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Posted: November 10, 2010 04:15 PM

TurkeyEven though Thanksgiving isn't upon us yet, it’s time to talk turkey.  Buying and roasting a bird can be intimidating, especially if you’re a first-time host or hostess. Even those of us who have done it before have a hard time shaking those nagging thoughts revolving around whether the bird will be juicy or dry or—worse yet—underdone.

EatingWell's Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes
Our Complete Thanksgiving Guide--Recipes Menus, Planners & More!

It’s understandable. After all, if you’re like most people, you’re only roasting a turkey once, maybe twice a year. We’ve roasted quite a few turkeys in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, and through trial and error, we’ve picked up on some common turkey mistakes and how to avoid them.

Mistake 1: You buy the wrong bird.
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What To Do Instead: Not all turkeys are created equal. Some birds are self-basting, meaning that they are injected with a solution of broth, salted water or other flavorings to keep them moist during cooking. We found these turkeys do stay moister, but if you’re watching your sodium intake you may want to avoid them. Check the label if you’re buying a turkey from the grocery store. The label will tell you the percent of solution in the bird and will also include all the ingredients in the solution.

Related: Turkey Buyer's Guide

Photo from Flickr: alecea
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Feel ready to start roasting? Check out this recipe to inspire you to pull off a flawless turkey this year:

Lemon-Garlic Roast Turkey & White-Wine Gravy

More to Inspire You This Thanksgiving:

Stunning Thanksgiving Desserts

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Luscious Pumpkin Desserts

By Hilary Meyer

Hilary Meyer

Hilary Meyer is assistant editor for EatingWell Media Group. Hilary spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.

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