Thanksgiving is far and away one of our favorite holidays. It’s all about people you love, celebrating the things you love, whilst eating food you love. Truthfully, it doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
But Thanksgiving can also be extraordinarily stressful. Yes, figuring out who’s going to pick grandma up at the airport is a pain, and navigating the choppy waters of political differences between family members can be trying.
However, for most of us, the real challenge is in the kitchen.
Thanksgiving dinner is so impressive and delicious mainly because the chef (a.k.a. you) put so much work into each and every dish. In fact, if you’ve been doing this for a few years, you may have it down to a science, so you know how to nail every dish perfectly.
Otherwise, you’re a Thanksgiving noobie, which means you’re probably tearing your hair out preparing for the upcoming day.
Well, whether you’re a Thanksgiving pro or terrified at the thought of screwing up the canned cranberry sauce, we have some seriously helpful tips for you. Even if you know this holiday like the back of your hand, these hacks are going to elevate the quality of your (already amazing) food and save you some cooking time.
And no matter how experienced you are, that is NEVER a bad thing.
First things first: ditch the rack that you would usually cook your turkey on. The best replacement is to make your own rack out of veggies like celery, carrots, and onions. This won’t just lift your turkey off the baking pan, but it will also season your gravy.
When it comes time to cook the bird, you want to make sure of two things: your turkey has to be moist and the skin has to be crispy and browned with flavor. Those are two essentials.
For the most evenly cooked and moist meat, place a Ziploc bag full of ice cubes on top of your turkey for 20-30 minutes. This reduces the temperature of the turkey, ensuring it will be extremely tender when it comes out of the oven.
To make sure that the skin is crispy and bursting with flavor, you need to COVER that bird in butter. Melt a stick of butter, then soak a cheesecloth in the butter until it’s saturated. Drape the cloth over the turkey and put this entire thing in the oven to bake.
Everyone knows that the juices emitted from the turkey are the best base for your gravy. But not everyone knows the best way to get those juices.
First, you’ll be getting a lot of flavored juices in your baking pan; the veggies are going to make the juices taste divine. Secondly, when you’re carving your cooked turkey, cut it on a cutting board IN a baking sheet. This way all the juices that come out of the meat will roll right into the dish.
Pour all the juices collected, and the cooked veggies, through a strainer into a bowl. All the best parts will be strained into the bowl and will begin your fantastic gravy.
The Domestic Geek suggests peeling your potatoes ahead of time, as in the night before or early the morning of. To ensure they don’t brown when exposed to air, submerge them in water and leave them in the fridge until it’s time for the mashing.
Now, when it comes to the actual mashing, try using a ricer rather than your traditional method. This will guarantee the smoothest, lump-free potatoes, it just requires a little elbow grease!
To take them to the next level, warm your milk and butter on the stove before adding them to the potatoes; this will make the consistency AMAZING, keep them warm, and give them an extra boost of rich flavor.
For a few more Thanksgiving hacks, you have to check out The Domestic Geek’s video below! Will you be trying any of these tricks this year? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.