Turkey Truths

Like many, we host an annual Friendsgiving celebration in which we get together with friends a couple weeks before Thanksgiving for a holiday-themed potluck.

We call ours The Stomach Stretcher.

I’m no stranger to cooking turkey for Thanksgiving. I’ve been the assigned chef over a number of years, and I’ve become known for converting turkey haters into turkey lovers upon the first taste.

Cooking an amazing turkey is one of those art/science sort of things—kind of like good marketing—and there’s actually a very good chance that you’ve never had a great turkey because it’s an elusive pursuit.

So over the years, I’ve optimized my recipe to create the most consistent results possible. But last year, I didn’t reach my KPIs.

With my track record, it was an absolute mystery to me what had happened.

I’d done everything the same way I’d always done it, but while the white meat was as perfect as it could be, the dark meat wasn’t cooked enough.

I had to figure out what went wrong.

Since a couple of my Friendsgiving friends are admirable cooks, I turned to them to help troubleshoot. A couple of weeks later, one of them sent me an episode of Science Friday that explained the mistake that I’ll never make again.

I made one small change that didn’t feel like a big deal at the time, but it turns out it was: I used a new fancy roasting pan.

It was thick and heavy, and I thought it was perfect for roasting a turkey.

Turns out it was the opposite of perfect since this thick, high-sided pan created a heat sink that caused the bird to cook unevenly.


As a confident turkey roaster, I trust my gut, and I’ll still continue to experiment in cooking based on what I know.

But in this case, I introduced a critical error by going with my gut instead of taking some time to research ahead of time.

We can get so comfortable in our expertise that it’s sometimes hard to take an objective look at what we’re doing and why.

But with a growth mindset and a little outside perspective, we can grow and excel.

I bet you want that turkey recipe, don’t you?

Well, here it is—the best ever roast turkey recipe that will make you the legend of Thanksgiving. And maybe you’ll be able to make even more improvements on it. Let me know!

(And if your brand marketing isn’t performing like it used to or if you need that objective outside perspective, reach out. Walden Hyde has a lot of amazing well-tested recipes for things other than turkeys.)