Turkey - cooking secrets

No Christmas in Europe and America is complete without a turkey. For Ukrainians this bird is still unusual, but from year to year, it is gaining in popularity. You should know a few secrets for preparing juicy and tasty turkey.

How to choose a turkey?

First we need to calculate the weight of the birds we are going to cook. It depends on the number of invited guests. For example, turkeys weighing 4.55.5 kg is enough to feed 810 people, for 1215 people the birds should be more impressive  9 kilos.

We have to decide whether it is going to be fresh or frozen bird. You should buy fresh turkey not more then two days prior its cooking.

Wipe the turkey inside and outside with a paper towel, place it on a large plate, cover with foil and place in refrigerator.

Frozen turkey requires a slow thawing, and this can be done in two ways. In the first case without removing the packaging, put the bird in a cool place with temperatures above 16 °C. The second method is faster  you should immerse packed turkey in cold water under 15 °C, periodically changing the water. The bird with the weight 4,55,6 kg thawed about 1924 hours, and 9-kilogram  up to two days!

When the turkey thaws, place it in the refrigerator.

Bird defrosting and roasting by weight

Bird WeightDefrosting timeBird WeightCooking time
 in waterin a cool place  
4,5 - 5,6 kg19 hours22-24 hours3,6 kg2,5 hours
6,75 kg30 hours34-38 hours4,5 - 5,6 kg3 - 3,5 hours
9 kg39 hours40-48 hours6,75 kg4,5 hours
   9 kg6 hours


Turkey giblets can also be used. Heart, liver and stomach can be used for cooking delicious broth. To do this, put the giblets into the pot, add chopped carrots, onion, celery and bay leaf and spices to taste. Pour enough water to be able to close the pan with a lid and simmer on low heat for 11.5 hours and strain afterwards.

Baking turkey

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator an hour prior the baking. Accustomed to room temperature, the bird quickly warmed up in the oven. This is a guarantee that the meat will be tasty and juicy.

Cut the chest bone from the turkey into, it will simplify the slicing of cooked bird. Put the stuffing in the neck and fill the rest of the turkey with half of sliced lemons or oranges and onions.

Bake the bird at 190 °C (in an oven with air circulation  at 170 °C), covering it with thee foil, but loosely to avoid «steam effect». Foil will avoid the delicate breast meat drying out. Every hour pour the turkey with released juice. A half an hour prior the end of cooking it is advisable to remove the foil, the turkey will be covered by with crispy brown crust.

How long to bake?

Whatever the recipe, it is easy to calculate the cooking time: for every 450 grams of weight 18 minutes cooking require. A stuffed bird weight filling is also considered.

Some experts advise to cook the turkey in the oven heated easily throughout the night, it can take up to 1011 hours. In this method of baking for every 450g of weight 15 minutes cooking require.

To test the readiness of turkey, put special meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. The figure 90 °C means that the turkey is ready.

The thermometer may be replaced by conventional needle. Put it in the turkey leg and collect the isolated juice in the spoon. If it is pink or contain blood it is advisable to bake the turkey during 30 minutes. If the juice is clear or pale gold that means that the bird is ready.

Put the turkey on a serving dish, cover with the foil tightly and leave for 2045 minutes more before the cutting. The meat will become denser and it will be easier to cut the bird.

Fashionable cut

1. First cut the legs. Hold the bird with the fork in the top half of any lumps. Cut the skin between the leg and breast. Take the leg aside and cut through by the place where the thigh joins.

2. Cut the leg half. Hold the leg bone up, separate the leg from the hip. Repeat the same with the other leg.

3. Cut the meat from the legs. Hold the shin with the bone and cut the meat along the bone. Do likewise with the hips.

4. Now wings. Make the breast cut down from the edge towards the wing. Find the connection, with the knife and cut it through, taking a piece of breast. Repeat on the other side.

5. Cut the breast. Hold the fork toward the turkey and cut a thin piece of meat diagonally from the neck grabbing a bit of filling. Lift each cutted piece, holding it between a fork and knife, not letting it fall down. The process of cutting the breast into pieces can be simplified: hold the knife horizontally, make a puncture on one of the sides of the breast. Cut the meat back and fro at the bottom of whole turkey breast, separating it from the base.