Food & Drink

Turkey nightmare? Help is here to survive Thanksgiving gone wrong

Video: How to stuff a turkey cavity for Thanksgiving

Smash garlic with the blade of a knife, then place shallot and herbs in the turkey cavity before cooking
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Smash garlic with the blade of a knife, then place shallot and herbs in the turkey cavity before cooking

Last-minute Thanksgiving advice is just a call, click or tweet away:


▪ USDA Meat and Poultry: 888-674-6854 (English and Spanish),

▪ Butterball:800-288-8372,, @Butterball.

▪ National Turkey Federation:

▪ Jennie-O: Live chat at

▪ Honeysuckle White Turkey: 800-810-6325,


▪ Crisco: 877-367-7438 (English and Spanish).

▪ Fleischmann’s Yeast:

▪ Pillsbury:

▪ Land O’Lakes:

▪ Libby’s Pumpkin: 800-854-0374,


▪ Jones Dairy Farm:


▪ U.S. Potato Board:


▪ Ocean Spray: 800-662-3263,, @OceanSprayInc.

Safety basics

▪ Uncooked turkey can harbor salmonella. Clean up any raw juices with hot, soapy water, and take care not to contaminate other foods via cutting boards or knives.

▪ An instant-read thermometer is the best way to tell if your turkey is safely cooked to 165 degrees. Insert it in the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone.

▪ Perishable foods should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. Refrigerate leftovers promptly in shallow containers for quick cooling.

▪ You can safely thaw a turkey by submerging it in cold water that you change every 30 minutes. It will thaw at a rate of 30 minutes a pound, or about 6 to 8 hours for a 12- to 16-pound bird.

Roasting times

Use these USDA-recommended times instead of those found in older cookbooks and references. The times are for an oven temperature of 325 degrees and assume the turkey is unstuffed and fridge-cold:

▪ 8 to 12 pounds: 2 3/4 to 3 hours.

▪ 12 to 14 pounds: 3 to 3 3/4 hours.

▪ 14 to 18 pounds: 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours.

▪ 18 to 20 pounds: 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours.

▪ 20 to 24 pounds: 4 1/2 to 5 hours.

Missing ingredients

<bullet>Winn-Dixie, Whole Foods, Sedano’s and Milam’s are among the supermarkets that will be open Thanksgiving Day (reduced hours in most cases; call ahead).

▪ Amazon Prime Now offers one- and two-hour delivery in Miami from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., including Thanksgiving. Ingredients, kitchen essentials, favorite games, DVDs and more:

Dining out

Scores of South Florida restaurants are offering holiday menus on Thursday. Find times and menus at

Evan S. Benn is Miami Herald food editor: 305-376-4624, @EvanBenn

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