T minus 0 – We're here to help!
November 24th, 2011
08:30 AM ET
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The big meal is nigh on upon us and ya know what? You'll get through it. No matter what happens, in a few hours it'll all be a memory and ideally, you'll have a few luscious leftovers and warm, fuzzy feelings toward mankind.

We're here to get you through to the other side. Just submit your questions in the comments or hit us on Twitter @eatocracy and we'll get you an answer as soon as you possibly can. Your queries may be culinary - or even just a plea for solidarity and moral support.

Pull up a chair - we'll be serving up support in this here post all the way through T-Day and have a pretty thorough help list right here.

High & Dry

Help. My turkey is already done and it was supposed to take a couple more hours. The thing popped up and I checked it with the meat thermometer and it is ready. I didn't stuff it and I took the legs off so that I can allow them to cook more after the breast is done. I guess that is why it cooked faster. My guests aren't expected for two more hours. What do I do?


Baste that baby, foil it up - not a tent, but swaddle the whole bird, and put the oven on a low setting – around 200°F. It should remain moist and delicious for your guests and if that doesn't work, there's always gravy.

Read all our best advice on turkey prep, sumptuous sides, excellent beverages and so much more.

Going Cold Turkey

My turkey is still a little frozen. Can I put the stuffing and and start baking? - Susan Jaros

That's not a safe option if you're stuffing it at home. Give the bird a bath in cold water, changed out every 30 minutes or, if your microwave is commodious enough, zap it with the defrost setting. With either method, you'll need to get it into the oven as soon as it's un-thawed. Just distract the guests with charades or appetizers until it's ready. Read more about safe, speedy thawing - and good luck!

Time, Temp & Twitter

@eatocracy Kat, if the turkey has to be 165 degrees when done, r u supposed to pull bird from oven @ 145, tent w/foil & wait 4 temp 2 rise? - @willieln

Nope! Pull the bird when the internal temperature gets to 165°F. There's no great harm if the temperature goes over that, even by a fair amount - but you run considerable risk if it doesn't hit that mark. And don't forget to let it rest for at least 20 minutes after it leaves the oven so the juices have time to redistribute.

Need more? Share your questions in the comments or on Twitter @eatocracy and we'll do our best to help. Catch up on our best Thanksgiving advice.



soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. James Erickson

    Is it safe to stuff the turkey or are you better off making the stuffing on the stove top?

    November 24, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Reply
    • Kat Kinsman

      Cook the stuffing separately and then put it into the bird hot. So long as you hit 165 in the center of the stuffing and the thickest part of the bird, you're good to go!

      November 24, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Reply
  2. Aaronski

    Not defrosted enough – use the Microwave.
    Running out of time – use the Microwave.
    I have always used a Microwave oven (1.5 cubic feet size) to cook up to a 21 lb turkey. It does a great job of both defrosting and cooking. Cook with stuffing breast side down for 4 min./lb. Turn over, breast side up, for an additional 4 min/lb. Let stand covered for additional 20-30 min. Make sure the temp out of the Microwave is 160F – 165F and 170F after resting.

    November 24, 2011 at 10:46 am | Reply
  3. skye blue

    Happy Thanksgiving All,

    Just want you all to know that you can enjoy a wonderful meal without eating a turkey. To see how most turkeys live on factory farms prior to being on the Thanksgiving table, just look at any youtube video.Turkeys , like all other animals, are living, feeling beings. We all have many things to be thankful for without causing suffering for these wonderful animals.

    November 24, 2011 at 10:35 am | Reply
    • Lisa Loo

      You can also purchase a humanely raised turkey that you can feel good about eating! Local farms and WF has them – you can get free range, organic, vegetarian fed birds that are good for you and cruelty free. Just another option out there!

      November 24, 2011 at 10:45 am | Reply
    • JimmyJam

      And the best park is.....they taste like turkey

      November 24, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • NotPoliticallyCorrect

      Or you could just eat turkey and any other animal you want. You tree huggers kill me with that crap. Do you think sharks or other animals who are at the top of their food chain stop to think if their next meal has feelings? That is what they are raised for, to be eaten!!!!

      November 24, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Reply
      • RealTurkey

        Its not about tree huggers, or not beliving that turkeys should be eaten. Its the simple fact that factory farmed turkey and most other animals are simply disgusting. Think thousands of turkeys in a tiny dark house with dead housemates all around, swallowed in their own crap, needing to be given antibiotics just so they stay alive to slaugher. The way they have been selectivly bred, as adults, the Broad Brested White (your common Butterball) can not walk, fly, or mate on its own. It has huge oversize breasts because stupid humanity thinks dark meat is evil. It has white feathers because a wild turkey has black specs where its black feathers were plucked, people think its "dirty" looking. This is NOT NOT NOT your ancestors turkey. This is a turkey as engineered and upgraded as the latest iphone to suit americans selfish whims. These turkeys are pumped up with anitbotics, killed, then injected with flavored saline because they are so dry and tasteless. If people had just accepted turkeys for what they were ( "small breasted", brown or black feathers) and didnt demand such high quantities of meat ( people chow about five servings worth in a sitting) we might ALL enjoy higher quality meat for reasonable prices.

        November 24, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Reply
    • Gozer the Gozerian

      Just wanted you to know I enjoyed a wonderful meal with a turkey. Rest assured neither the turkey nor I felt any pain over it. What the turkey endured prior to being cooked is pretty much a moot point by now, but I'm sure it would have been happy with my choice of cornbread stuffing. Those of us who want to graze will. It's not your business or concern what the rest of us do, but thanks for caring.

      November 25, 2011 at 4:11 am | Reply
  4. Joseph B

    I like the suggestions – just not the word "commodious" when talking about Thanksgiving dinner (the word "large" would have substituted quite well). "Commodious" makes me think "commode" and I don't want my turkey going there before I eat it!

    November 24, 2011 at 9:55 am | Reply
  5. chuck

    I accidentally used too much salt in my brine. 2 cups per gallon instead of 1 cup. realized the mistake this morning (halfway through brining) and switched to just plain water. hoping that will balance everything out. any thoughts or tips? thanks.

    November 24, 2011 at 9:46 am | Reply
    • Kat Kinsman

      You're going to be fine! Might be a tad salty, but rinse as much as you can, and balance things out with a little bit of sweetness and go nuts with an herb rub. It'll be delicious.

      November 24, 2011 at 11:17 am | Reply
    • Kat Kinsman

      By the way - that isn't *that* salty. Again - it'll all work out.

      November 24, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  6. kazan

    Never discuss Xmas dinner with the turkey.

    November 24, 2011 at 9:30 am | Reply
    • Sixta

      That is so true, but also don't tell a person that don't know how to cook that she can not made the turkey . just take it so you don't spoiled the day for everybody. bring some delicious dish as a back-up that can actually eat.

      November 24, 2011 at 11:17 am | Reply
  7. Edna Payne

    I put 1 cup of butter in my pie recipe, rather than 1/3 cup. It's in the oven. What's going to happen?

    November 24, 2011 at 9:25 am | Reply
    • Smithsdawg

      I normally use shortening, but I'd guess that it's going to turn out powdery and slimy. It won't really set well. Here's hoping I'm wrong though and you get a luscious buttery, flaky crust.

      November 24, 2011 at 11:48 am | Reply
    • JimmyJam

      it will taste buttery?

      November 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Reply
    • Kat Kinsman

      It's gonna be really, really buttery. Top it with a ton of crumbs or crackers and it'll frankly taste pretty delicious.

      November 24, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Reply

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