‘Bum Up and Boobs Down’: How to Cook the Perfect Turkey

Say what? Cook that turkey UPSIDE DOWN? Say goodbye to dry, stringy turkey meat of Christmases past and say HELLO to a delicious, moist turkey with this cooking method.

Chances are, you usually cook your turkey breast-up. Well, according to Sydney butcher Adam Stratton, that’s wrong, wrong, WRONG!

Lucky for you, Adam is happy to share his secret method with Mum Central on how to cook the perfect turkey this Christmas.

A foolproof method for cooking turkey

“The method is foolproof,” says Adam. “The secret is to cook the turkey ‘bum up’.” Well, who EVEN KNEW?

“When people complain of a dry turkey, it’s because they cook it the wrong way. You need to start cooking the turkey breast side down. Put another way, get its bum in the air. It’s guaranteed to work.”

Adam, who runs the Tender Gourmet Butchery Chain in Sydney, says customers always quiz him at Christmas about the best way to cook the perfect turkey. And with good reason, we say – no one wants a dry turkey!

Here’s Adam’s tips for roasting a turkey that’ll have everyone coming back for seconds

All the terrific turkey tips:

  • If you’ve already bought a frozen turkey – it will take time to thaw out. Don’t leave it until the last minute. If it’s a massive bird, it could take up to five days to get ready. Get it out of the deep freezer now and into the fridge.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 160°C degrees.
  • Carefully push butter under the skin.
  • Salt and pepper the outside skin of the bird then cover with olive oil (not the other way around).
  • Put it into a large roasting tray and cook the turkey breast side down.
  • Add 500ml of chicken stock to the bottom of the pan to keep it moist.
  • Loosely cover the bird and pan with foil.
  • Midway through cooking add more butter and baste with some stock.
  • With half an hour to go, pour out any excess stock that’s still in the bottom to the tray, and turn the turkey breast side up to brown up.
  • Melt 250ml of maple syrup and 250g of butter, in a saucepan and baste it 20- 30 minutes before you take it out of the oven.
  • You have to let the meat relax! Once the timer goes off, let it rest for half an hour covered with foil before serving.
  • For perfect results – use a meat thermometer so you know exactly when it’s ready.

Cooking the turkey

Not sure what size turkey to buy, let alone how to cook it? Use the guide below to determine what size bird you’ll need, and how long to cook for (All turkeys should be cooked at 160°C)

  • Size 30 (3kg) — 40 (4kg) 2½-3 hours serves six to eight people
  • Size 40 (4kg) — 60 (6kg) 3-4 hours serves eight to 12 people
  • Size 60 (6kg) — 80 (8kg) 4-5 hours serves 12 to 16 people
  • Size 80 (8kg) — 100 (10kg) 5-5½ hours serves 16 to 20 people

The basic rule of thumb in determining how much turkey you’re going to need is to allow for 500g per person. Easy! A note on the cooking front – if your turkey is stuffed, you’ll need to add a half hour to the cooking time.

The good stuff – stuffing the bird

Let’s be honest, stuffing can make or break a Christmas bird. In the market for an awesome stuffing recipe? Lucky for us, Adam shares his (not so) secret stuffing recipe:

Adam Sutton’s Famous Turkey Stuffing recipe


  • 8 slices of bread (can be going stale)
  • ½ cup of chopped onions
  • ½ cup of chopped celery
  • 150g butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ a cup walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup diced apple (optional)


  1. Melt the butter in the microwave.
  2. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and then using your clean hands, mix together thoroughly.
  3. Stuff tightly in the bird’s cavity and cook your turkey (BREAST DOWN!) in the oven using the tips above.

roast turkey

There you have it, perfect turkey EVERY TIME with thanks to Adam Stratton. For more delicious Christmas cooking inspiration, see our budget friendly family Christmas feast and Festive grazing boards!

Avatar of Lexi Klaebe

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

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