Tips for Buying, Storing, Purchasing & Cooking Your White Meat Christmas Roast
If you’re planning to serve a delicious white meat roast for Christmas – be it turkey, chicken or pork – these tips will help you to achieve a perfect result. Our delicious range of Christmas options is sure to impress your guests and your taste buds alike – turkey, chicken, pork, ham, beef, game, we’ve got it all. Ever heard of a TURDUCKEN? It’s our Christmas speciality!
When calculating portions, estimate about 200g of meat per person. When choosing fresh meat and poultry, look for meat that’s undamaged, plump and firm flesh. If the meat is in a plastic package, there should be minimal liquid (which should be clear, not cloudy) and no punctures or tears. The meat should have very little odour. Make sure that the meat is chilled, and always check the use-by date. If you would like to save yourself the task of buying your meat from the supermarket, we can deliver our wide range of products straight to your door.
Buy the best bird that you can afford (fresh or frozen). Free-range organic chicken will provide you with a more flavoursome roast. A 1.8kg chicken will feed 4-6 people. Our delicious 2kg whole chicken is only $17 – you can purchase it here!
Pork is a versatile and delicious roast option – and you just can’t go wrong with perfectly crisped crackling. Our Christmas range includes rolled pork loin (plain, apple, rosemary and sage or cranberry and chestnut) as well as pre-cooked pulled pork.
Storage and thawing:
- Thaw frozen meat or poultry in the fridge in a clean covered dish. A large roast (4.5-9kg) may take up to 3½ days to defrost.
- For ideal meat storage, your fridge temperature should be 4ºC to 5ºC and your freezer temperature should be -15ºC to -18ºC.
- Cook meat within 24 hours of defrosting.
- Never refreeze uncooked thawed meat or poultry.
- Once you bring your meat or poultry home (or as soon as it is delivered to your door!), freeze or refrigerate it immediately.
- Fresh meat or poultry can be stored in the coldest part of the fridge for up to 2 days (in its original packaging or in a covered dish).
- If you plan to store your meat in the freezer for longer than a week, take it out of its original packaging and re-wrap it in freezer paper or a plastic freezer bag.
- Always wrap and store uncooked and cooked meats separately.
- To freeze cooked meat and poultry, carve it off the bone or carcass, wrap it in plastic wrap and store in airtight containers. It will keep for up to 1 month.
Preparation and cooking:
- Although you can cook meat from frozen, we strongly recommend defrosting the meat before you cook it, as this will ensure a more even and tender meat quality.
- For best results, meat should be brought to room temperature prior to cooking.
- Always use separate chopping boards and utensils for your raw meat and wash these well with hot soapy water after use.
- Always rest meat and poultry for at least 15 minutes before serving (loosely cover them with foil and leave them on the bench). This allows the juices to settle and the meat to ‘relax’, which produces a more tender result.
- Consider purchasing a meat thermometer, so that you can guarantee perfectly cooked roasts every time.
Turkey and Chicken
- If you plan to stuff a turkey or chicken, make sure to dry the inside out with a paper towel before doing so. Make sure that the stuffing mixture is cool before you stuff the roast (by placing it in a covered bowl in the fridge).
- To keep the breasts of a whole turkey moist, lay a large piece of muslin soaked in melted butter on top, wrap the bird in bacon or prosciutto or cover it with a sheet of baking paper topped with a sheet of foil.
- If you don’t have a meat thermometer, check if your chicken or turkey is cooked by piercing the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer. If the juices run clear, it’s done.
- Roast pork is perfectly cooked when the centre still has a faint tinge of pink. Cook it too long and it will dry out.
- Pork (like all meat) continues to cook after removal from heat. For best results, let your dish rest uncovered for 1-2 minutes in a warm environment prior to serving (except for sausages and mince).
- Avoid prodding the meat frequently while it is cooking.
How to achieve perfect crackling
To achieve perfect crackling, you need three things: heat, oil and salt. Follow these simple steps (brought to you by Australian Pork!) to ensure to-die-for crackling:
- Remove roast from packaging and pat dry with paper towel. Using a small sharp knife, deeply score the rind at 1cm intervals, being careful to not cut into the meat. If time allows, leave the scored roast uncovered in the fridge for 1 hour, or ideally overnight (this further dries the rind which makes for crispier crackling!).
- When you’re ready to cook, put your pork on a wire rack in the sink and pour a jug of boiling water over the rind. Thoroughly pat dry with a with paper towel.
- Rub the roast with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and half a tbsp of salt (more if you like salty crackling), making sure the oil and salt penetrate the scores.
- Place the roast on a wire rack inside a baking tray and cook at 240°C (max 250°C conventional) until the rind crackles (up to 50 minutes). If the roast is over 2kg, take 10 minutes off this initial crackling time.
- Once the rind is crackling, turn the oven down to 180°C and cook for 30 – 35 minutes per kilogram, depending on how well you like your roast cooked.
- Once cooked, let the roast rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Note: to achieve great crackling, getting the oven temperature correct is critical. We recommend the use of an “oven thermometer” to verify that the stated oven temperature is accurate.
Don’t hesitate to contact us or drop into our Carina store for more information about cooking your Christmas roast to perfection. Merry eating!