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Why was my free-range bronze turkey dry?

(22 Posts)
Bodenbabe Wed 30-Dec-09 09:11:24

I was expecting miracles but it tasted just like any normal old dry turkey What's likely to be the main culprit?

1. Over-cooking (I cooked it longer than Nigella recommended but the bloomin' pop-up timer didn't pop up so I kept cooking it (I think the timer was probably faulty).

2. Wrong temperature. There are so many different methods of cooking turkeys and it was so confusing to know which one to do. Very high then low or low throughout... too much variation in advice!

2. I didn't roast it upside down.

3. I didn't put butter under the skin (incidentally, which do you think is best - butter under the skin right way up, or upside down?)

4. I cooked it without foil (as was recommended) for at least an hour before my mother announced you simply HAD to cook turkey with foil on it

Delia, Jamie, Nigella and co all say that if you do it <whatever> way then you'll never get a dry turkey, so why did I?!

jools42 Wed 30-Dec-09 09:35:02

I would say probably the overcooking. Also did you rest it before carving? This helps settle the juices.x

morningpaper Wed 30-Dec-09 09:39:18

stuffing - what did you stuff it with? I find sausage meat to be the best

Rindercella Wed 30-Dec-09 09:40:59

I cooked a bronze turkey this year (as I normally do) and DH said it was the best turkey he'd ever had. It was moist & lovely. I cooked it by firstly chopping up loads of veg & putting them in the bottom of the roasting dish. Then put the turkey on a rack over them. Then covered the turkey in butter (all over the top, didn't go under the skin), then covered in bacon. Then I sealed dish in tin foil and put in the oven, removing foil for about 30 minutes before taking out of the oven. I rested it for about 20 minutes before carving. It was bloody lovely.

Rindercella Wed 30-Dec-09 09:41:41

Ooh yes, I stufffed it with my homemade sausage, sage & onion stuffing

LIZS Wed 30-Dec-09 09:58:24

Similar to Rindercella here, smoothed with butter, layers of bacon and covered in foil(in fact it browned without taking foil off), but didn't stuff it and placed celery in the cavity. Ours had a pop up indicator so you could see when it was done. Very moist and tasty - we had a Sainsbury's free range.

Ladymuck Wed 30-Dec-09 10:03:30

Know nothing about pop up timers but I would guess overcooking. Did you baste during cooking? How much longer did you cook it for?

AliBellandthe40jingles Wed 30-Dec-09 10:12:46

Our turkey gets a smear of butter over the skin, then a layer of streaky bacon, then a layer of butter papers which have been saved through the year for this precise purpose - and then a foil tent.
High oven to start and then turn it down. My Mum had always used Delia's timings, I do the same and the turkey is always moist and delicious.

If you were cooking it with no foil or other covering then it would dry out very quickly.

Bodenbabe Wed 30-Dec-09 10:14:44

It rested for a good hour and I didn't stuff it at all, I cooked that separately. I only basted it once during cooking - should I have done it more? I suppose I cooked it for about 30 mins longer that it was supposed to. I am always confused about the temp on the meat thermometer - my thermometer says that poultry is cooked at 90 degrees but Nigella says that 75 is right for white turkeys but free range bronzes are actually 65. Oh and when I pierced it to check for juices there were none, maybe that was a bad sign!

morningpaper Wed 30-Dec-09 10:26:32

The lack of stuffing is your problem

I actually throw out the stuffing I use inside the turkey which is probably overly paranoid, but it's there to keep it moist

If you don't use sausagemeat, you could try stuffing in an apple or two or a lemon

but with no stuffing yes, it will be dry - it needs that moisture from the inside

mvemjsunp Wed 30-Dec-09 10:26:35

You probably just cooked it too long.

I use Nigella's upside down method but have learnt to take 30 minutes off her timings, and to cook it even cooler. I don't use foil, bacon or stuffing.

I had an 8.5kg bird and cooked it for 2.5 hours at 150C (fan oven). Any longer, and it would have started to dry out.

Crazycatlady Wed 30-Dec-09 10:28:54

Sorry your turkey was dry sad

If it's a free range bronze from Kelly's or Copas I'd say overcooking perhaps, or not cooking it upside down (until the last 30 mins). FWIW those pop up timers never pop when they should, mine always pops while our turkey is resting!

For comparison, we always get a Copas bird, and it comes with a short cooking guide which we always follow and it produces a wonderful succulent bird. It advises:
- shove an onion and an apple up it's arse
- cook in foil, upside down until last 30 mins, turn and uncover
- high heat (220) for first 40 mins, then down to roasting temp (190) - if fan oven, then reduce temps by 10%
- rest for at least 30 mins before carving
- no butter, basting, bacon or other faffing required

If it wasn't a Kelly or Copas turkey then it might just not have been as good sad which is annoying as it probably still cost a fair bit. You can artificially make a lesser bird taste juicy with butter and whatnot, but this is an enormous faff and the end result is still inferior which is such a disappointment at Christmas!

overmydeadbody Wed 30-Dec-09 10:29:41

you probably overcooked it.

Why would a free range bronze turkey be expected to be less dry than any other turkey? At the end of the day it's still the same bird lol

overmydeadbody Wed 30-Dec-09 10:30:39

More ethical meat doesn't qual tastier meat. A happy turkey can still be a dry turkey grin

Crazycatlady Wed 30-Dec-09 10:37:06

Oh I sort of disagree, overmydeadbody. A better quality, well cared for animal will always have a better flavour than a cheap, poorly cared for one. But, that doesn't stop you overcooking it!

Rindercella Wed 30-Dec-09 12:01:40

I agree with you Crazy. Even the free range chicken from my local farm shop tastes far, far better than the free range chicken from Sainsbury's - there is a huge difference between the two.

We had a Kelly's bronze turkey this year, cooked as above & as I said before, it was delicious.

Crazycatlady Wed 30-Dec-09 12:53:20

Sounds delicious. I could almost eat Christmas Dinner all over again grin

mrsgboring Wed 30-Dec-09 15:28:24

Free range turkeys have better fat marbling owing to growing slower and getting more exercise.

I had to do a low fat turkey owing to dietary requirements of guests, so no butter, basting or stuffing. I followed Nigella's brining technique, soaking it in a bucket of spiced and salted water for 24 hours before cooking. I then did it upside down at 200 for 2.5 hours (for a 6kg bird). It was v. slightly overcoooked - but still delicious - because I had to do it on the timer while we went to church, so oven preheated with the bird in there.

Bodenbabe Wed 30-Dec-09 20:21:49

what mrsgboring said, overmydeadbody - bronze turkeys have more fat than white turkeys, which is supposed to result in juicier turkey - they're kind of self-basting, if you will. I'm not sure how much, if any, the free range part has to do with it - I know free range birds have more muscle but I'm not sure if that affects the taste. Oh and ours wasn't a Kelly or Copas, it wasn't a name I'd heard of before, it was just one I ordered from our butcher.

Good to know about the pop-up timer, catlady!

So when you cook a turkey upside down, does it squash the breast meat down so that it seems like there isn't as much?

I think I'll have a few practise turkeys before next Xmas

Tizzyjacko Wed 30-Dec-09 20:30:53

Overcooking in my opinion. They take so much less time than you think especially if free range bronze with no stuffing in cavity. i stuffed the neck and smeared butter under the kin and cooked for 2 hours 180 degrees for a 6kg bird and it was yum!

June2009 Sat 02-Jan-10 20:18:57

We had a bronze turkey for 16-18 persons, cooked it for 4 and half hours without foil, stuffed the neck only (not inside) and covered it in bacon, it was the best turkey ever!.
It also came with its own meat thermometer.

larryblue212 Wed 23-Dec-15 12:23:25

Copas Turkeys avoid this supplier at Christmas

I placed an order from this company one year ago alongside the turkey I ordered other goods,the turkeys arrived thrown over my stable wall with no other produce.I contacted the company and obviously they said they where not able to deliver.No refund was sent no apologies either.
This year I contacted them and dealt with a Emma Atkinson whom i copied and pasted my order from last year to forward me the same good as I had ordered in 2014.After forwarding my email she ignored my request I phoned the company now to find out why my goods had not been delivered again only to be informed by the same person its too late again.
Avoid this company at all cost

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