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Turkey troubles solved

Tyler Florence of the Food Network gives tips on what to do when “stuffing” happens while preparing your Thanksgiving meal.
/ Source: msnbc.com

With only 24 hours to go, weekend chefs all across the country are preparing for their biggest meal of the year: the Thanksgiving feast. But whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned professional, “stuffing” happens. Tyler Florence, host of the Food Network’s “Food 911,” helps solve some of the biggest turkey-troubles out there. Check out the turkey-tastrophe tips below.

TURKEY-TASTROPHE #1:

Problem: The turkey is raw in the middle.

Solution: Cut the meat off the bone and pan sear it. Sure, you won’t have that beautiful display to show off to your guests, but they’re hungry and they want to eat now, not in two hours.

TURKEY-TASTROPHE #2:

Problem: The turkey is too dry.

Solution: Unfortunately once something is cooked, you can’t uncook it. The best answer for this one is to remove the meat from the bone and pour gravy over it.

These, of course, are after-the-fact solutions, but both these problems can be easily avoided before you hit the iceberg. Both are products of a faulty oven setting, a malfunctioning oven, improper timing, or neglect in using the proper thermometer. So here are some rules of thumb:

Always cook your turkey at 350 degrees.

Expect to cook if for 20 minutes per pound.

Always use a thermometer to test for doneness. Instant-reads are best. Placed in the thickest part of the breast, the thermometer should read 170 degress. Placed in the thigh, it should read 180. If stuffed, stuffing should reach 165.

If you have a question about the accuracy of your oven temperature, hang an oven thermometer inside and adjust accordingly.

If you have a question about the accuracy of your instant read thermometer, put it in a bowl of a 50/50 water and ice mixture. The thermometer should read 32 degrees. If not adjust it.

TURKEY-TASTROPHE #3:

Problem: I bought a frozen turkey but didn’t leave enough time to defrost it.

Solution: Defrost your turkey under cold water. Normally you should build in a day for every five pounds of turkey to defrost it in your refigerator. But since you didn’t, you can defrost it under cold water in your sink or large basin. Allow 30 minutes per pound and change the water every 30 minutes. It’s defrosted when a thermometer stuck in the thickest portion of meat reads 40 degrees.

TURKEY-TASTROPHE #4:

Problem: My gravy is lumpy.

Solution: Strain your gravy through a seive into your gravy boat.

TURKEY-TASTROPHE #5:

Problem: I’m only having a few people and I don’t want to make a whole turkey.

Solution: Serve turkey breasts instead. It’s not written in stone that you have to serve a 15-pound turkey just because it’s Thanksgiving.