Thanksgiving Prep.

We are just 10 days out from Thanksgiving people. This means you better start gearing up because before you know it you’re hands deep in the turkey cavity pulling out giblets and haven’t event peeled your potatoes!

So let’s get to work!

In the beginning of October I gave Thanksgiving dinner a test run. And it came out pretty darn good. So here are a few tips from my trial. Starting with lots of butter and lots of love.

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First things first. Get a pen and paper. Yes, a pen and paper. Start to write down the necessities and bulk of what’s traditionally on the menu for your Thanksgiving feast. Under each item include ingredients or items needed for the prep of that particular dish.

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This brings me to my first rule and the reason why I say ‘traditionally’. You should not and will not and, better yet, NEVER test out a new recipe on Thanksigving day. Now, with that said, we are 10 days out from our guests arrival so, by all means, if you have the time and want to try that new recipe you’ve been eyeing up in Bon Appetite Magazine than have at it! Now’s the time. Not hours before your guests arrive.

  • Never test out a new recipe for your Thanksgiving guests if you haven’t given it a trial run. (yikes, you could be ordering delivery pizza)
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My trial dish was twice baked potatoes.

Next, minimize the day of prep. After you make your list, write down which dishes can be prepped before hand and which dishes need to be prepped day of.

  • Do not sacrifice the quality of your dishes. Meaning, if you know your mashed potatoes are creamiest and most delicious when made the day of, DO NOT make them 2 days before hand.¬†
  • Examples of pre made dishes: cranberry sauce, apple sauce, turnips, apple/pumpkin pies.
  • You might even prep something like brussels sprouts by cleaning and cutting the day before.¬†

Maximizing your prep time days before will save you time so you can enjoy the company of your guests as well as a Thanksgiving anxiety attack.

This also brings me to the point of an over crowded oven. If you know your turkey needs 5 hours of cooking time and you have only one oven, 3 pies to bake, squash to roast, potatoes to bake, and a ham…well….you’re screwed.

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An over crowded oven will not produce the results of even and accurately cooked foods. If you have 2 or 3 ovens then you’re running a well oiled Thanksgiving machine, I commend you! Can I come?!

  • Think about your oven space, your fridge space – where’s all this food living?

Last but not least – THE BRINE. Because brine time is a good time (sorry, super cheesy).

Please brine your turkey. It will be 10x more delicious. Everyone who makes a turkey is always afraid of drying out the meat. When you brine your turkey, you have a good shot at eliminating any chance of a dry bird. It also gives the meat flavor so don’t be afraid to give your bird a bath.

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A brined and dried turkey ready for the oven. Make sure to put butter underneath the skin as well as on the outside of the turkey. You can make your own rub with

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Tip: Don’t always trust the built in turkey thermometer. It’s not always accurate. Use your own thermometer to gauge the temperature of your bird.

Get a bucket. Brine for two days in the fridge. Make sure to let your turkey reach room temperature before throwing it in the oven. If not you will find your turkey undercooked when it comes time to carve.

  • Make sure your turkey is at room temperature before baking. It’s safe – you’ll be fine, I promise. A cold turkey will have a hard time reaching the temperatures you want.

Turkey Brine Base

2 gallons of cold water

1-1/2 cups of kosher salt

2 cups brown sugar

Bay leaves

Add ins

1 cup apple cider (if it’s in the fridge)

Orange peels or lemon peels

Peppercorns

Garlic

Rosemary 

These are just some of the things to thing about before throwing your Thanksgiving feast! More to come as we start the 10 days count down to turkey day.

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Don’t be afraid to reach for the cookbook. And most of all, enjoy!

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