Greetings! I’ve been drowning in work these past few weeks, but am back on the Hungry Pickle horse just in time for the best holiday to ever exist: Thanksgiving. I thought of a few common mistakes that should be avoided. Good luck and get ready for many more posts on Turkey day:
10 Thanksgiving Mistakes You’re Already Making
1. Not Brining Your Turkey (or not buying one pre-brined.) Turkey can often end up dry and tasteless, brining makes for juicier and more flavorful meat .
2. Not Pre-Ordering The Turkey. The last thing you want is to be 20 people deep in the checkout line sans turkey on Thanksgiving day. Order ahead and pick it up the day before or morning of.
3. Incorrectly Timing the Turkey Cooking. Search for cooking times online by your bird’s weight. Once you’ve decided on all of your recipes, plan an oven schedule and make sure to give the turkey enough time to rest, without cooking it so early that it becomes dry.
4. Stuffing the Turkey with, well, Stuffing. While it may be traditional to actually stuff the turkey, buck the norm and only cook it in an outside pan. Often the stuffing doesn’t reach the right internal temperature (even if the turkey is fully cooked), and you may be eating stuffing contaminated with raw turkey juices or, if you use them, uncooked eggs.
5. Not Having Enough Leftovers for Friday Afternoon Sandwiches. Everyone knows that leftover Thanksgiving sandwiches filled with turkey, stuffing and a slick of cranberry sauce are one of the highlights of the holiday. When you’re buying ingredients, make sure to consider meals for the following day as well.
6. Not Straining the Gravy. Nobody likes lumpy gravy, so before you serve it, pour it through a strainer to remove any clumps and extra pieces of vegetable or meat.
7. Planning to Make Pie Crust the Day Of. Pie crust is not only somewhat labor intensive, it also requires chilling time in the refrigerator before use. Make the dough a few days or weeks in advance, freeze it, and thaw when you’re ready to use.
8. Not making vegetarian or kid-friendly options. If you haven’t checked on dietary restrictions and/or are expecting children at your Thanksgiving table, make a quick pasta with tomato sauce in advance. It’ll eliminate any awkwardness, and vegetarian guests won’t have to cobble a meal together from just sides.
9. Trying Out a Fancy New Recipe. Cooking for Thanksgiving is already stressful enough- having to master timing, juggling multiple dishes and entertaining guests. This is not a time to experiment with dishes you haven’t prepared before. Unless it’s a very simple recipe, stick to what you know and do it well.
10. Forgetting to Buy Liquor. If you’re planning on serving cocktails, wine or beer at your Thanksgiving, head to the store a day or two in advance. Many states require liquor stores to close on national holidays, and many close by choice.