Turkey for many people gets eaten once or twice a year and is part of a traditional Christmas dinner but also the main base on a table for Thanksgiving in the U.S.A at the end of this month. The main difference between a turkey and a chicken is that Turkeys are much larger and are much richer in taste than a chicken.
Therefore the cooking and preparation process required to take the turkey from raw to fully cooked can take a long time, in some cases a good 5-6 hours if your Turkey weighs in at 5-6 KG. So getting everything in place is the key to success if you are holding a thanksgiving party or playing host on Christmas Day.
Firstly let’s point out that there is only really one way to cook a Turkey and that is to roast it in the oven, as this gets the best results and is the quickest way to get it done. Even though they can take a good 6 hours dependant on weight a lot of people will cook them slowly overnight.
Anyway, let’s get started with the guide for you to follow:
Firstly the whole preparation process for a turkey can start days before you even begin to cook it, this process usually involves letting the turkey sit in a brine solution for a few days prior to being cut up. The salt water solutions will help moisten the turkey and bring terrific results your way at the end of the cooking process.
Turn up the oven to around 450F and position the rack towards the lower third of the oven. You don’t want it sitting at the top or in the middle at this stage. If you haven’t brined the turkey because you didn’t have time then you will need to season it now before you put it in the oven.
Grab some extra virgin olive oil and your choice of seasoning, this can be just salt and pepper or you can experiment with garlic cloves and lemons. The oil will simply add a crispy golden-brown skin texture to the turkey for those that love to chow down on the skin.
The next stage is important and something that people forget to do. Don’t just place the turkey into a roasting dish, instead add around two cup fulls of water to the pan and then place the turkey into this water or broth solution (breast side up for the best results, adding some foil towards the end to protect the meat). Once you have done this add the tray to the oven rack and then knock the heat down from 450F to 350F.
This is the part most people tend to get stumped on, and just like the steak article that we wrote-up for you a few days ago its all about key timings. Now, the problem is that every turkey comes in at different weights so people get confused on how long to cook it for, so here is the simple thing to take note:
Each 0.5KGs of Turkey (That’s 1 pound), should be cooked for 13 minutes.
So a turkey that weighs 6.3 KG (14 pounds) should be cooked for around 2 hours and 40 minutes. However, different elements can also change this cooking time such as whether it has been brined or if it has been stuffed or left empty. Just keep checking the turkey every so often and don’t forget to baste the turkey around every 45 minutes.
It’s really easy to do! Just take the roasting tray out of the oven and then tilt the track and use a spoon to pour the liquid from the base of the tray onto the top of the turkey. It may not seem like much of a big deal but believe us that basting plays a major part because it slows down the cooking time of the turkey because the juices you are pouring over the top of it essentially cools the surface of the turkey down which as a result will keep the breast cooking at the same temperature and rate as the rest of the turkey.
Once the turkey has finished cooking leave it on the side for a good 30 minutes (with some foil covered over the top of it) to let all those juices absorb to make the meat tender and moist. After 30 minutes has passed you can then begin to separate the turkey by carving off the thighs, wings, legs and breast for serving. The additional meat can also be cut from the bones of the turkey and used as leftovers which can be kept for a few days in the fridge or frozen for around 2 – 3 months.