5 Smart Ways to Salvage an Overcooked Turkey

published Nov 25, 2014
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(Image credit: Karen Grigoryan)

Like it or not, turkey is the star of Thanksgiving dinner. If you pull your bird out of the oven to find it’s overcooked, you may have the urge to shed a few tears (been there, done that), but don’t panic. You’re not the first person to overcook a turkey and you certainly won’t be the last.

Unfortunately there’s no way to turn back the clock and undo what’s been done. The good news, however, is that there are a few ways to salvage your overcooked turkey.

1. Let gravy save the day.

Cover the slices of meat with lots of that delicious gravy, and no one will be the wiser. A really good gravy does a lot for even the driest cut of meat.

2. Warm with chicken stock.

After you slice the meat off the bird, place it in a shallow baking dish, cover it with chicken or turkey stock, then put it in a 250-degree oven for about 10 minutes. While this won’t totally eliminate the dryness, it will add more moisture to the meat, and most importantly, it will prevent it from drying out even more.

3. Focus on the dark meat.

Turkey doesn’t cook uniformly, so while the breast meat is overcooked, it’s more than likely that the legs and thighs are just fine. Focus on serving these cuts of meat first.

4. Make the side dishes the stars of the meal.

Remember, there’s a table full of excellent side dishes, which are arguably the best part of Thanksgiving. Load up everyone’s plates with an extra helping of stuffing and mashed potatoes

5. Refill everyone’s wine glass.

And, if all else fails, pour another glass of wine for everyone at the table. They’ll (hopefully) never notice the dry meat.

What are your best tips for salvaging overcooked turkey?