A good friend of mine, who's a fab cook, was nervous this past Thanksgiving about her turkey not coming out well. She, like many others, was fearful it would be too dry.
Practicing certain dishes makes sense, like salads or veggie dishes, but a turkey? Not too likely that a) you'll want to spend the dough on a giant, wild turkey, twice or b) that your family will want to eat it a week or so before the big day!
A great alternative is to practice on a chicken!
Yes, cooking times are going to vary as most chickens tend to be closer to the 2 – 4 # range, while turkeys are much heavier.
However, you can certainly practice techniques and prep methods, so that come Christmas, you're not in a frantic tailspin, nervous that you're going to botch the main course!
One of my fave ways to prep chicken is to employ a method I learned about a few years ago- trussing it and cooking it dry (as in, nothing added to it, or the pan) in a hot oven. Into a pre-heated 425F oven goes the trussed bird, where it stays for a good 1:15, at which point I take it out, let it rest for 15', check the temp to make sure it's 160F. The meat literally falls off the bone and is incredibly moist.
Give it a try- practice on a chicken and then you'll be that much more at east while cooking your Christmas Feast!
Checking the temp…
Meat falling off said bones…
Guess what we ate it with: KALE!
Have fun practicing while you and your fam enjoy practicing eating!