You swear the turkey roasting pan was in the third cabinet to the left of the sink. It's Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving and it's absolutely nowhere to be found. Or maybe you pull out your tried-and-true roasting pan only to discover your bird is too big to fit. Or perhaps you never bothered purchasing said Turkey Day pan extraordinaire since you only roast things on, well, Thanksgiving.
Whatever the case may be, rest assured there's plenty of room to improvise without one. As a first line of defense, check to see if you have a large baking sheet, which can be used to roast your bird. You'll miss out on all the liquids brewing at the bottom of the pan, but your turkey may cook more evenly, since the pan's sides won't prevent the thighs from heat penetration. Feel free to place your turkey over an even layer of potatoes, carrots, and onions to act as a makeshift roasting rack of sorts, as cooking site The Kitchn recommends.
Other solid options include using a cast iron skillet or your biggest casserole dish—basically anything that's large and oven-proof—to work in lieu of a roasting pan. Got cookie drying racks? If they fit in your pan, The Kitchn also advises that a wire cooling rack can step in like a roasting rack to keep your turkey in place.
More from Southern Living
Another simple idea you may not have thought of? "If you are limited on cooking space, I recommend purchasing your favorite parts of the turkey broken down instead of a whole turkey. For example, if you don’t like dark meat, find a butcher that will sell you just the breast, or vice versa," offers Paula DaSilva of Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits at The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale in South Florida. "This way, everything you cook will be exactly what you want to eat and you don’t need a huge roasting pan to do so."
WATCH: Dr. BBQ How To Deep Fry A Turkey For Thanksgiving
Or, channel the spirit of Chef Casey Burchfield of Linger Longer Steakhouse at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Georgia, and head to the grill. "When I cook Thanksgiving for my family I prefer to butterfly the turkey over cherry wood and a Cajun rub. While watching your turkey cook under the glow of the grill fire, I always drink a winter lager to embrace the holiday spirit. Cheers!” Try brining the turkey for 24 hours before to amp up the flavor. And as any Southern barbecue gent would also pitch in if you don't have the proper pan—heck, even if you do— you can always deep fry your turkey.