Common Thanksgiving turkey mistakes and how to fix them

(Photo by Rick Friedman/ via Getty Images)
(Photo by Rick Friedman/ via Getty Images) /

From the first time cook to the seasoned chef, common Thanksgiving turkey mistakes can derail that epic feast. Since no one wants to place a call for a pizza because the turkey isn’t ready, a few simple ideas can keep everything on track.

According to Kim Anderson, JENNIE-O senior brand manager. “We’ve made it our mission to help both new and seasoned hosts through the most challenging parts of meal prep so that they can enjoy more time around the table and less time in the kitchen. The Jennie-O website has helpful tools and resources, available year-round, that can assist hosts with how much turkey they need, thawing time, prep time and ideas on different menus based on preferences.”

Although it might sound like an after school special, the more you know can help avoid those common Thanksgiving turkey mistakes. Luckily, all the answers are just a click away.

Here are a few common Thanksgiving turkey mistakes that need to leave the kitchen.

Stop cross-contamination

While many people know about proper chicken handling, the same rules apply to turkey. Raw meat should be kept separate from other food. From separate cutting boards to different knives, no one wants to have that not well feeling because the cook didn’t follow smart food handling.

Season, season, season

No one wants a bland meal. There is not enough gravy to smother a boring piece of turkey. The key to a more flavorful bird is to season it before it gets into the oven. While people can debate brining, adding herbs or other ingredients into the cavity, the reality is that food needs to be seasoned for it to be tasty. Whether people like it spicy, classic, or something else, make sure that the turkey is well seasoned as it goes into the oven.

Let that turkey rest

While everyone knows about using a thermometer, proper cooking temperatures, and turkey doneness, letting the turkey rest is important, too. Although it can be tempting to just slice into that bird, it is important to let the turkey rest about 20 minutes after coming out of the oven. If the bird does not rest, all the juiciness can be left on the cutting board.

Wrap up those leftovers the right way

After everyone has filled their stomachs to the brim, one of the best parts of the feast is enjoying the leftovers. But, that turkey, dressing, and more needs to be stored properly. From avoiding too much air in a bag which can lead to freezer burn to understanding how to reheat those leftovers, a little thought mixed into the process can ensure that nothing goes to waste.

This year, avoid some common Thanksgiving turkey mistakes. The information is available, just do not be afraid to use it.