Roasted turkey with Chinese five spice rub

We don’t celebrate Thanskgiving here in the Philippines so turkey dishes are not as popular. And they are so expensive here as well. But my dad happens to raise turkeys so on special occasions we serve turkey to our guests. It is usually cooked roasted or as caldereta, a kind of stew. For this post, here’s how we roast turkey at home.

One of the things you will notice with Filipino cooking is that we don’t bake as much. Hence Filipino kitchens usually don’t have ovens unless one is into baking. So if we want roasted or lechon turkey, we do it the traditional way like the picture below. Instead of wood charcoal, we use dried coconut husks to cook with our grills because it is more abundant and cheaper in our place. To hold the turkey in place, we use a pole from a coconut frond, remove the leaves and cut it into desired length.


We cook it for 2-3 hours depending on the size of the turkey and someone has to turn it so it is roasted evenly. Now, I’ve got this handy meat thermometer that gives me an idea if the meat nearly done.

The roasted turkey below is what I served during my dad’s birthday early this year.


To prepare the dressed turkey for roasting, I marinated it first in a mixture of Chinese five spice (50 grams), crushed pepper and rock salt. I rubbed the mixture all over the turkey, under the skin, the cavity and make slits in the breast and thigh and fill them with the rub. I wrap this in saran wrap and marinate for 30 minutes (though longer is better, but I was in a hurry then). Then we roast it as above.


This post is also submitted to the Grow Your Own blogging event.


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  1. That is a beautiful bird. It must get a lovely smoke flavor from the fire!

  2. honey, if i could have an outdoor firepit, i’d gladly give up my oven!

  3. A scientist in the kitchen says:

    A fire pit, so that’s how you call it! Thanks!!!

  4. Wow! Nothing beats the taste of the traditionally cooked Pinoy Turkey (or chicken)…I miss this. Thanks for sharing!

  5. That looks awesome! I haven’t had really good traditional Pinoy cooking in years, and that photo makes me miss it! Thanks for a fantastic contribution to Grow Your Own! :-)

  6. yay, parang si big bird yun a! so big! sarap naman ng luto nyo!


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