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Event Planning – 8 Mistakes That Could Sabotage Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Posted on November 23, 2021

1. You put a cold turkey in the oven.

Once your turkey has thawed, leave it on the counter for about an hour so that it warms up closer to room temperature before roasting. A thawed turkey is perfectly safe left on the countertop for an hour.

2. You don’t season all parts of the turkey.

Make sure to season both outside and inside of the cavity. Doing so will season the meat from the inside out.

3. You’re not using a roasting rack.

Using a roasting rack helps keep the bottom of your turkey from steaming and sticking to the bottom of the pan. You can also create your own DIY roasting rack by using a bed celery and carrots, or rolling aluminum foil into logs and placing the turkey on top.

4. You open the oven door too much.

Rather than basting, which requires you to open your oven door every half hour, try brining or dry rubbing your turkey. If it gives you peace of mind to get a look at your turkey while it’s cooking, use the oven light instead of opening the oven door.

5. The oven is too hot.

Cook the turkey at a slower pace, normally between 350 and 400 degrees F.

6. You don’t use a meat thermometer.

Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your meat. Depending on the size of your turkey, you should begin checking the temperature every 15 minutes, starting at the 2.5 to 3-hour mark. The turkey will continue cooking once you take it out of the oven, so you can even remove it once the thermometer reads 160 degrees F.

7. You’re putting the thermometer in the wrong spot.

Insert your meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, where the crease meets the breast. Once this spot has reached the desired temperature of 165 degrees F, you know your turkey is ready.

8. You’re not letting the turkey cool.

Allow the turkey to sit for at least 15 minutes before you cut into it. This will give the juices time to settle into the meat, giving you the tender and juicy result, you’re going for. Be sure to read our tips on how to carve a turkey.

Happy Cooking