I recently called my local butcher, Allums, which conveniently offers a telephone order service, to inquire about a turkey for Easter. I wasn’t sure if I should buy a frozen turkey, as I wasn’t sure about cooking from defrosted. This is what they told me:
Frozen whole turkey could be organic, free range, air frozen, standard frozen whole turkey birds with a salt water immersion and fully basted frozen whole turkey. Individual families and home cooks will have their preferred type of frozen whole turkey bird and perhaps place an order for a turkey with a favourite supplier.
Roasting a Defrosted Whole Turkey Bird
Cooks who have bought a frozen whole turkey should strictly adhere to the defrosting and cooking instructions printed on the individual turkey packaging. Following these instructions closely should prevent cases of food poisoning from undercooked turkey.
Experts consider that it is poor food safety practice to start to cook a turkey slowly in the early hours of the morning so that the household wakes up to the smell of the day’s roast dinner. Instead, the overall weight of the whole turkey bird will allow for the cook to calculate a time plan for roasting the whole turkey with enough contingency time in case the bird does not cook as quickly as predicted.
Defrosting a frozen whole turkey bird is the first step in preparing a roast turkey. The next four steps are:
- Place the defrosted whole turkey bird in a roasting tray that will allow the juices and fats to be caught. Preheat the oven to a temperature of 190 degrees Celsius. Cover the turkey with a pyramid of aluminium cooking foil (tin foil) and cook following the time for weight instructions on the wrapper minus 40 minutes.
- With an expected forty minutes to go in cooking time, remove the aluminium cooking foil (tin foil) and continue cooking in the oven. The skin will become a golden brown.
- Start to test whether the whole turkey is cooked by inserting a clean bamboo skewer or metal skewer into the thickest part of the turkey breast and turkey thigh. If the turkey juices from the holes run pink, the turkey needs longer in the oven. Once the juices run clear, the turkey should be cooked. Cooks should take care when checking how a turkey is cooking under artificial light.
- Once the cook has decided that the whole turkey is cooked, remove from the oven and allow the turkey to rest for 20 minutes.
Allowing the turkey to stand will help the smoothness of carving the bird and offer the cook some time to warm serving plates and gather the accompaniments of roasted vegetables, a rich meaty gravy and herb or nut stuffing for plating.