Christmas has become synonymous with turkey taking the pride of place at the roast dinner. From a turkey crown to a large whole bird fit for 12 guests, the meat is a tradition that many enjoy tucking into. Cooking your turkey to perfection will be the aim for many, with the bird serving as a key component on the meal for meat-eaters. And, with the majority of stores shutting up shop in the UK on Christmas Day, those on cooking duty will want to make sure they get it right. This is how to create the best moist turkey breast.
Cooking turkey is not always an easy task, and it’s important to remember that the length of time you’ll need will depend on its weight.
Jamie Oliver recommends that each kilo should equal around 35 to 40 minutes in the oven – meaning a 5kg bird will take around three to three and a half hours.
Check the progress of the meat by sticking a small, sharp knife into the thickest part of the thigh, and if the juices run clear and the meat pulls off easily, it’s likely the bird will be ready to remove from the oven.
According to the TV show Food Unwrapped, which put different methods to the test in the past, cooking the bird upside down will lead cooks to the most succulent breast meat and turkey crown.
That’s because the heat circulates around the oven – but don’t forget to turn the turkey over for 30 minutes before it’s due to be ready, in order to brown the top.
Andy Morris, Chef Tutor for Waitrose Cookery School and previous owner of The Brackenbury, West London has also been on hand to share some top tips with Express.co.uk readers.
In particular, the chef has warned that those set to cook Christmas dinner may want to invest in a meat thermometer this year.
“Over cooking the bird, is one of the most heinous Christmas dinner crimes,” he said.
“The best way to avoid this happening is to invest in a meat thermometer. Put the thermometer into the deepest part of the leg and breast.
“Cooked turkey needs to be at 75 degrees Celsius on the meat thermometer for around two minutes.”
So what about ensuring succulence with your turkey breast? Andy suggests wet or dry brining the bird.
“Wet or dry brining the turkey is a fail-safe way of having delicious, succulent meat,” he explained.
“Wet-brining is my particular method of choice – this can be done 24 to 48 hours before Christmas Day – and I always add a nice blend of herbs and spices like star anise and parsley.”
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The chef continued: “Dry-brining – adding salt to the cavity and outside of the bird – also produces great results and again, this can be done on Christmas Eve.”
After the turkey has reached the 75 degrees Celsius, the meat will need to rest – for at least an hour, Andy advised.
“Most cooks worry that the meat will go cold, but this can be avoided by wrapping the turkey in two layers and tin foil and a clean tea towel,” the former restaurateur spilled.
“This method keeps the turkey piping hot.
“Don’t forget to transfer your bird to a dish that will collect the juices – rather than a chopping board – or you’ll have it running down the kitchen cabinets!”
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