Cooking the perfect Christmas turkey is a time consuming operation.
For many people, Christmas is a special time of the year and if your budget allows: buy the best turkey you can afford. A good turkey is not only good on the day but also for all those sandwiches and leftovers that fill the following week.
Tip: When buying your turkey, always ask for the giblets (to use for stock and gravy) and remove them from the cavity of the bird as soon as you get it home.
Store your turkey either in the fridge (when bought up to a couple of days before Christmas), or outside if the temperatures allow to do so, or place it in the freezer.
Thawing times for frozen turkeys
4-5kg: 20 hours
at room temperature; 65 hours in fridge
5-6kg: 24 hours at room temperature; 70 hours in fridge
6-7kg: 30 hours at room temperature; 75 hours in the fridge
8-9kg: 40 hours at room temperature; 80 hours in the fridge
9-11kg: 48 hours at room temperature; 96 hours in the fridge
Stuffing can be made a few days beforehand. Keep it in the fridge.
Always ensure the stuffing is cold before filling the neck cavity of the turkey. Officially, stuffing the main cavity is not recommended due to the risk of bacterial growth before the internal temperature reaches safe levels.
Use your own judgement and experience in this, but always stuff loosely to allow for expansion while cooking.
Allow plenty of time
You can always let the bird sit and wait for you once it is done but never serve underdone turkey.
Calculate the roasting time
All ovens are different so find out if yours is fast or slow. But cooking times go by weight. Hence, a handy tip is to weigh the stuffing separately and add it to the weight of the bird. This will give you the total weight to calculate the roasting time.