Since we usually only have turkey on special occasions, we always want to get it just right. Luckily, we’ve learned a thing or two in our Test Kitchen over the years…

Top tips for turkey
  1. Don’t wash the turkey. Washing the turkey can contaminate your kitchen with a spray of tiny, bacteria-filled droplets. Cooking the turkey to the right temperature will kill any bacteria that may be lingering inside.
  2. Thaw the turkey completely before putting it in the oven. Place it in the fridge for a few days — up to four, depending on the size of your turkey.
  3. Dry the skin thoroughly with kitchen paper to help it crisp up.
  4. We highly recommend a meat thermometer, one that stays in the turkey while it cooks and lets you set an alarm for when it reaches the proper temperature. This keeps you from continually opening the oven door, which will greatly increase your cooking time.
  5. Elevate the turkey off the surface of the roasting tin using a roasting rack. This allows air to circulate under the bird, helping it to cook evenly and crisp up. If you don’t have a rack, use chunks of onions and carrots as a “vegetable rack”!
  6. Basting the bird won’t give you crispier skin. If you must baste, do it once only.
  7. Always allow the turkey to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
  8. Don’t waste the juices in the bottom of the pan! Reduce them in a saucepan with a little white wine and thicken with a little cornflour for an amazing gravy.

We’ve also talked to two expert local butchers — Dave Lang and Michael Fleming — and gathered some top turkey tips from their professional points of view.