Monday, November 21, 2011

And so it Begins... Thanksgiving Do it Ahead Tips!

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Arguably the most important day of cooking of the year.

A wonderful chance to allow a home cook shine!

Plan ahead, write it down, check your ingredients, shop smart and make chicken stock!

BTW, shopping smart.  I generally have two stores that I shop at each week.  I always check the sale flyers before shopping.  One of my favorites had EXCELLENT sales on staples (Cream Cheese under a dollar a brick, Butter $2 a pound and so on.  The other store... not so much.  Shop smart and plan ahead and stay in budget.

But I digress.  First priority is to make some fresh chicken stock for the day.

Which means first job is to roast a chicken.

And a little tip for the big day, if you are confident in your BBQ skills, feel free to plan to grill (or smoke) your turkey.  It's a BIG day, so do not do this for the first time on Thanksgiving.  But if you have done it before, it's a terrific way to save space in your oven for side dishes.

We had another Indian Summer warm day, so i took advantage and had one last day in the sun to hang out at my grill.

There was nothing special about the way I roasted the bird.  I made some herb butter, packed as much as I could between the skin and the meat.  I rubbed some rosemary around.

I made a base of root vegetables, tossed in a little Olive Oil.  Sat a half filled can of 7-Up in the center and balance the bird on the can and over the root vegetables (Carrots, Potatoes and Onions).

Indirect heat on the grill for about 1 1/2 hours.

My goal was 165 internal temperature.  Be sure to measure several spots.  The thickest part was 165, while the drumsticks were 171... But that's OK... pull the bird out and let it rest for 30 minutes before you start carving the bird....

I divide the bird into quarters.  Serve the white meat with the veggies right away.  I save the legs and thighs for a soup I have planned.

In a few hours I have a bag full of chicken bones just waiting to make stock.

And a pretty good dinner!

And after dinner, start your stock... Click HERE for my stock tips.

So... What have you done in advance to get ready for the big day???


  1. Looks delicious Dave! I've not tried grilling a bird... Maybe someday.

  2. That looks fabulous! What an innovative you getting excited about Thanksgiving!

  3. I've made beer can chicken kinda like that, but I bet 7-up would be great. Bet it adds a bit of sweetness. Looks great.