Common Mistakes Made Cooking Thanksgiving Turkey
We called the Butterball Hotline earlier, and asked some of your questions....legit or otherwise (listen at 7:10a tomorrow morning to hear the call!).
(For the record, no, you cannot use frozen giblets as ice cubes for your cocktail.)
Since we played it kind of tongue-in-cheek there, we decided to share some actual tips that may help you out, especially if you're in charge of the turkey this year.
Here are common mistakes people make with the Thanksgiving bird:
- You didn't thaw it soon enough: a 12-16 pound bird takes FOUR DAYS to thaw in the fridge. If you forgot, you can still thaw it in cold water, about 30 minutes a pound (for a 16 pounder, that would mean 8 hour). Here's how.
- You brined a turkey that's already brined: check the label. If it says something like "contains 8% water, salt, and spices", it's already brined. (Some experts say you shouldn't do it, ever.)
- You kept it in the fridge until right before you put it in the oven: you should let it sit at room temperature for about an hour so it cooks evenly.
- You turned down the oven when the skins tarted to brown: once the bird is in, you shouldn't mess with the temp too much. Keep it from burning by putting foil over it for 3/4 of the cooking time.
- You basted: some people swear by it, but every time you open the door, the oven loses heat, taking longer to cook the bird. Plus, drowning it in juices can actually make the skin soggy and dry the meat out!
- You didn't use a meat thermometer: that little thing that pops up when it's "done" isn't that accurate...and some of them don't pop until it hits 180 degrees, which is too hot. You should reach 160-165 before taking it out to rest.
- You carved the minute you took it out of the oven: you should let it rest at least 15 minutes after you take it out of the oven.
- You carved the whole darn thing at once: if you're going to eat it all on Thanksgiving, this is cool. But if you're saving leftovers, it'll be dry as a bone in the fridge. It's better to put the pieces (ie legs, breasts) in the fridge whole, and cut off slices when you want them.
Oh, there are plenty more mistakes to make...but as I like to say, everyone makes mistakes -- that's why pencils have erasers. Wanna see more?