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My first Thanksgiving dinner. Advice please!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I'm making my first Thanksgiving dinner this year and I'm a little nervous about it. I think I'm going to try the "Dry-Brined Big Bird" from my Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook. Has anyone here ever dry brined a turkey? If so, how did it turn out? 

 

I'd also love it if someone could give me some tips on how to have everything ready at the same time. I'm handling the turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes (2 batches. One dairy free, one not.) 

I have no idea how to do this. Ahhhh!!!

post #2 of 3

Good luck!  I just made my first Thanksgiving dinner today and it went much better than expected.  

 

I haven't dry-brined a turkey before, but I used this method today and it was delicious... http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html

 

I would make the cranberry sauce the night before.

 

Put the turkey in the oven about 3 hours before you're planning on the guests arriving (if you're using the method above).  About 20 minutes before the turkey is done, put a pot of water on to boil and start peeling/chopping potatoes.  Put potatoes in boiling water to cook.  Pull the turkey out of the oven, cover with foil or a lid, and set aside.  Mash the potatoes.  Pour off turkey drippings (get someone to help!) and then make the gravy.  Once gravy is done, carve turkey and serve.  Turkeys need to sit for 20+ minutes before carving, so that gives you time to work on the other things.

post #3 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamiPolizzi View Post

I'm making my first Thanksgiving dinner this year and I'm a little nervous about it. I think I'm going to try the "Dry-Brined Big Bird" from my Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook. Has anyone here ever dry brined a turkey? If so, how did it turn out? 

 

I'd also love it if someone could give me some tips on how to have everything ready at the same time. I'm handling the turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes (2 batches. One dairy free, one not.) 

I have no idea how to do this. Ahhhh!!!

 

I make a list of everything I have to do and when it needs to be done. Having a written schedule helps me to not forget things too as I check them off.

 

Anything you can make or do ahead will be helpful.

 

What you've listed doesn't seem too bad to manage.

 

If you are making cranberry sauce isn't that something that can be made the day before? Even if you serve it warm I think it would be super easy to re-heat it up or keep it warm.

 

It looks like a dry brine needs to start a couple of days before cooking and what I read said to let it sit for 1 hour at room temp before cooking. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/17/food/la-fo-dry-brined-turkey-20111117

You have 3 hours probably when your turkey is in the oven to do other things (you might have to cook longer if your turkey in bigger). You can make the mashed potatoes while the turkey is cooking.

 

You could peel your potatoes early and just keep them in water until it is time to start cooking them. I would schedule about 30 minutes for boiling potatoes and mashing. 

 

Plan to have the turkey out of the oven, cover loosely with foil and let it rest for 20-30 minutes before you carve it up. During that time you can make the gravy- that takes 10 or 15 minutes maybe.

 

 

Couple of days before- start the brining process

Day before- make cranberry sauce

Thanksgiving Day- About 4 1/2 hours to serving time get turkey out of refrigerator and let sit 1 hour, 3 1/2 hours to serving time put turkey in oven, peel potatoes and place in water, start cooking potatoes just before you remove the turkey from the oven, cover the turkey with foil and let it rest 30 minutes, make gravy in 15 minutes, mash potatoes when they are done cooking. Carve turkey and serve everything.

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