A Christmas turkey can be tricky to cook. You’ve got to cook it slowly and low, but not so low that it dries out. And if you’re using a brine, you’ve got to make sure it’s cooked through before you take it out.
If you’re cooking a fresh turkey, then follow these tips:
1) Take the turkey out of the refrigerator 1-2 hours before cooking. This lets the turkey come up to room temperature, which will help it cook more evenly and quickly.
2) Make sure your turkey is completely thawed in the fridge before cooking (but don’t leave it in the fridge for too long — otherwise the breast meat gets too soft). Lightly rinsing it with cold water will help bring down its temperature.
3) Use a thermometer! The only way to know for sure if your turkey is done is to use an instant-read thermometer. Choose a thick part of the thigh or breast and insert the probe deep into the meat until most of the metal is hidden from view.
4) Before the turkey is ready for cooking, it must be prepared by cleaning and removing the giblets. The most common way of cleaning the turkey is by rinsing it with cold water. An important thing in rinsing the turkey is to make sure that no soap or other chemical products are used on it because these could taste bad when cooked if they get into the meat. After rinsing, pat dry the turkey with a clean towel so that it does not end up absorbing any water.
5) Rub butter all over the outside of the turkey, brush your favorite glaze or baste onto it then place into the roasting pan breast side up (this will ensure that it browns nicely).