How to cook turkey: Tricks and tips for the most moist breast this Christmas

How to cook a delicious turkey is already on the mind of most who have been tasked with creating the perfect Christmas meal on the festive day. Whether purchasing a crown or a whole bird, everyone will be aiming for the same result – to end up with a delicious and moist turkey for Christmas dinner.

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What tips and tricks result in the best breast, and does the stuffing you choose make a difference?

Previously, Michelin Star chef Asimakis Chaniotis revealed the best turkey stuffing recipe for good meat.

He said: “My top tip is to include a small handful of rice in the stuffing as it absorbs all the raw juices from the turkey creating the most delicious and intense flavour inside.” 

At Christmas time often the biggest complaint about turkey is that it’s dry.

However, one common yet strange tip on all Christmas food forums suggest cooking a turkey upside down to get the best meat and flavour. 

According to thekitchn.com cooking a turkey upside down resolves the dry turkey problem, thekitchn.com said: “When [the turkey is] roasted upside down, the turkey breast isn’t directly exposed to the heat. 

“In fact, being inverted means it’s actually protected and insulated by the rest of the turkey.”

The reason the upside down method works so well is because the heat circulates around the oven, cooking the legs quickly as well as letting the juices fall into the breast.

There are also many benefits to cooking a turkey upside down.

For example, since the turkey is flipped upside down, as the turkey roasts, the fatty dark meat of the thighs renders fat and juices to drip down onto the breast meat, slow-basting the bird through the whole cooking process. 

This means that no extra basting is needed when cooking the turkey saving you some time on the cooking process. 

The three top reasons to cook a turkey upside down include; The turkey cooks faster, the turkey doesn’t require basting and most importantly, the white meat of the turkey won’t dry out. 

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Some upside-down turkey recipes suggest turning the turkey over during the last 30 minutes of cooking to brown the breast skin, however, chef and culinary expert, Marcus Garrick, stated that there is a greater risk for injury than the reward is worth.

He said: “Personally, I don’t think the risk of injury is worth the little browning that occurs in the last 30 minutes of roasting the bird.”

Instead the chef suggests for Christmas turkey chefs to flip and broil (grill) the turkey for a few minutes to achieve a brown, crispy skin.

He said: “If you want a nicely browned turkey with crisped breast skin, instead of flipping the turkey 30 minutes before finishing up roasting, rest the turkey, then flip and broil (grill) for a few minutes under the broiler (grill).”

But, one of the most important things to keep in mind is your cooking time. According to Jamie Oliver, British chef and restaurateur, getting turkey cooking times right will ensure a smooth Christmas dinner with a delicious moist turkey.

He said: “Make a note of the weight of your bird, and check it again if you have scales big enough at home.

“Knowing the exact weight will ensure the cooking time is correct, and thus avoid an overcooked and dry bird, or a raw one.

“Get your timing right. And don’t forget to leave time for your turkey to rest when it comes out of the oven.

“Turkeys between 4-6kg should be rested for 1½ hours, and ones from 6-10kg can rest for two hours.”

Cooking times for a perfect turkey per kilogram (kg)

Remember to preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

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