How to Cook a Turkey - Make a Juicy Bird for Every Occasion
Whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas, it’s almost always a good time to cook a golden and scrumptious turkey. Turkey has the same nutritional benefits that chicken has but with a slightly lower fat content. This results in the flesh being better for health than chicken. However, it also means that the flesh is usually a bit dry. You can easily fix this by basting the turkey frequently while roasting it or also by marinating cuts before cooking them.
It's important to note that raw turkey should never be eaten, and you should always wash your hands, utensils and cutting board after cutting or handling the raw turkey.
Let’s learn how to cook a turkey the right way
If you’re looking to buy a frozen turkey, plan to head to your local store at least 5-6 days before you plan on roasting it. If you shop early, you’ll have your pick of the litter.
Make sure you leave your turkey for as much time as it needs to defrost. If you don’t let it defrost, it won’t be able to cook properly. After you finish defrosting your turkey, remove any giblets you find and check that there aren’t any ice crystals inside the cavity. In addition to this, pat-dry the turkey with kitchen paper on the inside and outside.
Before you place the turkey in the oven, it should be at room temperature. Take it out of the fridge before cooking. You should let it sit outside the fridge for at least an hour if you’re cooking a whole turkey or for half an hour if it is a cut. Remember to keep it covered and in a cool place.
Cooking the turkey is fairly straightforward. Set your over to a temperature of 190C/170C fan/gas 5. If you’d like to time your turkey accurately, check its weight after it has been stuffed. If it is a very large turkey, use a bathroom scale.
How long should you cook a turkey?
If your turkey is over 8 pounds, you can calculate it by adding 20 minutes per 2 pounds + 90 minutes. Conversely, if the turkey is under 8 pounds, you can calculate it by adding 20 minutes for every 2 pounds + 70 minutes.
Testing to see if it has been cooked is very easy. Simply pierce the area where the thigh meets the body and make sure the juices run clear. If the juices aren’t running clear, place the turkey back in the oven and heat it for another 20 minutes and then try again.
When you’re done and have taken the turkey out of the oven, let the turkey rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.
Know where your turkey has come from
When you buy meat or in this case turkey, make sure you buy it from a source you trust. It could be from the local butcher, a supermarket, farmer’s market, etc. You’ll be able to find out where your turkey has come from if you buy turkey meat from these places. Turkey meat tends to be of a better quality if the standard of welfare that the turkey was reared is high.
Organic turkey tends to be on the more expensive side because the strictest regulations must be adhered to during the different stages of the birds’ life. This results in the flesh usually being firmer and more flavorful. However, these turkeys are also usually not as plump as indoor-reared birds because they’ve had a lot more exercise during their lives.
There are other turkeys such as free-range and battery. Depending on your needs you can make a choice as to what you can afford and what’s perfect for your palate.