Save the day before dinnertime!
Because Thanksgiving is synonymous to big, delicious meals with friends and family, we often put a lot of pressure on cooking a dinner without mistakes. But mistakes can happen, especially when juggling so many courses, sides and dishes at once!
Everyone has burnt or undercooked their turkey–even the best of chefs!–so be prepared for any Thanksgiving dinner mishaps or disasters. Thankfully, turkeys can be rather resilient; whether your meat is dry or your turkey is undercooked, you can still save the day before dinnertime. Here are common issues and how to fix them.
1. You’ve caught the turkey beginning to burn.
Flip that bird over, fast! Then you can let it continue to roast normally–but do keep an eye on it! Once your turkey is cooked, just remove the burnt skin, and cut out any meat about half an inch deep under blackened skin. If you don’t want your guests to see, do the carving in a kitchen away from prying eyes, but the rest of your turkey should be just fine for serving.
2. The turkey’s skin is burnt, but meat is undercooked.
This can happen at working with too high a heat. Just peel off the burnt skin, then throw on some butter and herbs and let it cook again with reduced heat.
3. Your turkey meat is too dry.
This is a simple problem to fix: throw on some extra gravy! You can also pour pan juices onto the meat. Thanksgiving is a great holiday for leftovers, so look forward to making a turkey salad or stew with that extra dry meat–something to be thankful for!
4. The turkey is undercooked.
Remove the undercooked pieces and put them back in the oven. If there are many raw or undercooked portions, cut them up and roast in baking pans. If it’s already time for dinner, let guests enjoy the ready-to-eat portions while the rest is cooking. Finally, invest in a meat thermometer next year!
5. The turkey is frozen.
Don’t worry if you begin preparing the Thanksgiving dinner only to find your turkey hasn’t thawed. Fill your sink with cool water to give your bird a bath! It may seem counter-intuitive to use cool water, but warm water can encourage bacterial growth–and no one wants to eat that! Submerge your turkey breast side-down, and switch out the water every half hour.
If you’re short on time when the turkey has thawed, cut the turkey into easy-to-cook portions, then roast.
6. You’ve discovered the giblets–after cooking.
It’s not unheard of that the giblets go missing, then suddenly appear once you’ve carved into the turkey. Dispose of the giblets. Your turkey, meanwhile, is still totally fine and okay to eat, so no worries!