Avoid Common Thanksgiving Kitchen Mishaps. Here’s How!

timsackton / Food Photos / CC BY-SA

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and if you’re like us, you’re sending positive vibes toward your stove. Because no matter how awesome of a caterer or home cook you are, the distractions of the holiday can trip you up in the kitchen. The key to cooking a successful meal is understanding how to avoid errors and knowing how to remedy poor turnouts. Be prepared to conquer the kitchen with our day-before support from head chef Leigh, who outlines how to avoid and remedy (if it’s unavoidable) four common Thanksgiving cooking mishaps. Remember, we’ve got your back!

1) My turkey is dry.

What to Avoid Before

“Avoid overcooking! A kitchen thermometer is your best friend. I usually pull the bird when the termometer shows the breast temperature is at 155F, knowing that it will rise to 165F while resting. If the thighs are a little underdone, you can cut them off and stick them back in the oven for a minute. This way your breasts won’t overcook. Alternatively, spatchcock your bird (remove the back bone and press it flat) to ensure that the breast and thighs cook evenly. Brining doesn’t hurt either. I am convinced that dry brining —  heavily salting a few days in advance — is the way to go. It takes up less room and is less messy than wet brining.

How to Remedy After

“Use gravy! It’s been saving dry turkey since the beginning of time. Alternatively, moisten the turkey after slicing with a little bit of turkey or chicken stock.

2) My gravy is lumpy.

What to Avoid Before

“When you are making your roux (the cooked flour and fat mixture that will thicken the gravy), sprinkle the flour into the melted fat little by little to prevent lumps.

How to Remedy After

“Put the gravy in the blender. Then, if you want to be really hard-core, pass is through a fine mesh seive before re-warming.

3) My stuffing is soggy.

What to Avoid Before

“This is more likely to happen if you put the stuffing in the turkey’s cavity, as there is less surface area for moisture to evaporate.

How to Remedy After

“Scoop your stuffing out of the bird and into a baking dish.  Cook uncovered in the oven until the crust is golden and some of the moisture has evaporated.

4) My veggies are bland.

What to Avoid Before

“Don’t blanch your veggies in unsalted water — you need to get the seasoning right from the beginning.

How to Remedy After

“You can always add a little bit of salt after cooking, but also consider adding extra flavor through ingredients like chopped fresh herbs, citrus zest, toasted nuts, or crispy bacon bits.”


Do you have any kitchen cautions or remedies that have helped you out during past Thanksgivings? Let us know in the comments section below.

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