When it comes to cooking for the big turkey day, there’s much to consider, especially if you are the host this year! Shopping lists, cooking utensil inventory, choosing which dishes to prepare, determining the order of cooking, delegating tasks, etc. are likely all on your mind as Thanksgiving approaches.
Thanksgiving Cooking Tips
Getting organized before cooking is key, but arguably the most important aspect of cooking for a group is the cooking itself! We figure who better to ask for quick tips than an executive chef? Anthony J. Jones, the executive chef at The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa, was generous enough to offer us eight of his go-to strategies and techniques for Thanksgiving.
1. Use a Cooler For More Fridge Space
Chances are slim that you won’t run out of refrigerator space, and even if you do manage to cram it all in, it will be quite the ordeal to ever get anything out. Instead of dealing with the chaos of a packed refrigerator, fill a cooler with ice and keep it nearby for any fridge overflow.
2. Use a Glass Measuring Cup For Fat Separates
Not all kitchen gadgets are necessary, but if there’s one that is, it’s a glass fat separator. This device looks similar to a glass measuring pitcher, but it has a special lid with holes in it. When you pour any broth, liquid, or juices from your cooking, it will strain out the liquid from any chunks.
3. Aluminum Foil For a Roasting Rack
If your roasting pan is out of commision, you can’t find it, or just don’t have one, not to worry! Aluminum foil can easily make a roasting rack, and bonus, you don’t have to clean it afterward!
4. Don’t Baste Your Turkey
Yes, this advice likely goes against the turkey cooking traditions that have been passed down for generations or at least passed on from movies, TV shows, and the internet in general. Talk to the real cuisine gurus, though, and you’ll hear the same piece of advice from them all: don’t baste your bird. It turns out, basting does nothing to infuse the turkey meat with moisture and flavor. Salting and brining the skin, and making sure your turkey is dry before you begin to cook, is what will do wonders for texture and taste of your turkey.
5. Cook Your Bird Unstuffed and it Will be Even Juicier
Another way to ensure your bird is tender, juicy, and delicious, is not to stuff it. We know it’s tempting to stuff the turkey, but if you don’t stuff it then the turkey will cook quicker, more even, and then any vegetarians at your meal will still be able to eat the stuffing.
6. Kitchen Cabinets Make Excellent Recipe Holders
Do all of your recipes have oil soaked fingerprints across them? Ours, too. Anthony brilliantly recommends to simply just tape them to the kitchen cabinets. Easier to read, easier to keep track of, and easier to keep clean and legible!
7. Make Any Sides the Day Prior
Save yourself time and stress the day-of Thanksgiving by spending the day before making all of the side dishes.
8. Massage Your Bird With Butter
Butter single-handedly makes everything ooze deliciousness, which is why Anthony recommends massaging the skin, top, and underbelly of the turkey with it.
Thank you, Anthony, for these incredibly simple and useful tips. Perhaps next year we will manage to snag an invite to your Thanksgiving meal, but for now, we’re satisfied with your advice! We hope each and every one of you has a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season, filled with succulent foods, laughter, and loved ones.