Whether your home is the go-to for Thanksgiving, or it’s your very first year hosting, cooking the turkey can get a little stressful. Between all the planning and preparations—not to mention the sheer number of dishes you’ll likely be tasked with making ahead—things can definitely err on the side of overwhelming. That said, the turkey is undeniably the standout dish of the holiday, the focal point of the dinner, and star ingredient of many a leftover sandwiches that will ensue during the subsequent weekend. With that, ensuring that you craft up the very best bird possible is of the essence. So we teamed up with All-Clad and Chef & Founder, Sarah Ashley Schiear, of Salt House, to break down what exactly goes into making the perfect, Thanksgiving turkey: From whipping the perfect brine to completing the dish with a deliciously golden roast.
Sarah on her very first Thanksgiving and her go-to hosting shortcut…
What do you think intimidates people most about holiday hosting?
The holidays always have a bit of a higher expectation that comes with them. People want to create memories around the holidays so they want everything to be extra-special.
What is one component of holiday hosting that’s easier than people think?
Decorating! For Thanksgiving, something as simple as lining the center of the table with gourds is all you need. For the December holidays, I love to decorate with glass containers filled with silver and gold ornaments.
What is your favorite holiday hosting shortcut?
Mulled wine. The scent of spices fills the air and you don’t have to bother with making drinks all night.
Tell us about the first time you roasted a turkey, did everything go according to plan?
Sure didn’t! I was roasting an enormous turkey and totally underestimated how long it would take. Luckily, everyone was happy to eat the sides and have a late-night turkey snack!
Herb And Spice Turkey Brine
- 6 qts water
- 2 cups salt
- 2 tablespoons coriander
- 2 tablespoons whole, black peppercorns
- 1 head of garlic, cut in half
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- 3 sprigs of sage
- Place all ingredients into a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Let the mixture cool completely.
- Place the turkey in the brine, and put it in the fridge to chill overnight.
- The following day, take the turkey out of the brine, pat to dry, and place in a roasting pan, breast side up.
- Roast the turkey according to size.
Originally published November 2015. Updated November 2017.
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