How to Cook Perfect Roast Turkey. Roast Turkey Cooking Times
An easy guide to cooking roast turkey, complete with cooking times.
Roast turkey is extremely popular at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you are expecting dinner guests then it’s always useful to do a bit of preparation in advance so you can dedicate more time to them and help things run as smoothly as possible in the kitchen.
First, make sure you know how much your turkey weighs so you can plan the cooking time in advance (see further below). Second, it is usually a good idea to take the bird out of the fridge the night before. This will ensure that it is at room temperature and start to heat up/cook as soon as you put it in the oven. If the bird still contains the giblets, remove these from its cavity.
If you are going to stuff your turkey then one option is to make the stuffing the evening before, again to save time on the day.
When you are ready to start, preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F / gas mark 7). While the oven heats, rub butter over the bird making sure its legs are covered too. Season with salt and ground black pepper and then arrange several rashers of smoked bacon over the breast (and legs if you like). Add the stuffing (if you are using any) by pushing it into the neck end and the body. Finally, before placing the turkey in the oven, wrap it in foil and then pop the ‘package’ on your roasting tin.
Once the oven is ready, place the roasting tin on a low shelf and cook at the aforementioned temperature for 40 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to 170°C (325°F / gas mark 3). For a 14lb bird (6.3kg) cook for another 3.5 hours (210 minutes) or for a smaller 12lb turkey (5.5kg) 3 hours at this lower temperature.
Next, remove the foil and bacon and cook for a final half an hour at 200°C (400°F / gas mark 6) in order to help crisp the skin. You should keep the bacon in a warm place to eat with the meal when it is served (or scoff it now as a chef’s perk!). Make sure you baste the turkey during this final 30 minutes at least 3 or 4 times.
It is important to check that your turkey is properly cooked. To test it, simply pierce the bird in the thickest part of the leg and other parts of its body with a skewer. The juices that appear need to be clear/golden and NOT pink.
Finally, drain off some of the meat juices for your gravy and leave the turkey to rest for 45 minutes (away from drafts) before carving.
Why not serve your turkey with perfect roast potatoes? You can find the recipe here: http://notecook.com/main-course/meat/how-to-cook-perfect-roast-lamb-roast-lamb-cooking-times/
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