Top Ten Turkey Tips

This entry is filed under Christmas Recipes.

Tip Top Turkey Tips

Tip Top Turkey Tips

1) Buying a turkey can be a bit of a lottery.  As a general rule, Kelly bronze and Norfolk blacks are the gold standard and recognised for their gamey flavour. They are also the most expensive. White turkeys are also good if raised correctly.

2) Look for the ‘Golden Promise’ from the traditional farmfresh turkey association – a 12 point quality assurance code guaranteeing minimum conditions for turkeys bred under its scheme. Check your butcher is supplying these turkeys.

3) The Cooks Dilemma: Roasting a whole turkey (or duck) will always be a compromise because the breast and leg meat need different cooking times. The tender breast gets dry and tough if the internal temperature goes much above 155F/68C. Whereas the leg being full of connective tissue, is chewy if the internal temperature is less than 165F/73C. To try and get round the problem, you can brine the bird to juice up the breast. Or lay thick strips of pork fat (belly pork is good) over the breast meat to slow down cooking. More effective, is to lay a bag of ice over the breasts for approx 30 minutes when bringing the turkey up to room temperature,  as recommended by Harold McGee, a genuine expert who studies the science behind cooking. See results here. The ice ensures the breast meat starts cooking at a lower temperature than the legs and means they will both be ready at the same time.  Steam roasting the bird will also help keep the breast meat moist.

4) Don’t slather the bird with butter or stuff the breasts with it either. Melted butter taints the meat juices collecting in the roasting tin, which are essential for making flavoursome gravy. Steam roasting keeps the turkey meat moist, making butter unnecessary.

5) Use an oven thermometer. Oven temperatures vary at the best of times, but on Christmas Day they are bound to drop with everyone roasting their Christmas lunches at the same time.

6) Be aware that turkeys vary in cooking time too, depending on whether they’re fresh, frozen or free range. This makes it impossible to judge with total accuracy how long your bird will need in the oven. Cooking times can only be guesstimated, the best you can do is monitor it during cooking and anticipate when it will be ready. Turkey will continue cooking once out the oven and resting

7) Allow plenty of time to defrost a frozen turkey. Ideally the fridge is the best place, allow approx 10 hours per kilo to thaw. If your bird is too big to fit, thaw it in the garage or somewhere cool, where it will need 4 hours per kilo defrosting time.

8)Wherever you buy your turkey, whether it’s free range, farmed or frozen, allow 500g of turkey per person, this should give you enough left over for Boxing Day.

9) Remove the outer packaging and the giblets/gizzards from the cavity as soon as you get home and let the turkey ‘air dry’ in the lowest part of the fridge for a day or two. This process helps the skin crisp, as does oiling the skin just before roasting. Make a note of the weight before throwing away any packaging, so you know approximately how long to cook the turkey for.

10) Save yourself time and stress by making the turkey gravy ahead of schedule.  Then all you do is add the turkey juices from the roasting tin on Christmas day.

And So To The Oven…

4 Responses to “Top Ten Turkey Tips”

  1. WOW, nice site, I´m come back soon!. Really like your content. I am a designer and i have seen many sites. Congratulations, I´ll inform to my twitter friends and followers.

  2. A. Vaisely says:

    So good to find someone up here who really knows their culinary stuff.

  3. Susie James says:

    Great post and tips about the turkey. i’m going to try your tip about the bags of ice this year as it sounds such a good idea. i’ve enjoyed listening to you each week on Sue Davies afternoon program though i have yet to get round to making all your lovely suggestions – maybe over the christmas period i’ll get a chance. Have a great Christmas Uma

  4. I really like your website, it’s very good. I’ve also been experimenting with some recipes from your cookbook – they are superb! Have a great christmas!

Leave a Reply