14 Nov

How Long to Thaw a Turkey and Other Useful Thanksgiving Tips

It’s beginning to look a lot like…. The season of eating! Food is such a central part of many holiday traditions this time of year throughout the world. It’s only fitting that everyone is beginning to get excited to celebrate. For many Americans, this means preparing and enjoying a large Thanksgiving Day meal with friends, family and football.

Central to this holiday season kick-off  is the turkey. There are many myths about Thanksgiving turkeys such as eating turkey makes you tired and this was the fine meal the pilgrims enjoyed on the first Thanksgiving (It was actually goose and venison!). However, one of the most controversial turkey topics, aside from the many different ways to cook the bird, is how to determine the best way and for how long to thaw it.

Our chefs gave us some basic information to help anyone getting ready to cook their first turkey this year. There are some that believe that thawing a turkey in water is the best method, but our chefs believe that leaving it in the refrigerator over a period of time is better. Use our simple chart to determine the best way to get your Thanksgiving turkey ready for the oven (or fryer!).

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Other Helpful Thanksgiving Tips

  1. Read your recipes very carefully to be sure you have all the equipment you need and be sure your instant read thermometer is working!
  2. Split your grocery shopping into two trips. One for non-perishables and another that needs to be very fresh to prepare.
  3. Plan your day-of cooking timeline in advance. Write it down, check it off.
  4. Be sure you have enough of and the correct serving pieces to present your Thanksgiving meal.
  5. If you are short on cooking space, such as only having one oven, create what caterers call a prep list and make ahead recipes that can be done a day or two in advance to free up oven time for the most important part of the meal: the turkey.
  6. Set your Thanksgiving table the night before to free up time on Thanksgiving Day to cook, laugh, and enjoy family. It shouldn’t be all work and no play!
  7. Employ the slow cooker. Not necessarily to cook anything, but to keep anything that is done early warm.
  8. Be sure you have enough leftover containers to package anything not eaten. Everyone loves a late-night Thanksgiving Day snack.
  9. To time your cooking and your meal time just right, work backwards. Starting with the time you want to eat, count backwards to prep your timeline of when things need to be made. Also, add about 10 minutes to every recipe to help.
  10. For an easy clean up, consider lining all your oven pans with foil and triple lining your garbage receptacles. This can help make clean up a breeze!

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