1. Still-Frozen Bird?
Submerge your turkey in a cold water bath if it's still not defrosted by Thanksgiving morning. Wrap the turkey tightly in plastic, and place it in a bowl of water below 40 degrees F. Change the water every 30 minutes, and rotate the turkey to safely defrost it; expect the process to take about 30 minutes per pound. If it goes into the oven later than expected, just stretch your cocktail hour a little longer!
2. Turkey Not Browning?
Everyone loves the look and taste of a beautifully browned bird—but turning up the temperature won't get you there. If your turkey is not browning the way you'd hoped, brush a honey and melted butter mixture onto the skin. The sugars will caramelize, crisping the skin while keeping the meat inside moist.
3. Meat Cooking Unevenly?
White meat tends to cook faster than dark meat, making turkey all about timing. You can avoid dry, overcooked white meat by brining the whole bird the night before or by slipping pats of butter under the skin. If the white meat is done sooner than the dark meat, cover the breasts with greased foil during the end of roasting. You can also control doneness by removing the legs and thighs and roasting them separately while the white meat rests.
4. Too Little Juice in Your Roasting Pan?
If there isn't a lot of juice left in your roasting pan, or you fear it might not infuse your gravy with enough turkey flavor, simply add some good-quality chicken stock. For more added flavor, make sure to deglaze your roasting pan with white wine, scraping up all the tasty bits stuck to the bottom; cook down your gravy by around half to eliminate any alcohol taste.
5. Turkey Taste Bland Once Carved?
Perhaps the most crucial step in flavoring your turkey is sprinkling it liberally with salt and pepper before roasting. If the meat still ends up tasting flat, just carve the bird and then sprinkle sea salt and freshly ground pepper over the slices before serving. Served with a well-seasoned gravy, your turkey will be back on track.