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If you don't brine your turkey, you have nobody to blame for dry white meat but yourself. Others will also blame you.

The task of cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is intimidating to most. No matter how easy they’re making it look, a whole lot of work goes into this spectacular feast, which means there are many potential pitfalls to watch out for. Here are some scenarios with quick fixes, brought to you by all the holiday food enthusiasts here at Food Republic.

And a note on spatchcocking your turkey: Spatchcock your turkey, for crying out loud, as encouraged in our procrastinator’s guide to cooking Thanksgiving turkey! While it may seem an intimidating prospect to do something even a butcher recommends your butcher do for you, this is a task that can certainly be done at home with a surge of “fake it till you make it” confidence and a sharp, sturdy pair of poultry shears.

A spatchcocked turkey cooks faster, which means it stays juicier. (Photo: galant/Flickr).

A note on those poultry shears: The set that came with your IKEA butcher block will literally not cut it. Poultry shears should be purchased individually for one purpose: shearing poultry. Here are our quality picks, from the basic “get it done right” to the mighty “hand these down to your favorite grandkid as an heirloom.”

Henckels International Poultry Shears, $19.95

OXO Good Grip Professional Poultry Shears, $32

Shun Kitchen Shears, $79.95

  1. Lay the bird on a sturdy surface breast-side up, score deeply along both sides of the spine using a very sharp knife, then go in through the cavity and cut along both sides of the spine where you made the cuts. This may take a little extra time and effort if you’re tackling a very large turkey.
  2. Pull out the spine to use for gravy (there’s a huge amount of flavor hidden in there!), and the bird should easily lie flat. If it’s not lying perfectly flat, give it a few good pushes down with the heels of your hands.
  3. Trim off the visible ribs and you’re ready to go.

Now get crackin’! Prep time starts now!