Thanksgiving Day Tips, Tricks, and Questions

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jacob burton's picture
jacob burton
Joined: 2015-05-25 20:37
Thanksgiving Day Tips, Tricks, and Questions

Hey there SC community.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I want to hear your favorite Thanksgiving day tips or tricks. Also, let us know how you're cooking the bird, and any special sides you plan on making.

If you have any questions or need help planning your approach for Thanksgiving Day, this is the place to post it.

Looking forward to hearing from y'all.

Nina's picture
Joined: 2011-06-14 08:06

This turkey recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated. Nov-Dec issue 2011.  Once we tried this recipe, it is the only one that we go back to.

It begins with a 10-12lb. bird. Butcher the bird into breast, legs, thighs, back and wings. Cover the bottom of a roasting pan with 3 chopped onions, 3 ribs of celery and 2 carrots, some garlic, bay leaves, fresh thyme and parsley. Put the back and wings aside.  All of the other pieces get brushed with butter, sprinkle with salt & peper. This goes uncovered into a 500 F oven until the skin is lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Remove the pan, knock the temp down to 325 F. Pour 1 cup of dry white wine and 4 cups of low sodium broth around the turkey pieces and add 1/2 oz. of rinsed porcini mushrooms. Cover the pan with parchment paper, topped with aluminum foil. Close the foil tightly around the pan and roast about 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hrs, until the breast = 160F and thighs + 165F.

The wings and back are used to top the pan holding the dressing. Polk 10 to 15 holes in each wing. Brown the meat in a saute pan.  Use your favorite stuffing recipe and add 2 cups of broth to the dressing. Place in a buttered casserole dish. Place the wings and back on top of the dressing. Like the turkey, wrap the dish in parchment and foil. The drippings add a flavor so that the taste is as if the bird were stuffed. 

Then have a Happy Thanksgiving!

"People who love to eat are always the best people." -- Julia Child

labradors's picture
Joined: 2011-05-16 04:52

Not necessarily just for Thanksgiving, but try something other than the gooey, sticky, marshmallow sweet potatoes. 

Many years ago, I saw a recipe for Spicy Stuffed Sweet Potatoes in an unlikely place, for me: Vegetarian Times magazine and I loved it! 

Since then, I'll often bake a sweet potato and, along similar lines, mash some butter and spices into it. Sometimes I'll use my homemade curry powder. Tonight, it was cumin, garlic powder and cinnamon. SO delicious! 

cassellvb's picture
Joined: 2015-11-24 07:42

I am going to sous vide my turkey this year but I have a question about time.  I am mostly using Michael Voltagio's recipe and he recommends 2-2.5 hours at 65C/150F (for all the pieces).  Many of the other time tables I have seen say the same.  Your time table is a slightly lower temp for the breast and 4 hours same temp (65C) as Voltaggio for thighs at 4 hours.  It does get finished off by frying it in a deep fryer for a few minutes.

I am just not sure how long to go.  They are bone in but well trimmed from a 17lb bird.

I don''t want an undercooked peice of meat nor do I want mush....Any thoughts on this vast difference in times?


jacob burton's picture
jacob burton
Joined: 2015-05-25 20:37

@ Cassellvb,

Turkey and chicken legs specifically can still have some redness on the interior which can make the guests squeamish. And even though a turkey breast will technically be done at two and a half hours, the proteins won't have necessarily full coagulated, which can give you an under-cooked texture.

My time and temperatures come from trial and error, and are of course influenced by my own textural preferences. Brian Voltagio is a bad-ass chef, so I'm sure his times and temps are valid too. With that said, I have served turkey cooked with this time and temp to lots of people, and have always gotten really strong feedback.

Let me know if you have any questions.

GimpyBee's picture
Joined: 2012-10-17 11:54

So Thanksigiving 2015 was a huge success. (Despite that my wife got sick so I have to cook the whole meal myself!) Turkey was delicious and it made an incredible champaign gravey, the citrus and apple cranberry sauces were both great, two types of mash (I always do a savory sweet potato mash), stuffings, and corn breads. Many, many tips and tricks garnered from Chef Jacob to great success! Thanks!


The only problem was that this year I tried a corn bread stuffing (in addition to the bread stuffing and Mom's stuffing kugel) and did not like the results. I started with homemade yellow corn bread (a variation on the Cook's Illustrated one) which I dried out first by air for two days and then in the oven to make sure it was extra dry. I added 1 cup broth for every 4 cups bread, no eggs and then added in bacon, chestnuts, and the standard mirepoix. It just did not work. At all. The corn bread taste overwhelmed everything else and made it just bland. Plus the texture was just all too crumbly. I suppose more moisture may have helped, but I don't know what else to do. Does corn bread need stronger flavorings than regular bread stuffings? Should I have used a white corn bread, which has a less powerful taste than the yellow I used? Or was this idea just flawed from the start? Any tips would be most welcomed. 

jacob burton's picture
jacob burton
Joined: 2015-05-25 20:37

Hey Gimpy,

Glad to hear you had an awesome Thanksgiving.

Off the top of my head, 1 cup of liquid per 4 cups of dry corn bread doesn't seem like enough liquid. This could be why the texture is so crumbly.

As for the flavor, there's really no getting around that. Corn bread stuffing will taste heavily like corn. That's why I prefer a more neutral bread for my stuffing, but that just comes down to personal preference.

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Hi chef Jacob and all forum users.

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