Whether you’re hosting a large Thanksgiving gathering or just spending the day with your immediate family, we bet we can think of your biggest fear – ruining the turkey. With the turkey being the focal point of many Thanksgiving feasts, it is so important for all dinner hosts to make sure it comes out just right! But since we know this can be challenging, we want to help – here are some common mistakes that should be avoided in order to get the best results:
- Waiting too long to buy. This one is huge – the longer you wait to buy, the more likely it will be that the size you need and the brand you want is already sold out. So, if you’re reading this and you’re in charge of dinner, put in your order NOW so that you get exactly what you’re looking for.
- Not thawing for long enough. The best way to thaw your frozen turkey is to put it in the refrigerator. However, remember that just a few hours or one day won’t cut it – the best rule of thumb to follow is that a frozen turkey will defrost at the rate of approximately four pounds per day. With that said, make sure you calculate how long your turkey needs depending on size well in advance so that you provide ample time for it to thaw.
- Starting to cook too early. A common misconception is that you need to start cooking at the crack of dawn to ensure that your turkey is ready by the time guests arrive, but this is not always the case. While turkeys do take a long time, you also don’t want yours to sit out too long before everyone is ready to eat. That said, remember that it takes about 13 minutes per pound when cooked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and you’ll only want to let it sit for about 20 minutes before digging in.
- Setting the oven’s temperature too high. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the turkey will cook any faster by making the oven hotter – doing this will just cause the skin to burn while the meat remains a bit under-cooked. For the best results, it’s suggested that you keep the oven on a moderate temperature, and don’t change the temperature too often.
- Forgetting to use a thermometer. Regardless of how many times you’ve cooked a turkey in the past, you should always use a meat thermometer to figure out when your turkey is ready to come out. Pop-up timers can be helpful too, but even if your turkey comes with one of these, your best bet is to use a meat thermometer as well just to double check.
And now let us leave you with a final tip. Even if you follow all the right steps, you should always have a backup plan just in case your turkey doesn’t come out as planned – perhaps have a few more desserts prepared! If you need something to tide everyone over for a while, you can’t go wrong with a fruit bouquet!