THANKSGIVING DINNER TIMELINE
The star of the show goes first. You’ve been defrosting it for the past day or so, now’s the time to pull it out and allow it to come to room temperature before cooking (this should take no more than an hour). Pre-heat your grill, smoker, oven or fryer and double check your cooking time, which will depend on how you’re preparing your turkey and how many pounds it is.
Set up a drink station for any drinks you’re serving, ice down any beverages that should be chilled.
Set a timer to remind you to baste or check the temperature of your turkey.
While the turkey is cooking, it’s time to prepare the rest of the meal. Keep a note of all your side dishes and prepare accordingly. Do you have casseroles that need to go in the oven with the turkey? Pop them right in! If there are more than two hours to go to meal time you can refrigerate as needed and reheat. A refrigerator with adjustable shelves is great for bulky casserole dishes and leftovers.
Finally, it’s time for anything that does not need to go in the oven. Don’t forget the mashed potatoes and sautéed veggies! When they’re done just put a lid on it and keep warm on the cooktop until it’s time to serve.
Just before guests are due to arrive, designate a spot for coats and bags; have hors d’oeuvres and drinks ready to serve.
Microwaves work great for reheating dishes brought by your guests. Convection microwaves come in handy because they act like a small oven and frees up oven space for larger dishes. Warming drawers work wonders for side dishes heated earlier and will stay fresh until served later. If you need longer than 45 minutes for finishing touches, just tent the turkey loosely with foil to keep warm.
A turkey has to rest at least half an hour for the juices to redistribute, and depending on size, it’ll stay warm for at least 45 minutes.
Time to carve the turkey and serve the meal. Start by removing the legs and wings and then cut across the grain to make the meat less chewy. Don’t forget about those items that don’t have to be reheated, like the cranberry sauce sitting in your refrigerator!
Buffet style is a great way to go. That way guests can serve themselves to their liking.
Just before you sit down to dinner, place your pies in an oven that’s been turned off but is still releasing some heat. When you finish dinner, your pie will be warm and ready to eat!
Turkey lasts 3-4 days in the refrigerator, giving you ample time to create more meals. Just add your leftover turkey to soups, pot pies, pasta dishes, salads and more.
Tired of eating turkey? You can freeze turkey for up to two months. You may be tired of it now, but it will make a delicious contribution to your favorite soup come winter.