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The 6 Biggest Mistakes You Make While Cooking a Turkey

December 9, 2013

It’s that time of year again! The fruitcakes are ringing, the reindeer are singing, and tinsel is glistening on the snowman. Pour yourself a mug of hot buttered cranberry sauce and start feeling self-conscious about being single, because Christmas is coming!

It’s necessary for you to make December 25 perfect for all your family and friends, and cooking a perfect turkey (plus all the trimmings!) is one significant aspect of creating a holiday experience that meets your loved ones’ complex emotional and nutritional expectations. Unfortunately, too many would-be master chefs ruin the occasion for everyone by committing one or more of these “Noel no-no’s”!

1. Forgetting to remove the innards of the turkey. Most turkeys come with a “stocking” full of extras: the liver, gizzard, neck, and other parts that previously belonged to the fully constituted living bird. You may choose to cook up these items separately for the more adventurous guests, or you may opt simply to chop them into pieces and give them to the cat. Either way, be sure to take them out of the bird before stuffing it! Nothing ruins your mother-in-law’s appetite like an unsolicited gizzard on her plate. Nobody at the table will be able to hear your  carefully chosen ambient medley of instrumental Christmas songs over the sound of your embarrassed apologies!

2. Stuffing the turkey with chocolate chunks and marshmallow sauce. We get it–Christmas is a busy time of year, and sometimes you’re “not all there”! But remember: you’re cooking a turkey, not making s’mores! Always take the time to ensure that you are filling the dead bird’s chest cavity only with savoury items: for example, seasoned bread crumbs, onions, and perhaps pine nuts for that extra hint of west-coast pretension.

3. Basting the bird with sulfuric acid (or any corrosive substance). This mistake is similar to #2, but more lethal. Butter is considered an ideal basting agent for many meats, including turkey. You can earn extra “Christmas cred” by adding a blend of tasty spices, or perhaps sea salt, to the melted butter. Trust us: acid basting–sulfuric or otherwise–is taking creativity to a level that your guests will not survive long enough to appreciate.

4. Investing all of your savings into a pyramid scheme or e-mail scam while the bird bakes. Everybody wants to strike it rich without really doing anything, and a little extra money sure would come in handy come January. Still, do your utmost to avoid spending the 20-minute stretches between basting sessions (psst–don’t forget rule #3!) transferring huge amounts of your money to a company or individual with a suspicious back story and/or lengthy history of legal entanglements. That time would be much better spent interacting with your loved ones, perhaps while tossing back a tall glass of your favourite hard liquor.

5. Hardcore making out with a family member as the gravy simmers. We’ve all been there: stressed out, piss drunk, and surrounded by relatives. Christmas is a time to show love to the people who matter most, but no matter how fond you are of that special cousin or sibling, it should never cross the line into erotic territory. Concentrate your attention on transforming the buttery bird juices and scrapings into a gravy that the turkey itself, while still alive, would have been honoured to wear as perfume. If you’re on the receiving end of a family member’s amorous advances, distract him or her with a heartfelt recitation of your favourite poem. Nothing kills the mood like poetry!

6. Carving your guests instead of the bird. You’ve done it: the butter-basted, bread-stuffed, juicy-breasted pièce de resistance is out of the oven and looking perfect, crackly skin and all! Don’t “kill” the moment by turning the knife on your human dinner guests. Keep the Christmas cheer rolling by carving only the turkey, not the people at the table waiting to enjoy it.

It’s that simple! Keep these six easy tips in mind and we guarantee a holiday that will be delicious and memorable in all the right ways! Do YOU have a favourite bird-baking suggestion? We’d love to hear it!


A laid-back turkey relaxes on a plate after a hard day in the oven while Aunt Gertrude’s elbow looks on.


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