How to cook the perfect Christmas roast

One of the most loved Christmas traditions is the succulent roast we devour with family and friends over Christmas lunchtime or dinner. Below are some tips and tricks that will help ensure your roast ham, pork or turkey is the most tender and tasty roast you've made yet. 

Ham
Glazed ham is a Christmas classic and with these simple tips you’ll be on your way to ham heaven. You want to make sure you’re choosing the right sized ham – a 4kg ham for example will feed up to 10 people and allows a little extra for leftovers.

To give the ham a decorative look, use a sharp knife to cut around the shank in a zig-zap pattern. Run a knife under the rind and gently pull it off. Use the knife to cut diamond squares into the ham.

To glaze your ham, place it on a wire rack in a large baking dish. Brush the surface of the ham with your glaze of choice – options could include honey, mustard, apricot or orange jam. Bake for as long as the instructions on the package tell you too, and make sure to brush the ham at frequent intervals with glaze whilst cooking.

Pork
It’s hard to resist a plate full of tender pork and crispy crackling at Christmas time – and the best thing is, making the perfect roast pork isn’t all that hard! Contrary to popular belief, pork doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through as overcooking it makes the meat dry and tough. Cooking it to slight blushing pink will ensure it remains succulent and juicy.

As a general guide when roasting pork with rind, preheat your oven to 220c to crisp the rind (roughly 15-20 minutes) and then reduce the temperature to 180 to finish cooking the meat. The pork should be in the oven for 45 minutes per kilo. To get a crispy crackling, rub some oil and salt into the rind before cooking.

Once the pork is done, remove it from the oven, cover it in foil and let it sit for 5-10 minutes – this ensures all the flavours and juices to settle which keeps the meat tender. Carve up the pork, serve and enjoy!

Turkey
While everyone prepares their turkeys in different ways, if you’re thawing a frozen turkey make sure you always thaw it in the fridge and never on the bench. A full-size turkey can take up to three days to defrost properly so keep that in mind when it comes to preparing it. Turkey breast is very lean so it can potentially dry out during the long cooking process. Rub the outside of the turkey top and bottom with softened butter (use liberal amounts) and place it breast side down on a baking tray. The butter prevents the turkey (particularly the turkey breast).

Some recipes say to cover the turkey with foil, or leave it uncovered. We recommend that you brush it with butter then place two large sheets of foil in a roasting pan then place your turkey in the centre and bring the foil up to form a loose tent. Make sure there is a pocket of air between the turkey and the foil. This ensures the turkey will cook in a moist environment and not dry out.

Do you have any cooking tips you abide by when cooking a roast?