Want to avoid a rookie mistake on Thanksgiving? Can the grease

Thanksgiving dinner is going to be different for a lot of people this year — smaller in most cases — and it might taste different, too, since many people are likely to be in the kitchen cooking everything by themselves for the first time.

There are lots of places you can go for advice that’ll help you make your dinner taste better. But you can still make a “rookie mistake” in the kitchen after the meal is over.

“Just when you think 2020 can’t get any worse, it could if you end up with sewage in your house on Thanksgiving,” said Lyn Riggins, a spokeswoman for WSSC Water. “We could have a lot of rookie cooks this year — people who are used to going to mom and dad’s for Thanksgiving and they’re staying home and they’re cooking their first turkey and they don’t know what they’re doing.”

“Don’t pour that grease down the kitchen sink.”

When you pull a turkey out of the oven, there will be a lot of grease. And if you’re cooking a bird for the first time, you might be tempted to run hot water, even hot, soapy water, down the drain as you pour it out. Eventually, that will cause you a problem.

“At some point, that grease is going to harden inside the pipe,” said Riggins. “It’s going to form a dam. And then you go to flush that toilet or run some more water down the sink and it hits that blockage, it hits that dam, and it backs right up into your house.”

Regardless of when it happens, about half of all residential sewage pipe backups are blockages caused by grease, Riggins said.

“This is an issue all year-round,” she added, and could be especially so in the months ahead when you consider how much more many people have been cooking at home this year. But the solution is much simpler.

“To keep 2020 from getting any worse, can the grease,” she said. “You want to can it, cool it and toss it.”

Pour the grease into a soup can or a green bean can, put it in the refrigerator or freezer, and when it has hardened, throw it in the trash.

Riggins said WSSC Water will even send special lids to customers to put on the cans that will keep the grease from spilling out.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up