How to Cook a Turkey – The Full Process

This process is the full method on how to cook a turkey, options that are additional but not required are marked with a *

  • Brining*
  • Stuffing*
  • Cooking
  • Turning
  • Resting post Cooking

Alternate cooking options include

  • Basting
  • Rotisserie

Optional Extra – 1. Brining the Turkey

Turkey is a large, lean meat, so cooking slowly to ensure cooking thoroughly can leave parts of the turkey “dry” One of the methods of doing this is *brining* the turkey.

  • Put approx 4l of water in a large stock pot and add herbs (as chosen), peppercorns & salt (optional). Add additional flavours as desired (citrus peels, dried fruit, whiskey, etc)
  • Boil and allow to cool.
  • No longer than 24 hours before cooking this Turkey (Christmas Eve Ideally) put the thawed turkey into a clean bucket & pour brine into the bag until covered. Once covered, tie off the bag & refrigerate until ready to cook.

2. Stuffing the Turkey – 2 Options

When stuffing the turkey, there is 2 options, involving either using a bread-based stuffing or straight fruits.

  • Remove the Turkey from the Brine & Drain
  • There are 2 areas to stuff on the turkey, the Neck and the Body.
  • Before stuffing, Rinse & wipe out the Neck and Body cavities very well and pat-dry the whole bird.
    • The First stuffing options is made using good-quality bread, seasoned with salt, pepper, hers, olive oil, dried fruits, etc. This soaks up the turkey flavour, giving it a seriously tasty result. This can occasionally suck the moisture out of the turkey and result in slightly dry meat
    • The Second option is stuffing cut whole/dried fruits inside the turkey, such as Oranges, Lemons, Cranberries, Dates, Herbs, etc, as desired for taste. The moisture and flavour from the fruits helps keep the turkey moist while cooking, and adds to the depth of flavour.

3. Cooking the Turkey

  • Preheat the oven to 180degrees Celcuis for a conventional oven and 160degrees Celcuis for a fan oven
  • Cooking time will vary based on the oven/size of turkey, etc, however a general rule is 35 minutes per 1Kg of meat. (#4.5Kg turkey, 157 Minutes)
  • Test by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the turkey leg/breast during near the end of cooking. Internal juices should run clear and not Pink when the turkey is fully cooked.

4. Turning the Turkey – to be done whole cooking

  • Turning the turkey during cooking helps keep the breasts moist, as the juices start to flow they are absorbed back into the breasts once turned.
  • Start the cooking process with the Turkey laying breast-side up in a well-lined and greased baking dish.
  • Cook for a quarter of the time, turn over, continue for another quarter of the total time, then turn again to finish the remaining half of the cooking process breast side up, ready for basting.

5. Basting the Turkey – to be done while cooking

  • Basting helps keep plenty of fatty juice over the breast and leg meat, and needs to be done every 30 mins.
  • Basting with the juices of the pan is the easiest option, however you can also make a baste out of honey & soy-sauce, or other flavours such as chilli based, or even a thai sauce.
  • Gravy can be made from the juices from the pan after cooking.

6. Resting the Turkey post cooking

  • after removing the turkey from the oven, cover with tin-foil to insulate the heat and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Other option of cooking

  • Rotisserie
    • Cooking on the BBQ Rotisserie works very effectively in keeping the meat moist as the juices are retained as the turkey cooks.