What do to?
• Turkey not thawed: If it still feels frozen, put the wrapped or bagged turkey in a sink of cold water for 1 hour per pound. (If it’s mostly thawed but still too frozen to get out the neck and giblets from the cavity, run cold water into the center until you can pull them loose.) If you run out of time, you can roast a still-frozen turkey, although it will take longer.
• Giblet bag left in: Don’t freak out. It’s food-grade plastic. When you discover the mistake, remove the turkey from the oven and remove the bag from the turkey with tongs.
• How to place the instant-read or meat thermometer: Facing the turkey with the legs pointed toward you, push the probe of the thermometer into the thickest part of the inner thigh, pointing toward the body. Wiggle the tip a little to make sure it’s not touching bone.
• Disposing of turkey-fryer oil: Never pour it down a sink or storm drain. Pour the oil back in the original container or another nonflammable container and take it to a recycling center. Find recycling centers in Mecklenburg County at www.wipeoutwaste.com. For other counties, go to www.earth911.com and search by ZIP code.
How much do you need?
Carrots: A 1-pound bag makes 4 to 5 servings.
Cranberry sauce: A 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries makes about 2 1/4 cups of sauce. A 16-ounce can has 6 servings.
Gravy: 1/3 cup per person.
Green beans: 1 1/2 pounds makes 6 to 8 servings.
Mashed potatoes: a 5-pound bag of potatoes makes 10 to 12 servings.
Stuffing or dressing mix: A 14-ounce bag makes about 11 servings.
• Never place the turkey directly on the counter; keep it on a platter or in a roaster. Clean and sanitize the counter and utensils after handling raw turkey.
• Wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw turkey, using hot water and soap.
• Plastic pop-up indicators usually are inaccurate. Use a meat thermometer (see above for how to place one). Or check the thigh, breast and center of the stuffing with an instant-read thermometer; they all should reach 165 degrees.
• Wait to stuff the turkey until right before putting it in the oven. If you prepare stuffing or dressing ahead, keep the dry and wet ingredients (particularly eggs) separate and refrigerate them until just before stuffing or cooking. Let chilled stuffing come to room temperature before putting it in a turkey or it will reach a safe temperature too slowly.
• To chill leftover turkey efficiently, cut the turkey off the bone, separate it into sections and refrigerate or freeze it. Refrigerated turkey will keep up to four days; stuffing and gravy for one to two days; other dishes keep three to four days. Kathleen Purvis
Who you gonna call?
Butterball Turkey Talk-Line: 800-BUTTERBALL (800-288-8372), 9 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays, 5 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving, or www.butterball.com.
Reynolds Turkey Tips Hotline: Recorded advice, 800-745-4000, or www.reynoldskitchens.com.
Crisco Pie Hotline: 877-367-7438 or www.crisco.com. Extended hours available from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 18-22.
King Arthur Flour Co.’s Bakers Hotline: 802-649-3717, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. weekends, closed on Thanksgiving. Or email questions to email@example.com.