Are you Ready for Thanksgiving?
It’s never as easy as you think…
If you’re anything like me, maybe it’s selective memory.
You see, I always remember how delicious the meal was, but I always seem to forget how time consuming and messy it is preparing a giant bird with all the fixings, sides and dessert.
Plus the piles of dishes and clean up afterwards…
Well, we can’t help much with cleaning up, but we can at least help make your meal as delicious as possible!
Here I’ve gathered some of the best tips and tricks from the masters…
Combine that with a few select items from the Club Sauce shop – and you really can’t go wrong!
Before we get into the videos, make sure you’re prepared with the right equipment. If you’re missing any of these basics, now is the time to get your hands on them. Good quality equipment is always a smart one time investment that will last you for many years, if not forever.
Thanksgiving Equipment Checklist
- Mixing Bowl – A cook has got to mix it up and a heavy duty stainless steel one with a nice stable bottom is a great start.
- Measuring Spoons – Superb nesting measuring spoons are oval in shape to reach into the smallest spice jar.
- Thermapen thermometer – An instant-read thermometer is an essential piece of equipment. This model is a reliable, fast tool that won’t turn off, even when wet.
- Chefs Knife – Still the best—and a bargain—after 20 years, this knife’s super-sharp blade is silent and smooth.
- Cutting Board – Protect your knives with a quality wood cutting board. Quick pro tip: lay a moist paper towel under your cutting board to keep it firmly in place.
- Sauce Pan – High quality saucepans heat slowly and evenly to prevent scorching, and they will help guard against overcooking, too.
- Tongs – A good set of tongs will make an easy job of arranging sliced turkey on the platter.
- Roasting Pan – A heavy, sturdy pan features good handles and an efficient, gently flared interior shape.
- Slicing Knife – This well-made knife is America’s Test Kitchen favorite for a number of reasons: It’s moderately heavy, and has enough heft and rigidity to make straight cuts, while the thin, tapered, razor-sharp blade is long and wide enough to draw through a turkey breast in one stroke.
- Pie Plate – Don’t forget the pie! This award winning pie plate is built to the demanding specifications of the best culinary shops and home bakers around the world.
Of course, we’ve all made do with what we have, but it’s always a good idea to have a good spatula, whisk, measuring cups, storage… I could go on and on!
When you’re ready to explore our Cooking Essentials Shop, CLICK HERE!
And now on to the videos.
For our first stop we’re going to re-visit brining, which Bobby Flay did in our post on BBQ Chicken.
This time it’s with Alton Brown – I’m a huge fan…
Although this is from 2009, nothing’s changed.
Looking for a simple solution, pre measured and ready to dump in a bag with some water?
With Urban Accents Spiced Brine Blend you’ll take things up several notches by adding some serious flavor for your bird to soak up.
Now, for some (not you of course), brining a bird is a messy, cumbersome affair that takes up a lot of room in the fridge or makes you break out the ice chest.
Our answer to that?
A dry brine!
Making it even quicker and easier are two of our favorites, Holiday Turkey Rub from Nantucket Off-Shore and Gourmet Gobbler Herb Peppercorn Roasting Rub from Urban Accents.
Both are completely different from each other and you can’t go wrong with either.
The most important thing to remember about either of these techniques…
Give yourself enough time!
For a brine to work, your turkey needs to be defrosted – and the brine can take up to 3 DAYS.
But trust me, it will be worth it to have the moistest, most tender turkey with an amazing crisp skin, that you’ll have ever had!
Speaking of crisp skin.
Let’s go back to Alton for the secret to getting your turkey properly cooked. If you’re one to stick your bird in a bag and call it done, this will change your mind.
… And those bags won’t give you the coveted crisp skin that this does anyway.
Not all parts of a turkey cook at the same rate. Surprise, surprise!
That’s why the breast always gets overcooked when the legs and wings are finally perfect.
Well, now back to Alton Brown for the solution.
Now that you’ve got your turkey cooked properly and have let it rest a bit, it’s time to carve it up.
You’ve got to have a plan.
Yes, a plan.
After watching this video, you’ll be presenting your guests with a beautiful platter of perfectly carved turkey.
And when you slice it the right way shown in the video below, you’ll avoid the dry chewiness, and it will be the best tasting, most tender turkey ever.
Let’s let Martha Stewart wrap this up with a classic turkey gravy.
The key to this and all gravies, is separating the fat. I can’t even remember how they did this back in the day…
I think it involved a bowl, spoon and patiently skimming (yawn).
Now we have such wonderful tools!
We haven’t even added this fat separator to our store yet, but here’s where you can find our favorite OXO 4-Cup Fat Separator on amazon.
So there you have it.
Obviously, there’s hopefully a whole table crowded with side dishes, fresh baked rolls and cranberry sauce to accompany your triumph over turkey.
But that’s a post (or three) for another day – and you want your guests to bring something anyway, don’t you?!
Do you have another favorite tip, technique, recipe or suggestion?
We’d love to hear from you!
photo by Tim Sackton