Barbecuing is a well loved and common method for cooking poultry.
Seven steps for a perfect BBQ:
Barbecuing cooking times
BBQ Tips & Hints
The secret of a successful BBQ is good organisation before you begin cooking. Prepare what professional chefs call the "mise en place", with all the necessary ingredients, seasonings and tools, including the rack and foil for resting at hand. Barbecuing happens quickly and planning can make the difference between cooked and burnt - also between safety and danger.
Perfect for medium-sized roasts
With this method the meat is first seared in a pan to brown and caramelise the outside and enhance the flavour. It is then transferred to a preheated oven. This is a fantastic method for medium-sized cuts weighing 250g-1kg (½lb-2¼lb) as it helps the meat stay particularly juicy and succulent. It also gives a better colour than oven roasting alone.
A quick guide to Pan-to-oven-roasting:
About 15 minutes before you start cooking, remove the defrosted meat from its vacuum packaging and pat dry with kitchen paper. Allow the meat to 'bloom' and come to room temperature, this helps your meat cook more evenly and stay tender and juicy.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Once the frying or griddle pan is very hot, add a little olive oil to the pan, or brush the oil directly onto the meat to avoid using too much. Sear the meat for the recommended time (see table opposite). When you place the meat into the pan you should hear a sizzle.
After searing for the recommended time place your meat on a rack in a roasting tin. Leave the meat uncovered and put into the preheated oven. Use the table (opposite) as a guide to cooking times or use a meat thermometer. Be careful not to overcook the meat as this will make it dry and tough.
Remove the meat from the oven. Cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for at least 10 minutes. Resting is as important as cooking as it allows the meat to become warm, moist and tender. Use this time to warm plates, prepare vegetables or make a sauce.
Lay your table with razor sharp, non-serrated steak knives designed to cut cleanly through the meat. A blunt knife makes the meat seem less tender and a serrated knife encourages your guests to 'saw', both of which can ruin even the most beautifully cooked meat.
Perfect for medium to large joints
Roasting, also known as traditional oven-roasting, is the perfect cookin method for whole birds as well as for legs and larger joints. The meat is cooked in an oven with no added liquid. This is a very easy way to cook a nourishing and satisfying meal for a large number of people.
A quick guide to traditional roasting:
Before cooking, remove the defrosted meat from its packaging. Whole poultry should be thoroughly rinsed and gently patted dry with kitchen paper. Allow to come to room temperature well in advance or for at least 15 minutes before cooking, which will help it cook evenly. Preheat the oven to the required temperature (see table opposite).
Game birds and poultry need to be seasoned differently. Poultry should be seasoned generously with salt and pepper to help crisp up the skin. However, game should be seasoned sparingly with just a little salt and pepper at the last minute before cooking. Too much salt could draw out the juices from game and dry out the meat.
Cook your meat for the recommended time (see table opposite) or alternatively use a digital meat thermometer (see page 11). Be careful not to overcook as this will make the meat dry and tough.
TEST: The thickest part of the thigh must be soft when pressed. Another test is to pierce with a meat fork; the juices should run clear.
Once your meat is cooked it is important to rest it. Place it on a board or platter and cover with foil, then leave in a warm place. Rest for a minimum of 10 minutes for game and poultry cuts and up to 30 minutes for whole birds like goose. Resting is just as important as cooking, as it allows the meat to become moist and tender all the way through.
When carving we recommend using a large wooden board. Put a non-slip mat or wet tea towel underneath your carving board to help prevent it slipping. Ensure your carving knife is very sharp as it makes it so much easier to carve neat, even slices. Carve the meat across the grain into slices approximately ½cm (¼") and arrange on a serving dish or individual plates. See carvingtips (see page 37).
Please note: The times stated in our guidelines relate to a conventional oven. If you have a fan oven and are unable to turn the fan off, we advise reducing the suggested temperature by 15-25°C. Please refer to the manufacturer's handbook as recommendations may vary.
* Aga oven roasting times: For a 2-door Aga, follow the total cooking times above using the top roasting oven only. For a 4-door Aga, follow the cooking time using the top roasting oven for searing and then move to the baking oven for the remainder of the cooking.
Traditional braising or stewing
Stews, casseroles and pot roasts
The principles behind braising and stewing are exactly the same. Both methods involve cooking in liquid (often stock or wine, or a mixture), at a low temperature in the oven or on the hob. This gentle slow cooking process is a combination of roasting and steaming and transforms humbler cuts of game meat and nearly all types of poultry into mouthwatering meals.
A quick guide to traditional braising or stewing:
At least 15 minutes before cooking, remove the defrosted meat from its packaging and pat dry with kitchen paper. Allow the meat to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 140°C-160°C-/275-325°F/ Gas 1-3. Also prepare some vegetables (see hints and tips) to enhance flavours while braising. As a rule of thumb: one third of the meat weight gives you the weight of vegetables needed.
Heat a large ovenproof pan over a high heat, add a little oil and sear the meat until nicely browned all over. For stews and casseroles, sear the small pieces of meat in batches to make sure they are evenly browned all over. Do not burn the meat as it will taste bitter. Take out the meat and sear the vegetables until nicely caramelised.
After searing the vegetables, place the meat back into the pan and add wine, stock or a mixture - this is known as 'deglazing'. If you wish, herbs such as bay leaf, peppercorns or cloves may be added also. Make sure that the liquid covers at least 1/3 - 1/2 of the meat and bring gently to the boil on the hob.
TIP: Avoid boiling too quickly as this can make the meat stringy.
Cover with a lid and transfer to the preheated oven, or continue to simmer gently on the hob at a very low temperature. For the perfect braise we recommend using the oven method as the process is more gentle and the meat does not stick to the bottom of the pan as it can with the hob method. Check from time to time and top up with liquid if needed.
Cooking times vary depending on the cut and your oven. As a rule of thumb, you should check casseroles after 1 hour and at regular intervals thereafter. The easiest way to check joints is to use a meat fork, inserted into the thickest part of the meat. The fork should go in and out easily. With stews and casseroles, simply take a piece out and taste it.
Cuts suitable for braising and stewing
Hints and tips
This cooking method is especially good for poultry and is a very easy way
Cook for up to 2 hours for whole birds eg. chickens. Always add herbs like bay leaves, parsley, tarragon or chives at the end of the cooking process as it doesn't take long to extract their fine flavours. The liquid makes a superb soup or stock for sauces.
Low temperature cooking
Low temperature cooking is a fantastic method that can be used for just about every naturally tender cut of poultry or game. It involves searing the outside of the meat in a pan at a high temperature and then roasting it in a very low oven for a lengthy period. This method is often used on the Continent where it is considered superior to conventional roasting as there is less drying of the meat and the juices are retained, so the meat stays moist and succulent with a more natural flavour. A meat thermometer is essential for good results.
Cooking in 3 easy steps:
1. Low temperature cooking
Before cooking, remove the defrosted meat from its vacuum packaging and pat dry with kitchen paper. Allow the meat to 'bloom' and come to room temperature for at least 15 minutes before cooking. Preheat the oven (with the fan turned off) to 80°C and place a roasting tray in the oven to heat up. Heat a griddle or frying pan on high. Add a little olive oil to the pan or brush the oil directly onto the meat to avoid using too much. Sear the meat on all sides for the recommended time (see table opposite) to brown it all over. This will vastly improve both the flavour and appearance of your meat.
2. Using the meat thermometer
Season the meat with salt and pepper (do not season before searing as
TIP: Always preheat the roasting tray as a cold one increases the cooking time. Do not be tempted to transfer the meat to the oven in the same pan used for searing.
3. The cooking process
Keep the oven door closed during cooking. Opening the door lets the heat escape and increases the cooking time. When the thermometer beeps your meat is ready to serve straight away. There is no need to rest your meat as it has rested during the cooking process. The lower temperature allows the meat juices to circulate continually during cooking so the meat stays incredibly soft and cooks more evenly.
TIP: If your guests are late you can keep the meat warm at 60°C for up to an hour for large joints and 30 minutes for smaller cuts. If your oven does not have a setting as low as 60°C simply switch off the oven.
Hints and tips
• Any cut of tender meat can be cooked using this method, but we would recommend cooking bone-in products (e.g. whole birds) by conventional roasting. Quite simply the higher heat brings more flavour out of the bone, giving you a sweeter, more flavoursome result.
Most pieces of poultry are too large to pan fry successfully; boned poultry and game bird breasts are the exceptions. With this method, the meat is cooked relatively quickly in a frying pan with a heavy base or a ridged griddle pan, with a little oil over a high heat. The meat is usually turned at least once to cook both sides.
A quick guide to Pan Frying:
Before cooking, remove the defrosted meat from its vacuum packaging and pat dry with kitchen paper. Allow the meat to come to room temperature for a minimum of 10 minutes before cooking. This is very important as it affects the cooking process - cold meat takes much longer to cook.
Make sure that your pan is preheated to a high temperature before you cook your meat. When you place the meat into the pan you should hear a sizzle. Using a pan which is not hot enough can cause toughness. Add a little olive oil to the pan, or brush the oil directly onto the meat to avoid using too much. When cooking just one or two items, turn the heat down to medium after placing the meat into the pan.
Cook the meat for the recommended time (see table opposite) on one side without touching, then turn very gently and cook on the other side for the remaining time. Don't turn your meat more than necessary as every turn lets precious juicesescape and dries out the meat. Be careful not to overcook, as this will make your meat dry and tough.
Once the meat is cooked it must be rested. During resting, the temperatures within the meat fuse, the juices in the middle move to the outside and it becomes warm, moist and tender all the way through. To rest your meat, place it on a rack so it doesn't lie in its own juices, cover with foil and leave in a warm place for up to 10 minutes. Remember, it is always better to over-rest than to under-rest your meat.
Finally, always use a razorsharp, non-serrated knife to cut your meat. A serrated blade encourages diners to 'saw' their meat which gives the impression of toughness even on the most tender meat. A sharp blade slices cleanly through the meat and enhances the whole eating experience. Donald Russell offers a range of knives crafted from the finest steel that are a joy to use.