You’ve collected your delicious locally raised turkey from us, then what? Well that’s easy, so here are some tips on how to store, prepare and cook your turkey.
Storing your turkey
You want to store your bird in the fridge until the night before you want to cook it, allow a few hours out of the fridge so it is at room temperature when it comes time to put it in the oven.
It is best to check your cooking time well in advance, the larger the bird the longer the cooking time needed and if you miscalculate and try to cook it quicker on a higher temperature you could find yourself with a bird that is dry and tough rather than succulent and moist.
Preparing your turkey
There are so many opinions on how to roast a turkey, some people like to cover with tin foil or even better bacon. Some cook it breast-side down. Others rub it with olive oil. We prefer to stick with the tried and true butter rub, which can be as simple as rubbing plain butter all over the top and sides of your bird, season with salt and pepper, and it is ready for the oven.
Claudia likes to use a compound butter – “I mix butter, shallots, thyme, garlic and blend it all really well in a food processor. I then rub the compound butter alllllll over the outside of my turkey and maybe a bit on the inside. This helps the skin get nice and crispy and golden.”
Stuffing is another topic with widely varying opinions, some people prefer to cook it separately, some only stuff the neck, some only the main cavity. If you are stuffing your bird, it is important not to pack it too tightly so it can all cook through properly.
We have always stuffed both the neck and cavity with a simple stuffing – mix together stale bread cut into cubes, chopped onion, sage and butter. A tip from my mother (from her mother) – “if you only have fresh bread you can add a teaspoon of baking soda to the chopped cubes and it will overcome the freshness”.
Cooking your turkey
Approximate Timetable for Roasting a Turkey at 325°F (160°C)
|6 – 8 lbs (3.0 – 3.5 kg)||3 – 3¼ hrs||2½ – 2¾ hrs|
|8 – 10 lbs (3.5 – 4.5 kg)||3¼ – 3½ hrs||2¾ – 3 hrs|
|10 – 12 lbs (4.5 – 5.5 kg)||3½ – 3¾ hrs||3 – 3¼ hrs|
|12 – 16 lbs (5.5 – 7.0 kg)||3¾ – 4 hrs||3¼ – 3½ hrs|
|16 – 20 lbs (7.0 – 9.0 kg)||4¼ – 4¾ hrs||3¾ – 4½ hrs|
|20 – 24 lbs (9.0 – 10.9 kg)||4¾ – 5½ hrs||4 – 5 hrs|
Cooking times may vary depending on: the temperature of the bird going into the oven, the accuracy of the oven’s thermostat, how many times the oven door is opened during roasting, the size of the turkey in relation to the size of the oven.
To ensure it is properly cooked a whole turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of 170°F (77°C) in the breast and 180°F (82°C) in the thigh. Any stuffing placed in the cavity of the bird should reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C). While we recommend a meat thermometer, if you aren’t using one, then if the juices are running clear and the thighs and legs move easily in the joints, the turkey is cooked.
A turkey, like any meat is also subject to carry over cooking, meaning that once its removed from the oven it’s internal temperature will still rise for a period of time. A 12lb bird can still increase 20 degrees in temperature if covered in foil and not exposed to cold air, and can rest for up to an hour after being removed from the oven.