How-To Guides

How to cook a whole turkey

What is a whole bronze turkey?

Our free-range bronze turkey is a smaller, slower-growing breed (typically up to 22 weeks), allowing for a higher natural fat content to develop between the muscle fibres. This important detail produces a firmer texture and bastes the meat as it cooks, making it reliably juicy, dense, and complex in flavour. A bronze turkey bears little resemblance to a commercial bird in terms of both flavour and texture.

A Christmas feast is never complete without a whole roast turkey. Turkey has all the nutritional benefits of chicken, with a distinct, robust flavour on account of the 140+ days age of the bird and the entirely free-range lifestyle.

This traditional festive centrepiece gives guests a delightful choice between moist turkey breast, crisp wings, and tender brown meat.

Whole turkey cooking time

Roasting a free-range bronze turkey will take less time than a supermarket bird. As a guide, roast for 25-30 minutes per kg, preferably measuring the internal temperature of the thickest part of the leg to 65ºC using a meat thermometer.

Importantly, remember your turkey will continue to cook once out of the oven, a margin of 8-10ºC should be accounted for, so remove it from the oven when the thermometer reads 55-57ºC. We would always advocate a resting time similar to the time the bird has been in the oven — this essential detail allows all the juices to flow back into the meat.

How to cook your whole turkey

  1. Remove your turkey from the packaging, pat dry, and bring to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 180ºC/Fan 160ºC/Gas 4.
  3. Smear softened butter all over the turkey and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Scatter a bunch of bruised thyme on the seasoned breast, and another in the cavity with a halved, unpeeled onion.
  5. Cover the breast entirely with overlapping slices of smoked, streaky bacon.
  6. Cover the turkey loosely with foil and place it breast-side up in a roasting tin.
  7. Cook for 25 – 30 minutes per kg (see the section above for a temperature guide). Aim to baste the bird 5-6 times during cooking, spooning the resulting fat and juices over the bird’s breast, legs, and wings.
  8. Remove the foil and streaky bacon for the remaining 40 minutes to achieve a golden brown breast.
  9. Remove the turkey from the oven and allow it to rest in a warm place. A resting time mirroring the bird’s roasting time is advised.
  10. Don’t carve the bird too soon or you will lose essential juices, resulting in dry meat.

Whole turkey recipe

Bread sauce is a classic British sauce, traditionally served alongside roast Christmas turkey. For a gamut of textures and flavours, try Val Warner’s Roasted Christmas apples with sausage and jelly to accompany your festive feast.