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Cooking Questions: Thanksgiving

Use this quick reference to get answers to the most commonly asked Thanksgiving cooking questions.

Turkey Questions

Q: How big should my turkey be?

A: Count on 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of turkey for each guest, depending on whether you want plenty of leftovers or just a few. (If you have lots of guests to feed, you might choose two medium-sized turkeys rather than one giant; the cooking time will be shorter.)

Q: How do I thaw my turkey?

A: The best way to thaw a turkey is in the refrigerator. Allow one day for every five pounds of turkey. A quicker way is to thaw the turkey in a cold water bath. This will take about 30 minutes per pound. The water should be running, or changed frequently to prevent freezing. You might also use a combination of these methods. But never thaw a turkey at room temperature.

More tips: Buying and Thawing a Turkey

VIDEO: How to Thaw a Turkey

Q: How long does a turkey need to roast?

A: The roasting time for a 12-pound bird is approximately 3 to 3½ hours. However, don't rely on a timer to determine doneness. The best test for doneness is the temperature of the meat. The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F, and when the breast meat reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees F. If your turkey has been stuffed, it is important to check the temperature of the dressing. The stuffing should be 165 degrees F. When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 30 minutes.

How to Cook a Turkey provides roasting time recommendations and other tips.

VIDEO: How to Cook Turkey.

Q: Can I roast my turkey the day before Thanksgiving then reheat it?

A: Never partially roast a turkey the day before to save on cooking time the next day. This creates the perfect environment for bacterial growth. That said, you can carve the bird and layer the meat in a baking dish for reheating. Seal the baking dish with foil to reduce moisture loss. Breast meat has a greater likelihood of drying out, so place it on the bottom of the dish--and consider covering it with gravy or perhaps a small amount of turkey stock.

Q: How do I smoke a turkey?

A: Smoking a turkey is very easy provided you have the right equipment. The right equipment, in this case, is a smoker. Smokers allow you to carefully regulate the temperature, which is vital when cooking a large beast over a long period of time. It's possible to smoke a turkey using a charcoal grill, but only if you're prepared to get comfortable next to the barbeque and watch it constantly for the better part of a day. Find out all you need to know to perfectly smoke your turkey using the link below.

More tips: Turkey Tips: Grilled and Smoked Turkey

VIDEO:Smoking Turkey

Q: Can I grill a whole turkey?

A: A whole turkey can be cooked on a grill using indirect heat. Turkey should be cooked to 180 degrees F (80 degrees C). Clear juices are not a good indicator of doneness. Depending on the age of the bird, the juices might not run clear until the bird is overcooked.

Read Approximate Grilling Times for Turkey to get recommendations for grilling times depending on the size of the bird. Recommendations for turkey pieces and turkey rolls can also be found in this article too.

More tips: Turkey Tips: Grilled and Smoked Turkey

Q: How do I deep-fry a turkey?

A: Deep-frying a whole turkey is a Cajun tradition that produces sensationally juicy meat and delightfully crispy skin. An added advantage of cooking a turkey this way is it takes less than an hour to cook the whole bird. That being said, the process is a fairly involved one. We suggest you read Deep Fried Turkey for a full understanding of the procedure.

More tips: Turkey Tips: Grilled, Smoked, or Deep Fried

VIDEO: Deep-Frying Turkey

Q: How long can cooked turkey be frozen?

A: Although freezing keeps food safe for an indefinite amount of time, we recommend,for quality's sake, eating it within a reasonable time period. Cooked turkey can be frozen for up to four months.

Recommendations for freezer storage can be found in Freezing Foods: A Real Time-Saver. Suggestions for using those leftovers can be found in Thanksgiving Leftovers.

More tips: Buying and Thawing a Turkey

Q: Can I prepare my turkey in an electric roaster?

A: An electric roaster is a great alternative to roasting your turkey in the oven. Roasters typically cook at the same temperature and time as your oven, however, for best results, please refer to your manufacturer's instructions.
For turkey roasting time and tips, please refer our Turkey Roasting 101 article.

Q: How can I fix dry turkey meat?

A: There are several simple ways to moisten dry turkey meat. Check out the short VIDEO: How to Fix Dry Turkey Meat.

    Stuffing Questions

    Q: Can I stuff the turkey the night before baking?

    A: You should never stuff a bird hours before roasting, as the cavity can provide an environment for bacteria to grow. When cooking stuffing in a turkey, it is always best to prepare it just before filling and roasting the bird. The stuffing should be warm when placed in the turkey so it cooks and reaches 160 degrees F (70 degrees C) by the time the turkey is done. Stuffing should always reach a temperature of at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C) to kill bacteria. This temperature can be measured by placing a meat thermometer into the center of the body cavity. If the turkey is finished cooking before the stuffing has reached the correct temperature scoop it out, and place it in a greased baking dish. Microwave it on high or bake it at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) until it reaches 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

    More tips: Thanksgiving Stuffing

    VIDEO: How to Make Stuffing

    VIDEO: How to Fix Soggy Stuffing

      Questions About Thanksgiving Sides

      Q: What is the best way to mash potatoes?

      A: The best thing to use for potatoes is a potato ricer or food mill. These two gadgets work so well because the potatoes achieve a uniform texture as they pass through evenly sized holes, and they get smashed only once. With these methods, the potatoes' cell walls are much less likely to break open and the texture will remain light, fluffy, and creamy.

      More tips: Making Mashed Potatoes

      VIDEO:How to Make Mashed Potatoes

      VIDEO: How to Fix Gluey Mashed Potatoes

        Q: What is the secret to perfect gravy?

        A: Gravy becomes lumpy when the flour is not mixed in properly. This can be avoided by starting with equal amounts of flour and a fat such as butter, turkey grease, or other meat drippings. This is known as a roux. Mix them into a paste over medium heat, then gradually introduce more liquid, while stirring constantly. Cook until thickened, while stirring continually to prevent lumps from forming on the bottom of the pan. As a general guideline, 1/2 cup of roux will thicken 4 cups of liquid.

        More tips: Making Perfect Gravy

        VIDEO: Make-Ahead Gravy

        Q: How can I fix lumpy gravy?  

        A: There are several quick fixes for lumpy gravy.
        Check out the short VIDEO:
        How to Fix Lumpy Gravy.

        Q: How can I fix gravy that’s too thin?  

        A: There are some easy fixes for watery gravy.
        Check out the short VIDEO: How to Fix thin Gravy.

          Q: How do I roast nuts?

          A: Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Remove the shells of the nuts if this has not already been done, and arrange the shelled nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until the nuts begin to turn a golden brown. You can use this method to roast all types of nuts.

          VIDEO: How to Toast Nuts

            Q: Can I use frozen or dried cranberries in place of fresh?

            A: Yes, you can. You can substitute frozen for fresh in equal amounts. In fact, you will not even have to thaw them, as they are fairly low in moisture. If you wish to substitute dried for fresh, use 1/3 the amount.

            For more tips, see How to Cook Cranberries.

              Q: What is mace?

              A: This spice tastes and smells like a pungent version of nutmeg, and for a very good reason…mace is the bright red membrane that covers the nutmeg seed. After the membrane is removed and dried it becomes a yellow-orange color. It's sold ground and, less frequently, whole (in which case it's called a "blade"). Mace is used to flavor all manner of foods, sweet to savory.

              Q: How can I fix a burnt pie crust?

              A: There are several quick fixes for burnt crusts.
              Check out the short VIDEO: How to Fix Burnt Pie Crust.

              Q: How can I fix a pie crust with a soggy bottom?

              A: Check out an ingenious fix in the short VIDEO: How to Fix a Soggy Pie Bottom.

                Thanksgiving Baking

                Q: Can I use fresh pumpkin in place of canned pumpkin?

                A: Fresh pumpkins must be cooked before using in baking recipes. One of the best methods is to bake the pumpkin in pieces. Puree the flesh until smooth, and use as you would canned pumpkin. You can also use canned pumpkin in place of fresh pumpkin. One 15-ounce can is approximately equal to 1 ¾ cups pumpkin puree.

                For more tips, see Baking with Fresh Pumpkin.

                VIDEO: Mrs. Sigg's Fresh Pumpkin Pie

                  Q: Help! I have run out of pumpkin pie spice. What can I substitute?

                  A: You can make your own blend at home using cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. We have two recipes for pumpkin pie spice.

                  Get set for your best Thanksgiving!

                    Nov. 11, 2009 5:09 am
                    How do I season my turkey so that the flavor goes through the bird?
                    Nov. 11, 2009 6:17 am
                    After brining a turkey, can I use a roasting to cook it?
                    Nov. 11, 2009 6:17 am
                    After brining a turkey, can I use a roasting bag to cook it?
                    Nov. 14, 2009 7:44 am
                    I've brined a turkey and then roasted it in a brown paper bag. The only bad thing was the meat was so tender it fell off the bone, so I didn't have that whole turkey presentation, but it was the best turkey I've ever made.
                    Nov. 14, 2009 12:36 pm
                    you could use a roasting bag but then you would sacrifice the crispy skin, which in my opinion is the best part and what my family fights over.
                    Nov. 14, 2009 4:00 pm
                    Wow this is a great article. I usually either deep fry my turkey or cook it covered until the last hour and then take the top off to brown the bird. I think I am going to try brining this year. I am inspired!!!
                    Nov. 15, 2009 9:38 am
                    I brined my turkey last year and I'm sorry I did. The meat was very salty. I also read that brined turkey takes less time to roast...don't believe it! After the alotted time I cut into the breast and it was still raw. I ended up microwaving chunks of meat to cook it all the way. So much for crispy skin...what a disaster!!! I'm not taking the chance again this year... I'm going back to roasting it like I have all the previous years when it turned out exactly like all of my guests and I expected.
                    Nov. 15, 2009 6:07 pm
                    Chinese 5-spice makes a fantastic substitution for pumpkin pie spice.
                    Nov. 18, 2009 6:42 am
                    I was hoping to cook a fresh turkey this year. How long does one keep refrigerated, before cooking?
                    Nov. 18, 2009 8:10 am
                    Hi,instead of a whole turkey,is it possible or desirable to "brine" just a turkey breast before cooking?
                    Nov. 19, 2009 1:30 am
                    I'm new....I couldn't turn down the cost of $8 for a 15 lb turkey. It's just for me & I'm looking at saving money by cooking the turkey and freezing the meat in several bags for future supper & lunches. From what I've read, I plan on putting sliced apples, cinnamon and brown sugar maybe parsley (any suggestions....)but I am a VERY simple cook that I only like to add apx. 5 ingredients when I feel like eating 'fancy food'. I read here that it seems like a good idea to cook the turkey on it's breast(input...), cooking at 350 and 450 for apx 4 hours but also, an idea of heating the oven at 500, cook it for 1/2 hour/hour and then turning the oven off and let it roast for 4-5 hours. Please give me your input primarily on the temperature cooking. PS. Long time ago my friend cooked the turkey, sliced it, then put the slices in the oven covered to keep it moist & warm so when everything was on the table, the hot cut turkey was there ready for the eating instead of 'waiting in line' fo
                    Nov. 23, 2009 9:05 am
                    When I brine my turkey, can you use regular salt?
                    Nov. 23, 2009 3:38 pm
                    whats the best way to keep mashed potatoes warm during dinner
                    Nov. 23, 2009 8:49 pm
                    I've cooked the Thanksgiving Bird a few times but this year chose a fresh Turkey because I needed a pretty big one and was afraid it wouldn't thaw in time. Is there anything that I need to know about roasting a fresh turkey?
                    Nov. 24, 2009 10:58 am
                    I WORK LATE the night before Thanksgiving I would like to come home make my stuffing put it in the bird then put it in an oven bag at about 200 and let it bake untill the next day about 12:00 will that work. thank you Sue
                    Nov. 24, 2009 3:18 pm
                    So I was making my pie crust dough today and after I had made the first batch realized that I had used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour like I usually use. Is this going to ruin my crust? Should I just start over or is it worth keeping what I have.
                    Nov. 24, 2009 3:26 pm
                    Walter we keep our mashed potatoes in a crock pot seems to do a great job at keeping them nice a warm
                    Nov. 25, 2009 5:31 am
                    what is a turkey bag and where can i buy it.
                    Nov. 25, 2009 8:22 am
                    I am cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner for my husband and I (we usually go to a family member's house, but this year my husband the veterinarian is on call, so we have to stay home) and since I wasn't going to pay almost $20 for an under 10lbs. turkey, I got turkey breasts instead. No idea really how to cook them (I am slowly becoming a better cook!), I really would like them to taste like traditional turkey and I am very nervous about drying them out. Any help!! Thanks!
                    Nov. 25, 2009 12:20 pm
                    Has anyone used a Pampered Chef Stoneware rectangle roaster to prepare a turkey breast. I assume I can just seal it with foil for most of the baking. (I was going to use my crockpot, but the turkey is a little too big. Any suggestions!
                    Nov. 25, 2009 3:37 pm
                    --Turkey cooking bags--- Reynolds is the brand name. 2 bags per box average price is $5.00. They hold 8-24 lbs turkey. You find them ig grocerie store with Aluminum paper, sandwich bags, crock pot bags and so forth. Good luck!
                    Nov. 25, 2009 5:19 pm
                    @Donna Mann-I'm cooking my first turkey this year and I'm planning to use my PC rectangle roaster and I have the "lid" for it. I'm only cooking the turkey because I got it free and will take it for an additional meat at my family dinner. We always have ham, but now we have seven people coming instead of four. I'd love to hear how yours turns out if you use your PC roaster.
                    Nov. 30, 2009 2:35 pm
                    I want to try the recipe for pumpkin butter bread, but I do not know what pumpkin butter is and it does not explain how to make it or where to buy it.
                    Nov. 30, 2009 2:36 pm
                    please email me about the pumpkin butter at
                    CHRIS WATERS 
                    Dec. 31, 2009 1:43 am
                    how long does cooked turkey keep in the fridge?
                    Jan. 1, 2010 11:40 pm
                    I was in the middle of makeing pumpkin pie and discovered I had only one can of evaporated milk, is there a substitute?
                    Mar. 24, 2010 2:02 pm
                    ok i had a wild hen and garlic bread and they both turned blue yes blue can any one tell me why my whole meal was a disaster via apperance but it tasted just ok anyway i am at a lost and i am now fearful to cook with garlic any help would be awesome thanks please send any responses to me personaly thank a bunch
                    Oct. 9, 2010 6:33 pm
                    If you can afford to buy a fresh or organic turkey do so and avoid sulphate laden frozen supermarket birds. My recipe; I always stuff my bird with sausage meat (frsh cooked) a week old French loaf, one apple chopped fine, 1/2 of a medium onion chopped fine, 1/2 cup Thomson raisins, 1 Large egg (to bind) and seasoned with Allspice, Cloves, Ginger. After stuffing my Turkey I gently seperate the skin from the breast and insert a handful of fresh herbs, I then truss by sewing with Butchers twine, then I melt butter and use my hands to spread all over the bird.Next I take dry mustard powder and massageit into the buttered bird and this looks like a yellow mud coating. I place on a rack in the rost pan and then place into a preheated 450F oven for 15 minutes in which time the mud hardens and seals in the juices as the bird cooks. I make my gravy from neck and gilets and shitake mushrooms.Then I reduce the heat to 350F and cook for approx 25minutes per poung or until a meat thermometer placed
                    Nov. 5, 2010 8:41 am
                    Is there a problem with the amt of salt that goes into a turkey after you brine it?
                    Nov. 7, 2010 11:32 am
                    walter asks: "whats the best way to keep mashed potatoes warm during dinner" Try this walter: make sure that all the dishes are done before you start preparing your holiday meal, whether it is Thanksgiving or Christmas or another holiday feast, then while the food is cooking run another load in the dishwasher (select "HEAT DRY") with JUST THE SERVING DISHES YOU PLAN TO USE so that they are nice and hot when you plate dinner, including putting the sides into their serving dishes. Warm plates to serve dinner on is a nice touch, too! (And it keeps the yams from getting cold too soon!) Best Dishes!
                    Nov. 7, 2010 11:41 am
                    freal asks: Hi,instead of a whole turkey,is it possible or desirable to "brine" just a turkey breast before cooking? It certainly is possible to brine just a turkey breast instead of the whole bird. By the same token, you can brine just about any protein (though I would resist the urge to try brining tofu or peanut butter). The main difference will be the amount of brine needed, the amount of time required, and the size of your brining vessel.
                    Nov. 8, 2010 11:04 am
                    I place sliced bacon over the turkey and then remove it at the end to crisp up the skin.
                    Nov. 11, 2010 11:13 am
                    I wish I could save the articles to my recipe box also or a separate folder would be nice too!
                    Nov. 12, 2010 9:22 am
                    @1stLady- I'd love to get the recipe for cooking the turkey in the paper bag! I always carve my turkey in the kitchen so I'm not concerned about the presentation, but I'd love fall off the bone turkey!
                    Nov. 14, 2010 6:11 am
                    Frist time I've posted. Hope I'm in the right place The day of... whether it be Thanksgiving/Christmas etc. is a hectic one trying to prepare "and" enjoy the day with family. I'm sure most will agree. What I've been doing and modifing over the years is to make the "day of" more enjoyable and preparing as much as I can the day before. In the morning before the big day, the turkey is put in the oven early morning. After cooking I let it rest for a few hours to cool. When cool I remove the breasts in two separate 2 "whole" pieces, then stipping the the rest of the meat to the bone. The smaller pieces I put aside for soup. The meat is then put into a roasting pan covered the saran wrap and then into the fridge. The drippings go to make the gravy and then into a small crock pot and to the fridge. The carcas of the bird goes to making the stock for turkey soup. (I make the soup the next morning) I do 10lb of Yukon Goal to make mashed potatoes. Lots of butter, cream, salt and white peppe
                    Nov. 15, 2010 1:12 pm
                    when you brine don't forget to rinse the skin after you are done brining; that is why turkey comes out salty
                    Nov. 17, 2010 5:29 am
                    Can I roast a turkey from frozen instead of thawing it first?
                    Nov. 17, 2010 7:31 am
                    I would like to roast two 10lb brined turkeys in the oven instead of one 20lb turkey. How much extra time per pound should I allow because of having two turkeys cooking at the same time?
                    Nov. 18, 2010 12:31 am
                    I've brined a turkey twice, the turkey turned out very tender and moist. my mistake was that I brined it overnight both times. The turkey was good when it was fresh but when the leftover meat cooled it was very salty, too salty. If you brine, don;t let it sit for more than 4 hours in the liquid. I forgot after the first fiasco.
                    Nov. 18, 2010 10:16 am
                    Zoner, thank you for the tips. I was hoping to cook my turkey the day before and you gave me a lot of good info. I never thought of doing the potatoes early, but your method sounds like a winner. I think I might actually enjoy my Thanksgiving dinner this year.
                    Nov. 18, 2010 11:52 am
                    There's a WORLD of information on brining a turkey in the Article titled 'Brining a Turkey' which you can find at Give great detail on brining ~ and no, your turkey will not taste salty if you follow its advice. Don't use a turky that has already been 'injected' prior to sale. I wouldn't even try a Butterball. They say it's okay but then, they're wanting to sell you a bird, aren't they? Hope this helps!!! Aunt Tilly
                    Nov. 18, 2010 4:49 pm
                    luv2cook: The best (and most fun) way of seasoning a turkey all the way thru is to get an injector. It's basically a big needle and syringe made for flavoring meat. I don't know where you live, but here in the south, you can find Tony Chachere's injectable marinade (comes with syringe) at any grocery store during the holidays. It's AMAZING! I bet you can order it online too, or at the very least find a place to order just the injector itself.
                    Nov. 18, 2010 4:54 pm
                    Sue: I have made turkeys like that plenty of times. You most definitely CAN cook your turkey at a slow temp overnight. I would just suggest that you cover the bird during that baking time, then uncover later once you get up (to let the skin finish browning if it hasn't). Just don't stuff your turkey before it's going into the oven...because of bacteria. Oh, and your turkey (depending on it's size) will probably be ready at LEAST by lunch time, so if you're planning an evening meal, you may find that it was done too early and got cold. I would suggest starting it early in the morning if that's the case. It's REALLY hard to re-heat a turkey without drying it out. Sometimes, my family will even borrow another family member's over for the day, b/c you can only cook so much at once. With all the casseroles, pies, dressing...we need to cook the turkey somewhere else! lol : )
                    Nov. 21, 2010 5:06 am
                    I have two- 16 lb frozen turkeys for Thanksgiving. Can I defrost them in a cooler? How long will it take to defrost them? I need my refrigerator for other items.
                    Nov. 23, 2010 2:00 pm
                    i am making candied sweet potatoes. in years past i have boiled the whole potatoes with skin on, when they get tender enough i peeled them and made the syrup sauce. my ? is: can i peel yams first, cut in half and boil them? this would save much time and no burned fingers. thank you, georgi goen
                    Nov. 23, 2010 10:05 pm
                    The best (and most fun) way of seasoning a turkey all the way thru is to get an injector.pass4sure ccda
                    Nov. 24, 2010 9:54 am
                    should i add water to bottom of backing pan for the turkey
                    Nov. 24, 2010 5:43 pm
                    I just made two Lemon Meringue pies and need to know how best to keep them overnight. Should I cover them with plastic/foil or leave alone so that the meringue stays up nicely. I would hate to ruin such beauties!
                    Nov. 24, 2010 6:51 pm
                    There was a question about how to keep your mashed potatoes warm. I found a recipe (there are lots of variations) for Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes. They're basically mashed potatoes but with sour cream and cream cheese added to them. You put them in a baking dish and bake them. We cover them with foil so they stay moist, rather than browned. They're the best tasting (but not necessarily the healthiest) any of the family has had and the leftovers taste as good as the first ones. (Obviously, they stay warm because they're served in their baking dish.) Also, we're doing almost everything ahead also, I fully agree with that. We used an electric roaster (Nesco) for the turkeys, and will warm them with a small amount of stock for dinner tomorrow.
                    Nov. 25, 2010 8:58 am
                    to ROBERTAS_KITCHEN. When cooking a turkey, using a brine is the best way to keep it moist. However, the question really depends on whether or not you choose to use a rack. If you are not using a rack, then the bird will 'cook in it's own juices,' and therefore will not need any extra water or stock under the bird. (just be sure to oil or butter the entire bird well before cooking) If you are using a roasting rack, You can use water, or any other stock as you wish to slowly steam the bird while it cooks. I personally like to use a large curved roasting rack over a short stock in the base of the roasting pan to not only steam the bird, but also to it also creates the base to a great brown turkey gravy afterward.
                    Nov. 25, 2010 4:20 pm
                    Can you safely prepare a green bean casserole a day ahead?
                    Nov. 25, 2010 9:03 pm
                    to Debralyn. Yes and No. The main point to consider here is not the dish itself, but the ingredients used during the recipe process and how you treat them. ***TIP*** If you use anything chilled during the recipe, you need to bring the temperature of the finished product down in a rapid amount of time to keep the dish food safe. Using an ice bath of water and ice around the dish in a separate container from the one you cooked in is generally the method used for this. However, if you have access to an ice wand or ice stick, you can use it in addition to the ice bath in most liquid or sauced dishes to help bring the temperature down even faster. (additionally, don't get confused by canned items. While they are canned they are preserved. However, they will usually need to be chilled after they are opened to keep them food safe. Most American canned products give storage information listed directly on the can)
                    Nov. 26, 2010 10:02 am
                    my gravy is too salty. how can rescue it?
                    Nov. 1, 2011 12:32 pm
                    I would like to have extra stuffing that is like the stuffing that is removed from the turkey once cooked. Simply baking it does not give the same result. I know that much of the end product is due to the turkey itself. But does anyone have suggestions!? signed, too many 'turkey stuffing' lovers at one table
                    Nov. 2, 2011 1:32 pm
                    motherofthecorn - when I take my stuffing out of the oven I add some of the juices from the bottom of the turkey roasting pan to the stuffing. A little bit really adds tones of turkey flavor!
                    Nov. 7, 2011 7:54 pm
                    *****HOW TO BRINE TURKEY TIPS***** *1)* Measure the amount of water you will need by testing while the turkey is still in the package. Be sure to completely submerge the Turkey in cold water while testing in the container you will be brining in. Discard the test water when you know the exact amount of water you will need in Quarts and you have a container that can do this. *2)* Using fresh water; only boil 25% or 1/4 of the total water needed to cover the Turkey. *3)* Only use 2 Tablespoons of salt to 1 Quart or 4 cups of Water. And be sure to completely dissolve all of the salt in the boiling water before removing from heat. You will only need salt to properly brine, but if you are adding Onions or Garlic you will want boil them until they are mostly translucent and left most whole for easy removal after brining. Sugars will need to be completely dissolved before removing from the heat. And Most fresh herbs can be added at the end of boiling if be sure they are cracked or slightly
                    Nov. 7, 2011 8:05 pm
                    ^^^^Also there is NO need to rinse the bird after brining, but be sure to completely pat dry the turkey before cooking. And throw away any left over herbs and excess brining materials prior to cooking. You want to brine in the herbs and other flavorings you added, but they are not to be used after that. If you want you may added new herbs to season the turkey with before cooking but be careful not to use salted butter, or your turkey will be too salty.
                    Nov. 8, 2011 7:36 am
                    HELP ME! My MIL passed away this summer, the SIL that hosts all gatherings is in the middle of a divorce - so it's MEEE! I have a menu planned, but could use timing long in advance can you make pumpkin pie? Pecan Pie? Make ahead gravy and make ahead mashed taters without freezing them? (Freezer is now full with side of beef) ANY AND ALL ADVICE APPRECIATED!!!
                    Nov. 15, 2011 10:03 am
                    When making a pumpkin roll, do u have to use special stuff in the recipe for it to roll? Or can I use any pimpkin cake recipe and just bake it in a baking sheet and roll it and refrigrate to cool and do it like a normal roll?
                    Nov. 18, 2011 4:36 am
                    I love to make my Thxgiving Casserole w/the leftovers, just layer turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, your vegetable dish. Also you can add cranberries, cheese or any other favorites you can think of, oh and make sure you have plenty of gravy to poor over this yummy dish. Have a great holiday everyone!!!
                    Nov. 18, 2011 4:43 am
                    This will be the first time I bake a turkey in a bag. So, I was wondering how do you brown it? Do you uncover it at the end and if so for how long?
                    Nov. 19, 2011 11:39 am
                    I can usually produce pretty good turkey and also perfect gravy at Thanksgiving, but I have problems getting the stuffing right. I don't stuff the bird but make it separately. In one casserole, I use a combination of cubed and crumb bread stuffing, adding cooked onion and celery, chopped cooked chestnuts and mushrooms, some chopped giblets, and sage and rosemary. Since my daughter refuses to eat the chestnuts (silly girl!) I make another casserole with the same ingredients, without the chestnuts but with additional mushrooms and giblets. The problem I have is getting the dressing appropriately moist after baking in a casserole for 45 minutes. I use a combination of butter, chicken broth and turkey drippings to moisten the mixture, but it often turns out too wet. Sometimes too dry. I use more moist ingredients than most recipes I see, so I am not sure how much I should be adding. Does anyone have any advice?
                    Nov. 21, 2011 2:49 pm
                    @Jody Before I used the Brine method I would swear cooking in the bag was the only way to keep the turkey moist. And after using Brine method, I will never use a bag again. Most bags will allow the turkey to brown a little bit while still inside the bag. However, I have never been satisfied with the result of the color. But to answer your question, after about 3/4 through your cook time, cut the bag and cook thoroughly until the temp on the turkey is correct.
                    Nov. 21, 2011 2:57 pm
                    @Marylandgirl - The right amount of moisture is the hardest part to get the hang of when making a good dressing. Mostly due to people's expectations, but also due to the bread you are using as well. Most recipes will give standard measurements with standard conditions. If you are using fresh bread crumbs you may want to use less broth(or water) due to the bread still retaining some of it's moisture already. And using croutons that have completely dried for a while you may need to use a bit more. My tip is to use slightly less that you think you will need and add later if you need more.
                    Nov. 22, 2011 5:38 pm
                    I am making homemade cornbread dressing for the first time this year. Do I need to make the cornbread beforehand so it gets a little "stale" like the bread is for bread stuffing?
                    Nov. 23, 2011 4:44 am
                    @Yakty - Cornbread Dressing is a great taste change and I hope you like your dressing. My Brother used to make the cornbread dressing around our house. The hardest part I can remember is keeping the cornbread together because the crumb (or inside part of the bread)doesn't bind like that of bread after it's been baked. My brother would bake his cornbread a day or two ahead in half batches; meaning that instead of one whole loaf of cornbread he would make two, thinner loaves. He would then place them into the frig until he was ready to use them. The chill and increased surface areas would make the bread not so crumbly when he mixed it all together. ***TIP*** Be careful not to add too much moisture or over mixing while tossing or you will end up with corn bread mush.
                    Nov. 21, 2013 5:04 pm
                    Can anyone tell me if you can stuff a brined turkey? I have never brined a turkey so I don't really know what its like. A lot of the brining reciepes call for brown sugar or honey and I can't imagine stuffing a turkey and have the stuffing taste real sweet!
                    Nov. 22, 2014 2:55 pm
                    i poured all the liquid out of my turkey roasting pan what is the white stuff at the bottom of the bowl
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