Nov 21
2012

Thanksgiving Hotline: Turkey, Gravy & Carving

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Thanksgiving Hotline: Turkey, Gravy & Carving by CookinCanuck

The table is set, the wine is uncorked and the guests are arriving imminently for the Thanksgiving feast. However, now you’re panicking about the last-minute details, such as figuring out when the turkey is cooked to perfection, making the gravy and carving the bird. This post is for you!

You likely know what side dishes and desserts you’re serving at your Thanksgiving feast – mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing and pumpkin cheesecake (or pie).

Now it’s time for the nitty-gritty. Is the turkey going to be filled with the flavors of sage and thyme, with moist and juicy meat? What do you do if you’re gravy is too thin or too thick? And the heck do you carve the turkey so it doesn’t look as though someone attacked it with a machete?

The posts highlighted below tackle those issues, and they are the ones that I have open on my computer on Thanksgiving Day. I hope you find them as helpful as I do.

For all of my Canadian (and other international readers), thank you for being patient with the flurry of Thanksgiving recipes. Hopefully you got some ideas for your holiday feasts to come in December.

Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter & Roasted Shallots

This has become our go-to recipe, one that gives us perfect results every time. What makes it so magical? Well, it starts with the butter mixture, packed full of fresh sage, thyme and parsley, that is smeared under the skin and over the surface of the turkey. What really pushes this recipe over the top, however, are the rich, dark brown drippings that come from a mixture of the turkey juices and the shallots roasting in the bottom of the pan. Basting with these juices helps to produce golden brown, crispy skin on the outside of the turkey.

Click here for the details.

Thanksgiving Hotline: Turkey, Gravy & Carving
Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter & Roasted Shallots

How to Make Turkey Gravy: Recipe & Troubleshooting

This recipe does not involve adding wine or herbs, though those things can provide very satisfying results, too. Rather, this version is as basic as turkey gravy recipe can get. And you know what? It works every time. Be sure to check out the troubleshooting tips, just in case you run into problems. Is your gravy too thick? Too thin? Too salty? I listed solutions for all of those problems, plus a few more.

Click here for the details.

Thanksgiving Hotline: Turkey, Gravy & Carving
How to Make Turkey Gravy: Recipe & Troubleshooting

How to: Carve a Turkey

Over the years of hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house, I have hacked my way through a number of turkeys, carving so that the bird looks like it has been through a massacre. Of course, I knew there was an easier way and finally figured out how to cleanly remove the legs from the body, and cut the breasts into attractive slices, each with a bit of golden brown skin attached. Of course, you might have a method that works for you, but I have found this to be the easiest method.

Click here for the details.

Thanksgiving Hotline: Turkey, Gravy & Carving
How to: Carve a Turkey

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kay @ The Church Cook November 21, 2012 at 5:31 am

Beautiful photos and post, Dara! All I need is a plateful of your turkey and some of that gravy! Have a wonderful, wonderful Thanksgiving friend!

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2 Kate@Diethood November 21, 2012 at 7:22 am

Once I get past drooling over your beautiful photos, I will take A-Z notes on carving that turkey!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and to yours!

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3 Heidi @foodiecrush November 21, 2012 at 7:45 am

The gravy! It’s always the bane of my turkey making. I call it a success as long as the Kitchen Bouquet doesn’t have to make an appearance.

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4 Barbara | Creative Culinary November 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I used to worry about it more. Then I spent years on a committee that put on a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot for a local Chamber. My stay started onsite at 5am and I wasn’t home til usually about 1pm. The my daughter started working for Nordstorm’s in the department that manages all of their visual decors, from styling mannequins to getting their gorgeous Christmas display in place. In one day. So while everyone else enjoyed a nice dinner… late afternoon we waited for her arrival between 6 and 7pm and then ate with a zombie at the table. :)

So now…I make it easier on myself. You cut your turkey breast meat like I do…but I actually remove it from the turkey when it’s done and then put the bird back in to finish; no more of that dry breast meat waiting for the rest to cook. No longer a great beauty shot at the table either but guests prefer juicy white meat anyhow.

Nice collection of tips; I know how overwhelming this can be if you haven’t done it a bazillion times like I have…or is it a gazillion! Have a nice holiday Dara…Barb

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5 Denise November 21, 2012 at 5:55 pm

All about the gravy – love it!! Great (and helpful) post! Wishing you and your family a delicious and safe holiday tomorrow. Denise

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6 Lora @cakeduchess November 23, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Great collection of tips here, Dara. I usually am not on turkey duty. My mom handles it and hubby usually carves it. I do some sides and desserts. Happy you have this here for reference in case I need it next year:)

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7 elena November 26, 2012 at 11:48 am

Hello! I just wanted to drop by and tell you how thankful I am for your thanksgiving recipes, advice, and tips. I needed all the help I could get since this was my first time cooking a bird and hosting Thanksgiving. I followed your turkey and gravy recipes exactly and they were such a huge hit. Thank you! Happy Holidays!

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8 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) November 27, 2012 at 7:03 am

Elena, I’m so glad to hear that! Congratulations on cooking your first bird. I promise that it feels easier and easier every time you do it.

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