Roast turkey is the centrepiece for festive celebrations all over the world. From Christmas to Thanksgiving dinners, roast turkey is a firm favourite as a bird that can feed a large number of people at once.
Not everyone enjoys the delicate flavour but its a tradition that evokes nostalgia. Sure, there is a tendency for many of us to overcook the turkey into dryness. But with the right technique, you can proudly serve up a deliciously succulent and moist meat.
The key to moist turkey is to baste the turkey regularly throughout its cooking time, and do not cook longer than necessary.
Ideally, you want to buy the highest quality turkey you can afford to get that depth of flavour in the meat. Bring the turkey to room temperature for 2 hours before cooking to ensure an evenness when roasting. Allow the turkey to rest for 30-45 minutes before carving to allow the juices to soak back into the meat.
Calculate turkey cooking time by allowing 20 minutes per kilo plus 90 minutes. If you are stuffing the cavity of your turkey you will need to weigh it again to calculate the cooking time. If it’s a large bird you may have to use bathroom scales.
Should I baste my turkey?
As turkey breast meat tends to be on the drier side it is good practice to regularly baste the turkey every 30-45 minutes.
Should I cover the turkey in foil?
Yes, we recommend covering the turkey with foil to begin with. Then remove the foil for the last 60-90 minutes to get some colour and crisp to the skin.
Preheat the oven to 190C. Line a large baking tray with strong foil that overflows on both ends enough that it can be joined up over the turkey.
Meanwhile prepare the turkey by removing the giblets and placing the onion (or lemon), bay leaves, and any other herbs of your choosing inside the cavity. Rub the entire turkey with the softened butter followed by a generous sprinkling of sea salt flakes and ground black pepper.
Place the turkey onto the foil-prepared tin and pour the chicken stock into the bottom of the pan. Roll up the sides of the foil to form a tent around the turkey.
Roast in the oven for 20 minutes per kilo.
Take the roast turkey out of the oven and roll down the ends of the foil. Baste the turkey with the juices in the bottom of the pan and return to the oven for a further 90 minutes.
Test the turkey is cooked by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the joint, the leg, and check the juices run clear.
Move the turkey to a carving tray, cover with foil and a few tea towels and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving.