Allow 2 to 3 lb , 0.9Kg to 1.3 Kg of turkey per person for a Christmas dinner.
A family of 4 would need an oven ready turkey weighing between 8 lb and 12 lb, 3.6Kg to 5.5Kg
The prepared turkey should be washed well in cold water both inside and out and allowed to drain. Any neck or giblets inside should be removed. Frozen turkey must be completely thawed before cooking starts.
Rub the skin with butter and then season lightly with salt and pepper. Lay several rashers of fatty streaky bacon to cover the breast and cover the turkey with foil. This can form a good lid over the roasting tin, or the turkey can be placed on foil which is then folded and crimped over the top of the turkey.
Place the meat in a roasting tin on the middle shelf of a hot oven
gas mark 7 425°F 220°C
After 30 minutes turn the heat down to moderately hot.
gas mark 3 325°F 170°C
for 2½ to 3 hours
Then turn the heat up to
gas mark 6 400°F 200°C
and remove the foil and bacon for the final 30 minutes.
Baste the turkey with its own juices several times in this final 30 minutes.
The cooked turkey should then be allowed to relax in a warm place for 30 minutes before serving.
To check to see if the bird is cooked run a skewer through the thickest thigh meat. The juice should be golden with no trace of pink. The juices that run out of the body cavity should also be clear, not pink.
We have a family of seven for Christmas and purchase a 14lb / 6.3Kg fresh turkey. This is cooked for 40 minutes at the initial high temperature. For 3½ hours at the lower temperature and then 40 minutes for the final crisping of the skin without foil.