Resources for Thanksgiving Turkey

My first Thanksgiving turkey (2015)

My first Thanksgiving turkey (2015)

Whoa, Thanksgiving is a week away. How did that happen?

Despite my love of cooking, last year was my first time ever hosting Thanksgiving. And boy, was it stressful. But I pulled it off. I'll work on building out some allergy-friendly ideas this year so they can be a resource in future years. But in the meantime, I can share some resources for turkey that I hope will be helpful to you.

First things first: Personally, I opted for a fresh bird. The best part is there is no stress over thawing it.

Second, you can make a really great turkey without butter if you need to be dairy-free as we do. Thanks to my amazing friend Jenn, I turned to Martha Stewart for my base recipe. (Of course, I modified it.)

The thing that's awesome about this recipe: a bottle of wine! The thing that's less than awesome because we can't do dairy: the butter. But I followed her process using olive oil instead, and it was still great. And it looked pretty too, which — obviously — is part of the point on a food-centric holiday. (Oh, and I added chicken broth in the bottom of the pan since so little juice was released from the turkey itself.)


The wonder that is brining

In my research last year, I looked into brining. I had always read that that was important. Then, I learned about dry brining, which I didn't even know was a thing. That's the direction I went, and it really did seem to help lead to a more moist bird.

Here's a great piece on brining from Serious Eats.

And here's more on dry brining.


To stuff the bird or to not stuff the bird?

Growing up, my mom always put the stuffing inside the turkey. We devoured it. Some years, she would make a casserole dish of extra stuffing ... It was not as good, and these days, I'd dare say, not worth the carbs.

But I've always heard there's some risk of poisoning your guests by stuffing the bird. So, last year, I studied up. And here's what I learned: To get the stuffing to the ideal internal temperature, you risk drying out the turkey. Therefore, I chose to stuff the cavity with lemons and onions and garlic instead.

You don't have to take my word for it. Take Alton Brown's word on why stuffing the bird isn't a good idea.


Recommended Thanksgiving podcasts

One of the things that got me excited about Thanksgiving last year was this episode of the Bon Appetit Foodcast.

And this America's Test Kitchen podcast is a great resource too.

Happy turkey-ing!