Christmas is just around the corner meaning that it is nearly time for Christmas dinner. Although a wonderful thing, it can cause a lot of stress and anxiety, especially for first-time roasters. That’s where we can help. We are here to answer your questions and provide a few top tips to hopefully take some of the stress away and help you to cook the perfect roast turkey.
What size turkey should I get?
The size of the turkey you should get depends on a few different factors. One main one is how many people you need it to feed. As a general rule, you should allow about 1 pound (uncooked) per person. Even if you don’t plan on having an army of guests, you should keep in mind that if you intend to have leftovers the next day you might want to get a turkey a little bigger that will provide more than one serving per person.
Top Tip: Not the most obvious thing to consider, you should also take into account the size of your oven. A classic comedic tale, many people have bought a turkey that’s the perfect size but find when they get it home it won’t fit in the oven! A good top tip is that if you need a turkey that will feed a larger number of guests, instead of buying one big one, buy two smaller ones. You’ll be able to fit them both in the oven and they’ll even fit in the fridge better in the run-up to the big day!
How long should I roast the turkey for?
Typically, the label on your turkey will give instructions to help you work out how long to roast it for. If it doesn’t, a good rule to follow is to allow about 40 minutes per kg or roughly 20 minutes per pound of the total weight of the bird, which includes any stuffing. If you are still unsure, the BBC have a really helpful tool to help you calculate how long to cook your meat for.
Top Tip: To achieve crispy skin on your turkey, you could try dry brining. This involves rubbing salt all over the turkey, which helps to draw out moisture. This salty moisture is then reabsorbed by the meat, which also dries out the skin, helping it to crisp up. You could also try increasing the temperature of your oven by about 20⁰c for the last 30 minutes of the cooking time.
Should I use a roasting rack?
Put simply, if you can, you should. The use of a roasting rack lifts the meat off of the bottom of the tray, allowing air to circulate around the meat which promotes even cooking. It also stops the meat from sticking to the bottom of the roasting tin. Because turkeys are often too large to flip in the tray, using a rack is one of the best ways to evenly cook your meat.
Top Tip: Don’t have a roasting rack? You can easily use vegetables to lift the turkey up. Simply use long carrots, thick slices of onion, or even celery sticks to elevate your roast. Doing this can also make your veggies extra flavourful!
Should I let the meat rest?
For the perfect juicy turkey, you should leave it to rest out of the oven before serving. If you were to carve the meat straight out of the oven, all of its lovely juices would seep out onto your chopping board. By leaving it to rest, you give the meat a chance to reabsorb these juices, as well as allowing the meat to coagulate making it easier to carve. Once out of the oven you should leave it to rest in a warm place for between 30 minutes – 1 hour.
Top Tip: When carving your meat, remove the legs by cutting through the skin that links it to the breast. Doing this will give you better access to the breast meat, making it a lot easier to show off your carving skills!
What can I have instead of turkey?
If you’re looking for something other than roast turkey this year, there are many alternatives that you can try. Goose is a great option, with fat that naturally bastes the meat, making it nearly impossible to dry it out. Another brilliant choice is gammon. Marinated in a honey and mustard dressing, gammon is soft and juicy and makes for a great leftover sandwich the next day.
Top Tip: Vegetarian options can often be few and far between when it comes to Christmas but there are many things you can do instead. Fish is a good choice and would pair well with those lovely roast potatoes that you might be cooking for other guests. If you want something that can go with a more traditional Christmas dinner, something like a nut roast or vegetarian wellington would work well with the other parts typically found in a roast dinner.
We hope that you have found these tips useful and wish you lots of luck with your Christmas dinner – we’re sure it will be delicious!
Remember, we will be open for pre-orders between Christmas and New Year. If you would like to find out more, please do get in touch and we’d be happy to help!