How to cook the perfect turkey.

December 3, 2017

As a chef, every Christmas my inbox is flooded with the same age-old question – how do you do it? How do you cook the perfect turkey? Truth be told, everybody will have their own unique little methods, timings, seasonings and accompaniments. Here at The Limes Country Lodge, we know how daunting this time of year can be. Whether you’re cooking for family, friends, or both, the pressure is always on to make the huge, pale bird lying in front of you golden brown and delicious.

Before you start anything, consider the size. If you’re feeding a family of four with your typical family oven, odds are you don’t want to spend Christmas morning trying to cram a turkey the size of an ostrich in there. It won’t cook properly, and you’ll most likely end up damaging the oven. Similarly, you’ll need an appropriate sized tin to cook it in and gather all the cooking juices. Once you’re 100% certain you’ve ticked both these essential boxes, now you can begin.

With your turkey primed and ready to go, make sure you know the weight, which should be indicated on the packaging. This will help you time everything correctly, saving your Christmas bird from being a raw pink peril, or a dry disappointment. Below are some tried and tested timings in relation to weight.

Weight Cooking Time

4-5kg 2¼ to 2½ hrs

5-6kg 2½ to 3 hrs

6-7kg 3 to 3½ hrs

7-8kg 3½ to 4 hrs

8-9kg 4 to 4¼ hrs

9-10kg 4¼ to 4½ hrs

 

You’ll need to heat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 at least 20 minutes before you start to cook. Remove your turkey from the fridge around half an hour prior too, allowing it to get to room temperature while your oven heats, also minimising any potential shrinkage. You may want to place a rack of vegetables and onions at the bottom of the tray, for a delicious gravy with the cooking juices.

Ready? Loosely cover your turkey in foil and put your prize bird in the oven, remembering to remove the foil when there’s an hour left of cooking time – this will help you achieve the perfect browning. Once you’re sure it’s cooked, check the internal temperature is 70°C, then take your turkey out from the oven to rest for an hour at the very least, under another loose sheet of foil. Use the free time to prepare your sides!

While that about covers everything, maybe this year you deserve a rest. Here at The Limes Country Lodge, we offer a delicious, festive three course menu, comprised of the finest local produce, all freshly prepared by our long-standing Head Chef Karl.