Cooking Turkeys

How to Cook Your Turkey

Dry Brining

For best results cooking your whole bird, we recommend dry brining. This will give you crispier skin and help the meat retain moisture during cooking. Dry brining is essentially marinating your turkey with salt or salt combined with other fresh herbs and spices a few days prior to cooking. For this to be successful, you must apply salt to both the outer skin, and the inside cavity of the bird. This enables the salt to work its way into the proteins of the turkey, and deeply penetrate the meat to aid in tenderisation, and deeper penetration of salt improving overall flavour.  It also helps to retain succulence as it roasts.

Please note to follow this method, should only be used on a PLAIN / UNBASTED turkey, NOT a ready basted / self basting turkey for example.

Preparing the turkey for the oven

Remove the turkey from outer packaging, according to the instructions on the back of the pack.

Turkeys should be at room temperature before going into the oven, so take it out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking. Keep covered in a cool place.

Just before putting into the oven, remove the wish bone (this will make the carving at a later stage much easier) and pat both the inside and the outside of the bird dry with a paper towel.

Basic recipe

For best results, always cook using a fan assisted oven, however if not, gas and electric work fine. Preheat your fan oven to 160C / Electric 180C / Gas 4.

Weigh your turkey, and for every 1kg, weigh out 10g of butter. Use this butter to smother the turkey and season lightly with salt and pepper (if you chose not to dry-brine, you should be much more generous with seasoning at this stage). Example: Based on this calculation, a 5kg bird would require a 50g butter addition.

Add half a pint of water to the bottom of the roasting tin, not to help keep it moist but to create a bootiful stock when the juices are released. This will stop them over concentrating and burning. If the water has evaporated after the first hour of cooking (when you go to flip your bird), top it up. 

Cooking Times

Place the bird in a large roasting tin, breast side down first because all the fat deposits of the bird are in the back of a mature turkey. When it starts to cook, the fat will render down through the bird, adding succulence and flavour. Flip it breast side up after 1 hour. If the turkey is over 4kg, calculate the cooking time as 20 minutes per kilo, plus 90 minutes. If the bird is under 4kg, calculate cook time at 20 minutes per kilo, plus 70 minutes