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10 Ways You Can Dis a Turkey

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We've all heard the stories: an entire family spent most of Thanksgiving at the ER barfing; a friend of a friend forgot to thaw the turkey before putting it in the oven; turkey breast meat that looked like hay; Uncle Fred kept staring at your cleavage. Next Thanksgiving doesn't have to be a horror story, these tips will dissolve all your worries.

10. Don't be stingy, share the wealth. Remember Thanksgiving is supposed to be feast, make sure you buy a turkey that is large enough for the hours and hours and days of eating to follow.

9. Not everything is good at room temperature. Never, ever thaw your turkey, or anyone else's for that matter, at room temperature. You can thaw it forever in the fridge, or speed things up in a water-filled sink.

8. Don't be naughty, keep it clean. If you're handling the turkey, stick to it before moving on to other dishes. At the very least, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands, tools and surfaces before moving on.

7. Don't put that in there. Really, I know Grandma Louise did, but the reality is that by the time you bring the stuffing's temperature to the appropriate point, the turkey's meat is likely overcooked. Just give brine a chance. If you absolutely can't bare unstuffed turkey dinner, then, whatever you do, don't stuff your turkey the night before. EVER.

6. Burning the midnight oil. Cooking turkey at a low temperature all night long, is a very bad idea. For one thing, you're likely to sleep through the buzzer. But worst, the internal temperature of the turkey may remain below the safe zone for too long and bad things could happen to your loved ones. Salmonella is no joke.

5. Cooked it once, good for you. Overcooked, shame on you.Dry, overcooked turkey may cause your dinner guests to fake a tryptophan-induced nap right there on the table. Use a thermometer for optimal results.

4. Give it a break! I know you're hungry and as impatient as me, but please, please let that turkey rest at least 15 minutes before cutting into it.

3. Put that axe down. That bird is already dead, there's no need for a massacre. If a picture speaks a thousand words, then imagine what this video will do for your carving skills.

2. Being at the bottom isn't a bad thing. Don't even think about throwing away the pan drippings. This is tantamount to a cardinal sin. The drippings hold the key to lots of flavor. Instead, scrape them up to make an out-of-this-world gravy.

1. Put your goodies away. Turkey meat, stuffing, gravy, green beans, whatever you just spent days preparing, should hit the fridge as soon as possible. Pack'em up and refrigerate after dinner.

The turkey is a noble bird, but it is also supposed to be delicious, so avoid these mistakes and you will have a lovely time. Sorry, I can't help you with Uncle Fred. Dude's just creepy.

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