The first few years you cook Thanksgiving dinner, there’s bound to be some disasters… and that’s okay. I’ve had my share of cooking catasrophies. We’ve all been there. Even the best cooks face these issues as stress, time, and distractions are all factors in preparing a meal. The first thing to remember is that you can fix most of these disasters with a little bit of patience and finesse. Staying calm is easier said than done when your turkey is still frozen and your stuffing is bone dry. After reading this post, bookmark it. If one of these mishaps should occur, you’ll know where to find a solution to your problem, thus eliminating stress and panic. The one disaster we can’t help you with is the notorious “forgotten item”… so make sure you double and triple check your shopping list before and after leaving the store.
The Issue: The Turkey is Still Frozen!
Fix it: Thaw in cool water; this will take about 30min per pound. If you don’t have that kind of time you can still cook a frozen bird. For a 12lb turkey, cook it for about 4 or 5 hours at 325, until it reaches 165 degrees. It may need an extra hour to get to that temperature.
Prevent it: Try your best to thaw it in a fridge, leaving about five hours per pound. Leave notes, tell other people. Do your best to have enough time to thaw the bird thoroughly before cooking time.
The Issue: The Turkey is Dry!
Fix it: Spray the turkey with warm stock to desired taste. If you have the time, you can bake the turkey in vegetable stock for about 15 minutes after slicing it. Don’t just hide it in gravy. Some people don’t opt for it, and your guests may see through the cover up.
Prevent it: Take the turkey out of the oven at 155 degrees and tent it in foil until it reaches 165 degrees out of the oven. This will take about 15 minutes after you remove the turkey.
The Issue: The Stuffing is Too Dry!
Fix it. Slowly add warm broth to the mix. Butter would work as well.
Prevent it: Remember that stuffing recipes are a guideline. If it feels too dry, it probably is. Add butter or broth before baking.
The Issue: We Have Soggy Stuffing!
Fix it: This is the easiest fix of all. Simply add more dry bread, toast, or croutons to the mix . You could also bake the stuffing for an additional 15 minutes if it’s only slightly soggy.
Prevent it: Similar to the dry stuffing tip, use your judgement. If it doesn’t feel thick enough, try adding dry bread before baking. Make sure you don’t use fresh bread, as it won’t work with its moisture.
The Issue: I Cracked My Pumpkin Pie!
Fix it: Immediately after removing the pie, before it cools… use a warm metal spatula to smooth out the crack. If the crack is too deep, you can individually slice the pie and serve it banquet style.
Prevent it: When baking, make sure all of the ingredients are a the same temperature. Moreover, they should all be room temperature. The shock of cold to hot in the oven is what causes the crack.