We were delighted to be able to offer our customers organic turkey this Christmas. Here are our tips to ensure you and your family enjoy your turkey.
1. Preparing your turkey
- Turkey, like other poultry, can carry food poisoning bacteria. Proper hygiene and cooking will kill any bacteria present, but there is a risk of spreading the bacteria when you’re preparing your turkey.
- Unpack it directly into a roasting tray before placing it straight in the oven. Don’t handle the bird any more than is essential
- Your turkey will be oven ready when you collect it so doesn’t need to be cleaned. Washing your turkey can spread bacteria around your kitchen through drips, drops and splashes.
- Remove the bag of giblets from the cavity, and set aside to make your turkey stock.
- Before and after you handle your turkey, wash your hands with warm soapy water and dry with a clean towel.
2. Stuffing your turkey
Stuffing is great at Christmas and whether it’s breadcrumb, sausage meat or your own favourite recipe, remember to:
- Prepare the stuffing just before cooking. You can stuff either the neck or the cavity of the turkey. This only applies to birds cooked in electric, fan assisted ovens. For other oven types, we recommended that you cook your stuffing in a separate oven-proof dish.
- Only insert 10% of the birds weight in stuffing, the rest of the stuffing can be cooked separately. For example, a 5kg turkey should have no more than 500g of stuffing.
- Allow extra cooking time for stuffed birds. Use this turkey cooking calculator to find out the required cooking time.
- Check that stuffing is piping hot all the way through before serving.
3. Cooking your turkey
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees
- While the oven is heating, melt a tablespoon of butter or goose fat in a pan
- Place the turkey on the roasting tray
- Baste the turkey with the melted butter
- Cover the whole turkey loosely with tin foil and place in the hot oven
- Baste the turkey every hour with the juices coming out of it
- About half an hour before the end of the cooking time, remove the foil to allow the turkey skin to brown and become crisp. If the skin is already brown, keep the foil on the turkey to keep it moist
4. How do you know when the turkey is cooked?
Pierce the thickest part of the breast meat (between the leg and breast) with a clean fork or skewer.
- Are the juices running clear?
- Is there no pink meat?
- Is the turkey is piping hot all the way through?
If the turkey is stuffed, allow extra cooking time and check that the stuffing itself is piping hot all the way through to the centre.
Using a meat thermometer
If you have a meat thermometer or a temperature probe check, that the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh reaches 75°C instantly, i.e. as soon as it is inserted. If you have stuffed the cavity of the turkey, then the centre of the stuffing should also read 75°C.
We hope you found this guide to preparing your turkey helpful, and that you enjoy your Christmas dinner!