Thanksgiving is a time for good food and good people. While many people enjoy this time with family and friends, it can also bring the pressure to prepare the perfect meal. We’ve asked Red Ledges Chef Daniel Thompson for three tips to help you prepare the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you are a culinary novice or an expert looking for new tricks, these tips will help make your Thanksgiving preparation more enjoyable.
Spatchcock the turkey: Spatchcocking is a preparation method that reduces the cook time and produces a better turkey, according to some experts. To spatchcock a turkey, you remove the backbone of the turkey so that it lies flat while its roasting. This allows the turkey to cook faster and achieve a more even cook. Learn more about spatchcocking here.
Modified: A different strategy that is similar to spatchcocking is to split the turkey into eight different parts: two breasts, two legs, two wings, two thighs. Like spatchcocking, this makes it easier to cook the turkey and reduces the cooking time. One thing to remember with this strategy is that each part of the turkey will cook differently. Monitor the temperature of each turkey part to make sure that you do not overcook them. Cook to 160 or 165 degrees fahrenheit. Use a fast-read thermometer to check the temperature of the bird while its cooking. Make sure that the probe reaches the middle of the meat for an accurate reading. If you are looking for a good meat thermometer, Chef Daniel recommends the Thermapen fast read thermometer. Check it out here.
Baste Continually: Don’t rely on the turkey juices to keep your turkey moist. Combine melted butter or oil with your favorite herbs and continually baste the turkey throughout the roasting process. This will keep the turkey moist, add flavor, and create a golden brown color.
Don’t slice the turkey right away: Let the turkey rest about 20 minutes before you cut it. When you let the turkey rest, the proteins in the meat will relax and release flavors and moisture into the meat. Your turkey will have a stronger flavor and the meat will be more tender.
Along with these three tips, Chef Daniel says that the most important thing to remember while cooking Thanksgiving Dinner is to take your time. Enjoy the process and don’t be in a hurry! If you are looking for a delicious gravy recipe to go with your turkey, check out Chef Daniel’s signature gravy recipe below.
We hope you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!
Chef Daniel’s Signature Giblet Gravy
Save the turkey bones to make turkey stock
Take the giblets, onions, celery, and flour and brown them.
Remove everything but the liver
Puree liver into gravy
Adjust with salt, pepper, and herbs to taste