We'll keep it brief as the internet is awash with cooking instructions at this time of year!
1. Use a thermometer
Is it cooked? Isn't it? Take away the uncertainty by using a thermometer to check. We use a Thermopen as it is quick, precise and reliable, but there are loads of different types at different price points (Classic Cookware in Haslemere stocks a variety).
Make sure you always test at the thickest part of whatever you are checking (the bit that will take longest to cook). We take the turkey out of the oven when it is above 65 degrees, sausages and ham when they are over 70 degrees.
2. Put butter under the turkey skin the right way round
Most recipes will tell you to put butter under the skin of your turkey, but they all tell you to do it from the X end of the turkey. The skin here is thinner and much more prone to ripping. If you loosen the skin here it is also likely to shrink away from the bird, leaving you with meat that is exposed and becomes dry.
We always put the butter in from the neck end of the bird. It's much easier to do, and more effective (this goes for chicken as well!).
A simple flavoured butter with garlic (we sell some lovely XX in the shop) and the zest of a lemon or two works really well. Don't forget to also generously season your bird inside and out.
3. Rest your bird upside down
Resting the bird will help make the meat moist, and free up your oven to cook your potatoes and trimmings. Turn your turkey upside down to rest, wrapped in a layer of foil covered in tea towels or blankets to keep it warm.
4. Make your own gravy
5. Jar up your goose fat for the best roasties for months to come