vegetable stock I bought in the supermarket. You may also use water as well. 
  • Oil or Butter – Basting your turkey with oil or butter helps to keep the bird moist as it’s roasting in the oven 

Other ingredients I added to help spice things up: 

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  • Green Seasoning – My mom would tell me about using green seasoning to marinate her meat before cooking and I find it comes in handy for a recipe such as this one to help give the turkey some Jamaican flavor. I’ll leave the details of the green seasoning in the recipe card below
  • Salt – this is optional – brining your turkey also helps to give the turkey flavor and moisture. I’ve found recipes that don’t require brining but I do recommend it if the turkey isn’t pre-brined already. 

How Long Should You Cook a Turkey?

Based on the recipe guide, cooking time can vary depending on the size of the turkey.

For each pound, it may take 13-15 minutes to cook. 

So for my 14 lb turkey, it took me roughly 4 hours to be fully roasted. 

To prevent undercooking your turkey you may test your meat using 2 methods: 

  • Fork Method – Stick a fork in the thickest parts of the turkey such as the breast and thighs. If the juice runs clear then your turkey is done. 
  • Meat ThermometerHighly recommended for the best results. Using the thermometer, the turkey should be done at a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  
turkey, roast, meal-315079.jpg

How to Thaw a Turkey 

Just like thawing out any other type of meat, it’s best to place your turkey on a baking sheet or large bowl and thaw in your refrigerator for at least 24 hours before cooking. 

For faster thawing time, you can thaw your turkey in your kitchen sink filled with cold water.

Change the water every 30-45 minutes when thawing. 

Serving Suggestions Jamaican-Style Turkey

Since I roasted my turkey on a bed of chopped vegetables, I used those vegetables as sides and carved some lovely slices of my turkey for dinner the next day. 

Given I had finished at 2 a.m., I was in no mood to do anything after it was done.

I also made some gravy to serve with it. You can find the gravy recipe here

Other serving suggestions include: 

  • Mashed Potatoes 
  • Roasted Vegetables 
  • Basmati Rice or any other rice you prefer 
  • Rice and Peas 
Jamaican Style Turkey - TheShyFoodBlogger

Fun Facts to Note: 

  • Cook time can vary depending on the size of the bird. To best determine cook time consider a minimum of 13-minute cook time per pound of the turkey if unstuffed or 15 minutes if stuffed.
  • Most recipes would advise brining the turkey with salt which helps with moistness, flavor, and crispiness of the skin but I didn’t because I just don’t like the idea of so much salt and the turkey I used was already pre-brined which most turkeys will be. 
  • Very important that when thawing a turkey it is done correctly to ensure the safety of consumption. 
  • As you can always stick a fork to check if your turkey is done it is recommended to use a meat thermometer to check when the turkey is fully cooked. The desired temperature should be 165 degrees F.

Thanks for being here and I hope you enjoyed the recipe and content.

Comment below if you made this recipe. You can also take a photo and tag me on Instagram @theshyfoodblogger and hashtag #theshyfoodblogger

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~ TheShyFoodBlogger

Turkey Complete - TheShyFoodBlogger

Jamaican Style Turkey

This Jamaican-Style-Turkey recipe is one recipe you can’t leave off your Christmas list. Seasoned in a rich green seasoning marinade and roasted on chopped veggies; you’ll have yourself the best turkey to carve for the holiday. 
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 4 hours
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Caribbean
Servings 10 people (max)

Equipment

  • 1 Baking pan
  • 1 Meat thermometer optional
  • 1 Turkey Baster

Ingredients
  

Ingredients:

  • 1⅔ cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 whole turkey
  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes (chopped)
  • 2-3 large carrots (chopped)

Green Seasoning:

  • 2 large onion (sliced)
  • 6 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 3 tbsp. Ginger (crushed)
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 2 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 3 large green or red sweet pepper (seeds removed; chopped)
  • 6 stalks escallion (chopped)
  • salt to taste

Instructions
 

Green Seasoning Directions:

  • Blend ingredients for green seasoning. Add little water at a time to prevent a watery mix. Set aside.

Roasting Turkey Directions:

  • Thirty minutes to an hour take the thawed-out turkey from the refrigerator. Remove packaging and giblets from the cavity of the turkey. This helps to take the chills of the turkey and helps prepare for a better cooking time.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place one oven rack at the bottom third of the oven. While the oven is preheating, prepare the turkey by rubbing your green seasoning beneath the turkey skin and inside the cavity of the turkey. Brine your turkey if it’s not pre-brined.
  • Stuff your turkey with half of the chopped sweet potatoes and carrots. Truss your turkey by tying the legs together to help hold the stuffing together.
  • In the baking pan, layer the base with the remaining chopped carrots and potatoes then place the prepared turkey breast-side up in a baking pan. Pour chicken broth into the baking pan.
  • Baste turkey skin with melted butter or oil; cover with foil paper then pop your turkey into the oven. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F.
  • As your turkey roasts in the oven, baste it every 45 minutes with the juices dripped off in the baking pan. Use a brush or turkey baster to help drizzle the juices onto the turkey. (Remember to calculate cook time depending on your turkey size).
  • Remove carrots and sweet potatoes and drain juices from the baking pan which can be used to make some gravy. Carve turkey and serve with roasted potatoes and carrots or your desired sides. 
  • Check when your turkey is done by using a fork to stick three areas: the breast, inner, and outer thigh of the turkey. If the juices run clear and are no longer pinkish or reddish then your turkey is cooked; ensuring all areas are fully cooked for the safety of consumption. (Even though I used the fork method, it’s best to use a meat thermometer to check the thigh and breast area which should read the temperature of at least 165 degrees F in each area).
  • Remove the cooked turkey from the oven. Allow at least 30 minutes to cool before removing it from the baking pan. Carefully remove the turkey from the baking pan and set aside.
  • Remove carrots and sweet potatoes and drain juices from the baking pan which can be used to make gravy.
  • Carve turkey and serve with roasted potatoes and carrots or your desired sides.

Notes

Notes for Cooking a Turkey: 

    • Cook time can vary depending on the size of the bird. To best determine cook time consider a minimum of 13-minute cook time per pound of the turkey if unstuffed or 15 minutes if stuffed.
    • Most recipes would advise brining the turkey with salt which helps with moistness, flavor, and crispiness of the skin but I didn’t because I just don’t like the idea of so much salt and the turkey I used was already pre-brined which most turkeys will be. 
    • Very important that when thawing a turkey it is done correctly to ensure the safety of consumption. 
    • As you can always stick a fork to check if your turkey is done it is recommended to use a meat thermometer to check when the turkey is fully cooked. The desired temperature should be 165 degrees F.
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