It’s one of the most debated dishes out there – how to cook the best roast turkey for Christmas Day. Hear more from our Exec Head Chef, Chris Spencer, as he imparts his wisdom to help you create the perfect bird for your Christmas table.
Chris’s top turkey busting tips!
- Make sure you note down the weight of your turkey to avoid overcooking or undercooking.
- Unwrap your turkey on Christmas Eve and leave uncovered in the fridge – this will encourage a beautifully crispy skin – plus, if it comes with giblets remove them, cover with cling film and store separately, they’ll make for a rich, rich gravy.
- On Christmas Day, remove your turkey from the fridge an hour before cooking.
- If your turkey is over 4kg in weight you’ll need 20 minutes per kg + an extra 90 minutes of cooking If the bird is under 4kg, calculate 20 minutes per kg + 70 mins cooking time. To test if it’s done, make sure the juices run clear when you pierce the thigh where it meets the body. If not, put it back in the oven for another 20 mins, then test again
- Try not to overstuff your turkey as this will affect the cooking time and how evenly it cooks – you can always make extra stuffing and oven bake in a separate dish.
- If using a whole bird remove the crown from the main carcass (or ask your butcher to). That way you can cook the legs and thighs separately on a lower heat, 140ºC, for 2 hours, before adding the crown back on top and cooking further. This ensures the brown meat is cooked beautifully and the white meat is not too dry.
- Before roasting coat the outside of the turkey with olive oil and butter then season with salt and pepper.
- Remember to preheat your oven for half an hour before cooking.
- Placing your turkey on some roughly chopped onions, carrots, celery, leeks and herbs is a great tip for adding loads of extra flavour to your gravy.
- Once in the oven make sure you don’t open the oven door for at least the first hour and then, only every 30 minutes to baste – frequently opening the oven will affect the temperature and the cooking time.
- Use a meat thermometer to check when your turkey is cooked – it should reach an internal temperature of 70ºC when ready.
- Once out the oven remember to rest your turkey for at least an hour before carving – just cover it loosely in tin foil until you are ready to carve – this will ensure the juiciest bird possible.