It’s that time of the year when a turkey is the star of the show! At very few other times of the year, can this be said, but Christmas is traditionally the time for turkey. But, once cooked, it can sometimes be quite dry and bland. According to turkey farmer Paul Kelly (Jamie Oliver’s turkey farmer!) however, this really doesn’t need to be the case! It all comes down to whether you cover your turkey once it’s cooked…
In a bid to keep your turkey moist, it is normally really well insulated with foil; whilst cooking and once it is out of the oven. It is wrapped up, never to be undone, keeping all that flavour and the juices in with the joint, supposedly helping with moisture.
However, when you keep your turkey covered up like this, it keeps on cooking.
“When it comes out of the oven, the thermometer says it’s cooked and it looks cooked, but we all jump on it with a sleeping bag and a load of tinfoil because we don’t want it to go cold,” Kelly says. “That’s an absolute disaster because what you’ve done there is create an oven and the bird will continue to cook.”
“When you take the turkey out and you leave the thermometer in, the temperature will continue to rise for about 45 minutes. It will carry on cooking so you must never cover the bird. Put it to the side and rest it for at least one hour.”
“The tin foil theory is about keeping moisture in, much like brining, using butter, oil, and basting,” Kelly explains. “All that came about when birds were being killed younger and younger and younger. People were taking the fat out of turkey, it was going to be dry and you had to do lots to put the moisture back in.”
Christmas Day can sometimes not go to plan, especially if alcohol is involved. If your turkey has been out so that it has got cold, whatever you do, do not put it back in the oven! That will dry it out even more plus you stand the chance of not properly heating it through again.
Just carve it when ready and then pour your boiling stock on top – that will warm it back up again, plus adding some juices back into it.