What to do if the turkey is finished cooking too early?

What to do if the turkey is finished too early?

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and good food. However, sometimes the turkey may finish cooking too early, leaving you wondering what to do next. This can be a stressful situation, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple steps, you can still enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal.

Check the internal temperature

If you suspect that your turkey has finished cooking too early, the first thing you should do is check the internal temperature. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the turkey has reached a safe temperature of 165°F (74°C). If it has, then you can move on to the next steps.

Use a meat thermometer to confirm

To confirm that your turkey has finished cooking, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature in several different places. Make sure to check the thickest part of the breast and the innermost part of the thigh. If the temperature is consistent and reaches 165°F (74°C), then your turkey is done.

Let the turkey rest

Once you have confirmed that your turkey is cooked, let it rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. This will allow the juices to redistribute, making the meat more tender and juicy.

Cover with foil to keep warm

To keep the turkey warm while it rests, cover it with foil. This will help to retain the heat and prevent the meat from drying out.

Reheat the turkey

If you need to reheat the turkey, do so slowly to prevent it from drying out. Place it in a preheated oven at 325°F (163°C) for about 20-30 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Make gravy from the drippings

Use the drippings from the turkey to make a delicious gravy. Simply skim off the fat, add some flour to thicken, and whisk in the remaining liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Keep sides warm in a slow cooker

If your sides are finished cooking before the turkey, keep them warm in a slow cooker on low heat. This will ensure that they are still hot and ready to serve when the turkey is ready.

Serve appetizers while you wait

While you wait for the turkey to finish cooking or to reheat, serve some appetizers to keep your guests satisfied. This can include a cheese platter, deviled eggs, or even some chips and dip.

Enjoy your early Thanksgiving meal

Even if your turkey finishes cooking too early, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal. Follow these simple steps to ensure that your turkey stays warm and juicy, and enjoy spending time with your loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Elise DeVoe

Elise is a seasoned food writer with seven years of experience. Her culinary journey began as Managing Editor at the College of Charleston for Spoon University, the ultimate resource for college foodies. After graduating, she launched her blog, Cookin’ with Booze, which has now transformed into captivating short-form videos on TikTok and Instagram, offering insider tips for savoring Charleston’s local cuisine.

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