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Chef Hacks for Hosting the Ultimate Thanksgiving Dinner

Do I brine my turkey? And what does that even mean? What’s the best way to cook my bird? And how will I get it all done in time?

Thanksgiving is almost here and, if you’re hosting, you might be feeling the pressure. There are many moving parts involved in getting your meal on the table—and making it impressive to boot. If you’re in the process of planning your feast, take a deep breath, because you came to the right place. The Austin Artisan team has put together a list of our best Chef Hacks to help you execute your holiday dinner like a pro!

4 Thanksgiving Tips, Tricks & Hacks

1. Break It Down

Many people cook a whole bird on Thanksgiving. But it’s a little known fact that turkey doesn’t always cook evenly. The breast usually cooks faster than the legs, so it’s susceptible to drying out. Therefore, we suggest cooking the individual parts of the turkey, so you can remove each piece accordingly.

2. Brine First

Before you cook your turkey pieces, brine them first. Brine is a solution made with salt, sugar and water (recipe coming next week). The salt water helps moisten the bird to yield tender meat. The sugar will caramelize the skin, creating that sought-after golden color. You can also season the brine to add lots of robust flavor.

3. Stuff Separately

If you’re cooking your turkey in parts, you might be wondering where you put the stuffing. However, stuffing prepared in the cavity of the bird can actually pose a health hazard. In order to get the stuffing to a safe temperature, you often have to overcook the turkey. Instead, make your stuffing separately and save yourself the time and hassle.

4. Prep In Advance

To avoid last-minute delays, get some prep work done in advance. The day or two before, you can: chop potatoes for your mash, steam green beans and prepare the cream sauce for your casserole (see our Checklist for more details). You’ll feel so much better on the big day if you can easily reheat sides rather than making everything from scratch at the same time.

Cyber Monday Special: Looking for the ultimate gift for a loved one—or yourself? Check our blog on Monday, November 28th for our Personal Chef Cyber Monday Special. Don’t just make resolutions; stick to them with seasonal, customized food for the whole family!