Roast Turkey can be a minefield, but this will help you through it!
It’s that time of the year again, where everyone comes together to enjoy a Christmas meal with friends and family. It’s also an incredibly frustrating time for the domestic chef, namely having to navigate the plethora of conflicting information about how to prepare the perfect Roast Turkey.
Well, I can certainly simplify that for you. Don’t bother.
That’s it. Forget about doing a whole Roast Turkey. By all means have Roast Turkey, just don’t cook it whole. There’s a very simple scientific explanation for this. White meat and dark meat cook at two different temperatures. The white meat is cooked and starts to dry out when its core temperature exceeds 65 degrees centigrade, yet the brown meat isn’t cooked until around 75 degrees. Therefore, in order to have a safely cooked whole Roast Turkey, you will have to have dry breast meat; it’s an undeniable scientific fact that no amount of basting or inserting things under the skin type trickery can ever overcome.
What’s worse is that the white and brown meat require two different styles of cooking to get to the perfect finished article. The white meat can withstand a robust roasting to get a properly crispy and golden skin, whereas the brown meat needs low and slow to get the connective tissues broken down. The only solution to the problem is to have your butcher do what he/she was born to do and butcher the turkey into a crown (whole breast rolled into a cylinder and tied) and the rest to enable you to cook them separately.
The crown cooks for 30 minutes at 220 degrees centigrade, then for 6 minutes per pound (stuffed weight – very important to weigh it after you’ve stuffed it!) at 180 degrees centigrade. The legs and wings etc will take about 7 hours in a slow cooker on low (or in a casserole in an oven around 75-80 degrees centigrade); make sure the cooking vessel is non-stick or that they are rubbed in oil first. Some light seasoning of the legs/wings is all that is really required.
And there we go; that should deliver you the perfect Roast Turkey on the big day. For other recipes for the big day, see my book on Kindle or other major platforms.