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How to make sure your Christmas turkey is cooked properly

It's that time of the year - the turkey is either sitting in the fridge waiting to be cooked, or ...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

09.09 24 Dec 2020


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How to make sure your Christma...

How to make sure your Christmas turkey is cooked properly

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

09.09 24 Dec 2020


Share this article


It's that time of the year - the turkey is either sitting in the fridge waiting to be cooked, or ready to be collected from the shop.

The most important thing is to make sure the meat is cooked properly and safely, and there are a few tips you can follow to make sure that's the case.

Dr Linda Gordon - Chief Specialist of Food Science with Safefood - spoke to Newstalk Breakfast to offer her advice.

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How to make sure your Christmas turkey is cooked properly

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She said: "You want to [figure] out before Christmas Day... how long your turkey is going to take to cook.

"If you have a fan-assisted over, we have a turkey calculator on our website... you can enter the weight of a turkey, click whether it's stuffed or unstuffed, and it will tell you how long it will take to cook."

She said cooking times are a good guide, but you also need to take into account factors like your oven's efficiency, how packed the oven is, and how often the over door is opened.

In order to ensure the meat is cooked properly, you want to pierce the turkey at the thickest part - between the leg and the breast.

Dr Gordon said: "You're looking for three checks - that there's no pink meat, that the juice is running clear, and that it's piping hot. You should see steam coming out of it.

"With those three checks, you know the turkey is safe to eat."

Those using a meat thermometer, meanwhile, should check the same thick part - it should read 75 degrees Celsius.

In terms of stuffing, Dr Gordon said they've done research showing it's safe to stuff the cavity of a turkey if you have an electric fan oven.

However, there's a chance the heat and air circulation in the likes of gas ovens may not be sufficient to fully cook the stuffing - so therefore it's better in those situations to cook the stuffing separately.

In terms of leftovers, it's recommended to carve the meat, allow it to cool down properly, put it in proper containers, and then keep it in the fridge.

Those leftovers should then be good for three days - but make sure to reheat them fully (and only once) if you want hot turkey again on the days after December 25th.

Main image: File photo of a cooked turkey. Picture by: Gado Images/SIPA USA/PA Images

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