How to Bake a Turkey

Turkey is generally considered one of the hardest meats to cook and although we all indulge in the typical Christmas bird, it can tend to be served dry or under-cooked. Here’s a guide for how to bake a turkey in six simple steps:

Baking a Turkey

The following instructions for baking a turkey are meant to ensure your turkey comes out moist and delicious.

Buy a Fresh Turkey

By starting with a fresh organic free range turkey you are already giving yourself a head start. Using fresh, rather than frozen, enables you to cook a moist and tender turkey with far less effort and you will not need a huge helping of gravy to enjoy it.

Pre-Heat the Oven

Before you have even started preparing your turkey you need to guarantee that you will have a nice hot oven the moment you pop it in. Set you oven at 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).

Prepare the Turkey

How to Bake a Turkey

How to Bake a Turkey

Remove all packaging from the turkey and take out all the giblets from within the cavity. Rinse the entire bird to clean off any chemicals etc, and make sure you dry it thoroughly. This will enable to skin to crisp and the wet meat will simply give off steam whilst it is cooking. Once this is complete, run your hand underneath the skin to separate it from the flesh. For extra flavour to both the skin and the meat, place extra ingredients, such as sage leaves, butter and vegetable oil, underneath the skin. Now massage the entire bird with butter and vegetable oil. This will ensure not only a nice crispy skin to serve, but also that it goes a perfect golden brown colour. The final stage of preparation is to liberally season the bird with salt and pepper. Roughly chop onions, celery, apple and lemon, and throw into the cavity of the bird. Also add herbs such as thyme and rosemary. Not only will this add to the taste of the juices that come out of the meat for the gravy, but it will also infuse the smell and flavour of these fresh ingredients into the flesh.

Cooking Your Turkey

Now that your oven is hot and the turkey is ready, it is time to get cooking. Place the turkey in a roasting pan and surround with chopped onions and chicken broth; this will make gorgeous gravy once you are through roasting. Now cover the whole roasting tray with tin foil, preventing the meat from drying out as it is cooking. It is generally better to place it on the bottom shelf of the oven, if possible.

Turkey Cooking Times

Cooking times vary depending upon how heavy your turkey is. The typical rule is that you need to cook it for 20 minutes per pound. With the average turkey this should work out to be approximately 4 hours.

Checking the Turkey

Once you have taken the turkey out the oven it is always a good idea to ensure it is properly cooked all the way through to the middle. This can be done by sliding a thermometer into the deepest part of the meat. Once you have reached 82 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Fahrenheit), it is fully cooked.

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