The Perfect Roast Turkey: 10 Tips for Making a Juicy, Tasty & Perfectly Cooked Holiday Turkey!

The holidays are here and the anticipation of sharing a succulent, mouth-watering roast turkey with friends and family takes center stage. These are some of the best tips my mother has shared with me that have dazzled my guests with a perfectly moist and tasty turkey roast - Yes, even my mother in law! :-) 

Try these tips to compliment your favorite turkey roast recipe.

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1. The Oven Temperature

Start by preheating the oven to maximum temperature while you prep the bird. Once the bird goes into the oven, turn the heat down right away to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

2. Calculate Roasting Time

For a fresh turkey, allow 10-15 minutes per pound in a 180°C /350°F/gas 4 oven. For a frozen turkey, allow about 20 minutes per pound. (There are cooking calculators available online to help you do the math. You can try this one:

3. For a Moist, Golden Brown & Crispy-Skinned Turkey

Place the bird on a large roasting tray, rub it all over with olive oil/ butter and make sure to season very well. Cover the baking tray tightly with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. Remove the tinfoil for the last 45 minutes of cooking to brown the bird.  At this time, you can baste the bird with its own juices a couple of times.

4. Infuse with Flavor and Moisture

Injecting the turkey is the best way to get flavor and moisture into the meat. You can either do this a few hours prior or the night before to really let fluid seep into the skin. Use a hypodermic needle or baster-injector to inject white wine, or use melted butter and herbs to create your own favorite marinade.

5. Prevent the Breasts from Overcooking and Drying

Find the edge of the skin around the neck and gently pull the skin back from the breast - be careful not to make any holes! Slide slices of streaky bacon between the breast and the skin.  Oil and season the turkey - then you can place more bacon on top of the breast to protect it.

6. Want to Add Even More Flavor & Moisture?

Make small streaky bacon rolls with a bit of crushed garlic and fresh rosemary inside. Puncture the thighs and drumsticks of the turkey in various places on each side. Push the little rolls into each hole (you should see only a little bit sticking out). Now you’ll have tasty, moist thighs and drumsticks!

7. Aroma and Flavor from the Inside Out!

Place an orange, a lemon, fresh rosemary, some white wine, a bit of olive oil/ butter and spices into the bird's cavity and tie the legs together.

8. How You Know your Turkey is Cooked

The juices should run clear from the thigh if you pierce it with a knife or a skewer. If you have a thermometer, dig it deep into the bottom of the thigh. When the internal temperature registers as steady, your turkey is done. If you stuffed the turkey, also check the temperature deep within the stuffing. It should be at least 165°F / 75°C

9. Patience, You're Nearly There...

Once it's cooked, take the turkey out of the oven, lift it out of the tray and place it on a board or warmed tray. Pour some of the juices on top and cover it with loose tin foil. Let it rest for about 30-45 minutes before carving.  All the juices will be drawn deep into the meat - Yum!

10. The Gravy

A good gravy is key. Once resting time's nearly up, get ready with the gravy. Skim the surface fat and add a bit of flour, stock and white wine to the left over juices in the baking pan. Place the tray on the stove and bring to a boil on a high heat. Steadily stir until the gravy starts to thicken.  Strain it into a bowl- It’s now ready to serve!

I hope you enjoy cooking and sharing delicious food with your loved ones as much as we do. Happy Holidays!

Author: Kanta Barrios