How To Cook The Perfect TurkeyNovember 29, 2019
This year, our Christmas Box is making the holiday season easy by delivering everything you need to enjoy a traditional Christmas feast, straight to your door. In addition to the easy to follow recipe cards, we’ll also send you a foolproof festive timing guide so that you can relax and enjoy more time with your guests.
Our Christmas Box includes a turkey (a crown for 4-6 people and whole turkey for 8-10 people) from our trusted suppliers at Gressingham. Their white turkeys are reared free-to-roam in light, airy barns with natural light, fresh air, fresh bedding every day and continuous feed and water throughout the day. They are slow grown for 20 weeks on Red Tractor assured farms in Suffolk and Norfolk.
We spoke to our suppliers at Gressingham to get their best tips and tricks to cook the perfect turkey.
How To Prep Turkey
- Firstly, always make sure your turkey is going to fit into the oven! Check that you also have a roasting dish that’s large enough for the turkey to sit on with extra room for things like pigs in blankets. It should also be deep enough to catch the juices.
- Weigh your bird (if you are getting our Christmas Box, you won’t need to do this as we’ll have factored this into your timings guide!). Knowing the exact weight means that the cooking time is correct, and will prevent an overcooked and dry turkey.
- Rubbed in lemon and rosemary oil, our turkey is foiled baked for one hour at 180 degrees before removing the foil and turning up the temperature to 200 degrees. This will keep the meat really succulent and the skin lovely and crispy. We then baste the turkey with butter every twenty minutes until the turkey is ready.
- Get your timings right and don’t forget to factor in resting time. Turkeys between 4-6kg should be rested for 1½ hours, and ones from 6-10kg can rest for two hours.
How To Cook Turkey
- Heat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4
4-5kg – cook 2¼ to 2½ hours
5-6kg – cook 2½ to 3 hours
6-7kg – cook 3 hours to 3½ hours
7-8kg – cook 3½ to 4 hours
8-9kg – cook 4 to 4¼ hours
9-10kg – cook 4¼ to 4½ hours
- Get your turkey out of the fridge 30 minutes before you cook it. You’ll get less shrinkage when it goes into a hot oven.
- Always preheat your oven for at least 20 minutes before cooking your turkey.
- Cover the turkey loosely with foil, but remove it just under an hour before the timing is up to get the turkey nicely browned.
- Roast your bird for the calculated time, or until the juices run clear from the thigh if you pierce it with a knife or a skewer (see below).
- Don’t forget to baste your turkey every 20 minutes if you want perfectly golden, crispy skin (tipping the juices over the skin whilst the bird is cooking)!
- Once cooked, carefully lift the turkey out of the tray and rest on a board. Cover loosely with foil for at least an hour while you finish off the rest of your sides.
How To Carve Turkey
Using a sharp carving or chef’s knife, slice the skin near the thigh to separate the leg from the body. Cut through the joint, along the body, pulling the leg down to remove.
Locate the joint between the thigh and the drumstick, then slice to separate. Use the heel of the knife, near the handle, for the most force. (This also provides more stability.)
Remove the wings. Place the knife parallel to one side of the breastbone, making long strokes to follow the curve of the bone and gently pulling the meat away to remove one breast. Repeat on the other side of the breastbone to remove the second breast.
Gently slice the breasts crosswise. If desired, remove the bone from thigh and slice. Arrange the slices on a large platter with the thighs, drumsticks, and wings.