Thanksgiving is coming up really soon, and let’s face it, this particular holiday can be tough! Of course, it is the perfect time to get together with family and friends and enjoy a whole feast. However, if you are planning on cooking the whole feast at home, it can be a much bigger and tiresome task than most of us would anticipate it to be.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you ditch cooking on this perfect holiday! Some of us, including me, love cooking for people, especially on special occasions. The rush of everyone eating and loving your food is truly irreplaceable. But there are many efficient ways to prepare a whole meal for Thanksgiving without you being a zombie by the end of it.
Thanksgiving dinners are extremely fun to make, especially if you are someone who already loves experimenting in the kitchen. However, preparing so many things together is a huge task and may riddle your mind with a bunch of questions.
These could be about what can be done to make the holiday preps easier and more enjoyable. Don’t worry, as all the information you need on making Thanksgiving an even more enjoyable holiday is given in this article!
So, I know that many of you may be riddled with a number of questions on how to make Thanksgiving a more efficient and fun, and less stressful holiday. Don’t worry; all the questions that you may have about this holiday and the feast involved are all given in this article. So, make sure you read the article till the end, as you never know what information you will need and where! Happy reading and Thanksgiving to you!
Some Common And Unusual Thanksgiving Questions – Answered
Considering how big of a holiday Thanksgiving is in the United States, most people do consider it to be one of their favorite holidays, maybe after Christmas. But, it sometimes almost feels like a task to get everything done, and that too, in the right way, for Turkey day.
So, there may be a lot of questions in your mind at the moment which needs answers. Well, you have surely come to the right place, as all of these will be answered in this section. Whether your question is common or unusual, I bet that you will get all the answers you need by reading this space. So, without further ado, let us get started!
1. How long does it take to thaw a frozen turkey?
As a turkey is a huge bird, the thawing process will be much longer than other types of poultry. On average, for the turkey to thaw completely, it should take a minimum of 10 hours and a maximum of 24 hours, depending on the size of the bird.
2. How can you thaw a turkey?
The best and easiest way to thaw a turkey is by placing the whole turkey, still wrapped in plastic, in a deep pan and keeping it in the refrigerator.
3. Can a turkey be left out at room temperature for Thawing?
No, it is highly recommended not to leave a turkey out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours, even if it is for Thawing. This way, the turkey will reach the optimum temperature for harmful bacteria to grow.
4. Can a turkey be thawed in cold water?
Yes, you can thaw a whole wrapped turkey in cold water too, but do make sure that the temperature of the water does not go above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. What can be done if the turkey is not thawed one day prior to Thanksgiving?
If by any chance, you missed out on Thawing your turkey the day before Thanksgiving, you can still do it on Turkey day. However, you will have to make sure you wake up early, as the process can be long.
You can submerge the wrapped turkey in a pot of cold water, and this way, thawing the turkey should take 2 hours for every 5 pounds. Do make sure that you keep an eye on the temperature of the water.
6. How large of a turkey is needed to feed a group of people?
To make this calculation, you will first need to figure out how many people would actually be eating turkey. Once you know for sure, a portion for one person should be 1 ½ pound – 2 pounds. So, based on that, and if you would like some leftovers, you can calculate how big of a turkey you will need for your group.
7. Is it necessary to brine a turkey before roasting it?
Some recipes of roast turkey do ask for brining, as this process makes sure that the turkey gets flavor and also is tender all the way through. However, this step is not absolutely necessary, and you can get a perfectly juicy turkey even without bringing it.
8. How long does it take to brine a turkey?
Brining is a long process, whether it is a dry brine or a liquid one. On average, this process takes about 8-24 hours, depending on the size of the turkey.
9. How long will it take for a turkey to roast?
This question can be a little tricky, as eventually, it does come down to the weight of the turkey. However, there is an easy way to estimate this. So, on average, every pound of turkey should take 15 minutes to roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Accordingly, as per the weight of your bird, you can do the math.
10. What should be the internal temperature of the turkey once it is completely cooked?
The internal temperature of the turkey should be 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit at the meatiest part. This temperature means that your turkey is perfectly cooked.
11. What should be the temperature of the stuffing if it is cooked with the turkey?
If you have cooked the stuffing along with the turkey, it should be at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
12. Is it okay to cook stuffing along with the turkey?
Yes, for certain recipes that do need turkey to be cooked with the stuffing, it is quite alright to do so. However, make sure that the stuffing is at room temperature, as the cold stuffing will take longer to cook and will eventually dry out the turkey itself.
13. What sort of thermometer is best to check the internal temperature of the turkey?
To check the internal temperature of the turkey, a probe thermometer will work best as it will actually be able to pierce the meat and get an accurate reading of the inside temperature.
14. Is it necessary to baste a turkey?
No, if the turkey has been brined or marinated the proper way, there is actually no need to bast it. In fact, basting is not recommended for a lot of recipes as it will require you to open the oven every now and then, which will result in a drop in the temperature. This way, the turkey will take much longer to cook.
15. How can you get your turkey to have crisp skin?
There are actually three things to keep in mind when wanting crispy skin on your turkey. The first thing is to make sure that your turkey is completely dry and then it should be placed in a refrigerator overnight. Then rub the surface of the turkey before roasting it with some oil and not butter.
As butter contains a lot of moisture, it will end up making the turkey skin soggy. Lastly, make sure you don’t cover the bird while roasting or even once it is out of the oven, as that will create steam and, eventually, make the skin soggy.
16. What can be done with turkey offal?
Right before roasting the turkey, when you clean it, you will take all the offal out, like the organs, neck, and giblet. Well, these are not all bad and can actually be used to make delicious turkey gravy!
17. What to do if the gravy turns out to be lumpy?
If by chance, your gravy turns out to be lumpy and extremely thick, you can stir some hot stock into it while whisking continuously. This will break the lumps apart and give your gravy a smoother finish.
18. While making gravy, does the fat need to be skimmed out?
No, added fat in gravy actually means added flavor! So, there is no need to skim off the extra fat in the gravy unless it is like a pool of fat!
19. What can be done if the gravy turns out to be too thin?
If your gravy turns out to be too thin, chances are that it does not have enough roux, which is the thickening agent. To correct this, you can combine butter and flour into a few small balls and add them to the gravy while it is cooking. Start by adding just one ball of flour and butter and let it dissolve completely. Only add as many as needed to get the right consistency.
20. Can some of the dishes served for Thanksgiving dinner be pre-cooked?
Yes, a lot of the dishes served for Thanksgiving dinner can be pre-cooked and reheated. Some examples of these are gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, bread, and even pies!
21. Can the entire Thanksgiving dinner be made ahead of time and frozen?
Yes, if you follow proper storage methods, you can actually make the entire Thanksgiving dinner before time, even the turkey!
22. Will the turkey skin remain crisp if the turkey is roasted a few days prior to Thanksgiving and then refrigerated?
No, once the turkey skin is covered and refrigerated, it is very unlikely that the skin will still remain crispy.
23. How can you reheat a precooked turkey?
To reheat a precooked turkey that has been stored in the refrigerator, you can place it in a large baking dish with some stock and a blob of butter to ensure moisture. Then, cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and heat the turkey at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until it is completely warm.
24. Can a few of the sides be cooked together in the oven?
Yes, some sides that are traditionally served for Thanksgiving dinner can actually be cooked together in the oven as they are cooked at very similar temperatures. Depending on how long each side will take, you can plan out how to cook them together in the oven.
25. Is it necessary to blanch the veggies before cooking them?
No, this actually completely depends on the dish you are making. For certain sides, you would want certain vegetables to retain their color, along with a crunchy texture. So there, blanching can be pretty useful. However, for dishes like casseroles, it is not really necessary.
26. What exactly is blanching?
Blanching is a process of par-cooking vegetables. Basically, you cook them in salted boiling water just for a few minutes so that they retain their color and texture. Then, take them out and place them in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Blanched vegetables can be used to make many sides.
27. Is it necessary to use stale bread to make stuffing?
Stale bread is the best bet to make a good stuffing as it will stop the moisture from soaking into it and will not give you a soggy mess in the name of a stuffing.
28. Is there anything that can be done if there is no stale bread?
In case you don’t have any stale bread on you, there is a quick fix that you can do. For that, you can cut cubes out of a slice of bread and dry them in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure that you get crispy stuffing.
29. Can stuffing be made without bread?
Yes, stuffing can be made without bread. However, you will have to use a starchy substitute for bread to make the stuffing, like rice or squash.
30. Is there a way to stop your pumpkin pie from cracking?
Pumpkin pie tends to crack from the center when it is overbaked. The best way to stop this from happening is to take the pie out of the oven while the center is still jiggly, as while the pie is cooling, it will begin to set.
31. What other sorts of pies can be served for dessert on Thanksgiving?
Some other pies that tend to go really well with a Thanksgiving dinner are bourbon pecan pie, salted caramel pie, purple sweet potato pie, and also a brown butter sweet potato pie.
32. What can be done with the leftover pumpkin puree after making a pumpkin pie?
Oh, there are so many ways to use up leftover pumpkin puree! Pumpkin puree can be turned into a number of beverages, both hot and cold. You can also use pumpkin puree to make a savory sauce or to make pumpkin muffins or donuts.
33. Can pumpkin spice be made at home?
Yes, pumpkin spice can be made at home. The spices that you would need for it are cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and allspice.
34. Can apple pie spice be used in place of pumpkin pie spice?
Apple pie spice consists of nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. But, in case you don’t have pumpkin pie spice handy, you can easily use apple pie spice instead.
35. What sort of wine goes best with a Thanksgiving dinner?
Both red and white wines pair really well with a full Thanksgiving dinner. If you prefer red wine, I would suggest going for a pinot noir and for white wine drinkers, a Chardonnay or a Reisling would make the best option.
As we have come to the end of this article, I hope all the questions that you may have revolving around a Thanksgiving dinner have been answered. Thanksgiving is a huge festival where we all want to enjoy the most mouth-watering food. However, there are certain technicalities that also have to be kept in mind.
But, if you do go through the entire article, most technical questions have been answered in the best way possible. Moreover, If you want some delicious recipes to make a lovely Thanksgiving spread, make sure you check out the recipe section on our website! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!