10 Tips for the Perfect Turkey & My Stuffing Recipe

The turkey is the centrepiece of a traditional Christmas Dinner, which is why cooking it properly is so important. Mess it up and not even the best side dishes will save you! So here are some tips on how to prepare & cook that perfect Turkey! 

A juicy & tender whole roasted turkey does add to the sense of occasion at Christmas!
 1. First things first. 
It’s so important that if you’re buying a frozen bird, that you thaw your turkey the right way. If it’s done improperly, the bacteria can multiply to a point where even oven temperatures won’t be able to kill all of them off. This can cause severe food poisoning. The worst thing you can do is to leave your turkey out on the kitchen-counter to thaw. The safest method is to thaw your turkey in the fridge.
2. When you place the turkey in the fridge (raw meat should always go the bottom shelf) put it on a tray to catch all the juices that will leak out. You should leave the turkey in its original wrapper. It takes approximately 2 days for a 15 pound turkey to fully defrost.
3. Buy a Fresh Turkey if you can, but don’t buy fresh turkeys that have been pre-stuffed as mishandling can cause bacteria to multiply inside the stuffing.
4. Add some extra flavour by loosely filling the cavity of the bird with vegetables — carrots, celery, onion & garlic work nicely together.
5. Before roasting, coat the outside of the turkey with vegetable or olive oil, season with salt and black pepper. Cover it with bacon to add more flavour and to keep it from browning too much & don’t forget to cover the legs too!
6. Cover the bird with tin foil and once you get the turkey in the oven, resist the temptation to open the oven door! Every time you open the door the temperature drops and all the moisture escapes increasing the likelihood of a dry bird :(
7. Preheat your oven to 180°C (170°C for fan assisted ovens), 365°F.

The general rule for Turkey cooking times  is: 
If it’s Less than 4kg weight cook for 20 minutes per kg then add another 70 minutes cooking time at the end. 
If it’s More than 4kg weight cook for 20 minutes per kg and add 90 minutes cooking time at the end.

eg. 7kg (15lb) approx. Turkey 
7×20=140minutes. Plus 90=230 minutes. 
Divide this by 60(minutes in an hour) = 3 hours 45 minutes Turkey Cooking Time.

8. About 45 minutes before you think the turkey is done, remove the foil from the breast to allow it to crisp up the skin.
9.Test the turkey after this time using a pointed knife inserted into the area between the base of the wing and the top of the leg. Push in the blade and the gently ease down on it. Juice from the turkey will run down the blade. If the juices are clear then it is cooked. If there are traces of pink in it give it another little while in the oven. 
If you have a cooking thermometer ensure that the centre of the thickest parts return a temp of 75°C.
10. After you take the turkey out of the oven let it rest, under the loosened foil, for about 15 minutes before carving. This lets the hot juices relax and spread evenly through the meat, giving a moist and juicy bird.

My Favourite Stuffing Mix

This is a stuffing recipe that I have used for many years. It is versatile and adaptable and can be used with any type of meat. This makes enough for 8 people – generous portions!

You really can add whatever herbs you like to your stuffing!
My Ingredients:
250g butter
200g diced onion
100g diced red onion
100g grated carrot
1 tblsp chopped thyme
1 tblsp chopped parsley
1/2 tspn cracked black pepper
2 cloves garlic diced
1 tspn chopped rosemary
1 tspn chopped basil
1 tspn chopped oregano
300g white breadcrumbs made with crusts and all
300g wholemeal breadcrumbs made with crusts and all
My Method:
1. Simply place the butter and all other ingredients, except the crumbs, on a medium heat and cook gently, stirring, until the onions and other veg are soft.
2. Add the breadcrumbs and mix in well until the crumbs have absorbed all the butter and juices.
3. If the stuffing feels a little dry (depending on the type of day, the weather, the heat of the kitchen or one of another hundred amazingly uncontrollable conditions) I tend to add a little splash of my favourite white wine at this stage and mix well and a little juice from the cooked turkey just before serving.

About IrishFoodGuide.ie - Zack Gallagher

Chef. Zack Gallagher. @IrishFoodGuide on Twitter. News about Food, Food Producers, Chefs and Irish Food Tourism, in Ireland. Food and Food Tourism Marketing at @IrishFoodTour. Irish Food Blogger and Journalist. Food Ambassador at @Failte_Ireland. Judge @BlasNahEireann Irish Food Awards #WildAtlanticWay
This entry was posted in christmas, http://verygoodrecipes.com/irish, http://verygoodrecipes.com/recipes, recipe, stuffing, turkey, Turkey Cooking time, xmas. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 10 Tips for the Perfect Turkey & My Stuffing Recipe

  1. Well done Zack – this is a really worthwhile post!

  2. Cheers John! Looking forward to catching up with ya :)

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