Thanksgiving The Right Way 2013


Whether it’s your first time hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner or you’re just looking for some new ideas, we’ve got plenty for you!  Here is your Guide to the best resources on and off the web for a great Thanksgiving.

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In this guide you will find help on WHAT TO MAKE,  BUYING KITCHEN EQUIPMENT, FINDING RECIPESORDERING MAIL ORDER, or FINDING A RESTAURANT and finally ENTERTAINMENT, so read on!  It’s mostly the same guide as last year with a few small updates for 2013.

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WHAT’S FOR DINNER, A TRADITIONAL THANKSGIVING MENU: Of course people serve endless variations on the traditional, basic menu, adding hams, baked ziti, lasagna, even peking duck.  Anything you want to serve is fine.  But here are the traditional basics:

  • Turkey.  The centerpiece of your meal.  Can be roasted, braised, deep fried or even grilled.
  • Gravy.  For your turkey and your potatos.
  • Mashed Potatoes.  With skin, without, with lumps or without.
  • Sweet Potatoes.  In some form.  Yams, sweet potato pie, roasted, mashed or boiled.
  • Cranberry Sauce or Relish.
  • Corn.  Can be on the cob, usually isn’t.
  • Green Beans.  Sauteed, steamed, or in an old school casserole.
  • Dinner Rolls or Biscuits or Even Corn Bread
  • Apple Cider
  • Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie or Apple Pie for Dessert
       

KITCHEN TOOLS:  Now that you know what to make, you’ll need some basic equipment.  Or for some of you it might be time to replace your old equipment.  You can shop online at Amazon using our links, or at Bed Bath and BeyondWilliams Sonoma or any local cook store.  Here’s a few recommendations.

  • Roasting Pan.  This is your number one tool, so if you have the money to spend this is where to spend it.  Rule #1, resist all temptations to buy a nonstick roast pan.  A stainless steel pan will brown your turkey better, and last you a lifetime.  We recommend All-Clad, Calphalon,  or Cuisinart.  If you go off brand, that’s okay too,  just stay with a Stainless Steel pan and a nonstick rack and you can’t go wrong.
  • Turkey Fryer.  Becoming more and more popular each year.  We recommend the Bayou Classic
    available online or at the Home Depot, or the Eastman Outdoors Fryer Kit.  Both include everything you’ll need but the turkey, the fire extinguisher and the first aid kit.  Be careful!
  • Turkey Baster.  Look for stainless steel, the plastic ones can shatter and leave you picking plastic out of your food.  Basically helps you to keep your turkey moist.
  • Silpat.  These nifty little mats turn any cookie sheet or pan into the perfect nonstick surface. Reusable.  Easy to clean, and browns almost as well as a stainless steel surface.  Great for cookies, rolls, pastry and more.  Buy a few extra to give as Holiday gifts.  They’re little miracle workers. Silpat Non-Stick Silicone Baking Liner
  • Potato Masher.  We suggest the zig zag shape.  Use it to smash up your potatoes real good.  Some people prefer a potato ricer, but we like to go the old fashioned way.
  • Potato Peeler.  Nothing is worse than peeling potatoes so you want the most comfortable, fastest peeler you can find.  We like two.  The most comfortable is the OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler, and we also love the Kuhn Rikon Original 4-Inch Swiss Peeler.  It’s the cheapest, and you can’t beat this little workhorse.  Use it as a stocking stuffer too. 
  • Chefs Knife.  A great knife will save your life.  For a basic home chef, a simple Henckels brand chef’s knife is your best bet.  We love all of their knives — even the inexpensive Eversharp line is wonderful. Range from $13 to $90.  You won’t go wrong with Wusthof either.  Need some little knives too?  Henckels makes a sweet set of paring knives with color coded handles.
  • Instant Read Thermometer.  Just to be sure you don’t poison your guests with undercooked turkey! You can go simple and old school with Taylor Classic Instant-Read Pocket Thermometer or for a few dollars more, combine it with a kitchen timer with the Taylor Digital Cooking Thermometer/Timer.
        
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RECIPES RECIPES RECIPES!  Unless you have a great cook in your family, you will need some recipes and there is an unlimited number of places to get them.  But how do you know which are good?  And you probably need some tips, techniques and how-to help too.    Here’s our recommendations.

  • Cooks Illustrated.  The number one source for great recipes in every category on the internet, particularly if you’re looking for the best recipes for traditional cooking.  The downside is, you have to pay to join.  But it’s well worth it, and it’s the equivalent of buying a library of cookbooks. Plus they have a menu planner, a shopping guide, and best of all Recipe 911– advice for what to do when everything goes wrong.  And they offer a 14 day free trial!    Visit them here
  • Williams Sonoma.  Their website is FREE and has many excellent Thanksgiving recipes as well as cooking tips, techniques and more.  Visit their thanksgiving headquarters here.
  • Whole Foods.  You don’t even have to shop there to use their amazing Thanksgiving resources! It’s free, healthy and delicious.  Bookmark this site.
  • King Arthur Flour.  An absolutely essential resource for bakers- King Arthur Flour provides the finest flours, pure extracts, and all kinds of baking tools… Everything a baker needs can be found at this excellent site.
    

MAIL ORDER THANKSGIVING.  Sure it’s great to make everything from scratch, but sometimes you need a little bit of help.  Or a lot of bit of help.  Either way, here are some great resources to assist your Thanksgiving prep.  There’s no shame in buying.

  • Williams Sonoma.  Once again, a first stop in Thanksgiving shopping.  We particularly recommend their Butternut Squash Puree (makes a great soup), Turkey Gravy Base, Pumpkin Butter and Focaccia Stuffing, all of which can be ordered online or bought in store.  You can also mail order Organic Turkeys, Fried Turkeys, Cajun Turkeys and more, but they’re on the pricier side for mail order turkey. Get everything here.
  • Penzey’s Spices. These should fill your cabinets.  They make everything taste better.   Shop here.
  • The Cajun Grocer.  This is where to order the world famous Turducken!  The wonderfully sinful deboned turkey stuffed with a chicken that has been stuffed with duck breast, with seasoned dressing layered between each of the layers.  Ranges from $85-125 including delivery. Get it here.
  • Griggstown Farm.  Right from the field to your table.  Get your turkey, pheasant, duck, goose or capon straight from the farm, and order all your sides too.  Get it here.
  • HoneyBaked Ham Co.  Order a complete Thanksgiving dinner for 4, only $112.95.  Order now.
  • MH Foods.  Order a deep fried cajun turkey for $69.95.  Order here.
  • Highland SugarWorks.  For the best maple syrup for any recipes that require it, like maple glazed sweet potatoes perhaps? It’s dark, sweet and so mapley! Order here.
  • King’s Cupboard’s Organic Cream Caramel Sauce.   King’s Cupboard of Montana have been concocting delicious, all-natural dessert products for over twenty years. All good stuff, but in particular- their Organic Cream Caramel Sauce is an incredible drizzle over any of your Thanksgiving pies, ice cream, your own hand…whatever.  Buy it here.
  • Jacob’s Andouille Sausage,  If your cornbread stuffing calls for andouille sausage, I’d highly recommend that you order the authentic spicy cajun pork sausage from Jacob’s in Laplace, Louisiana and you can get them online here.
  • Boston Market.  It’s not as bad as you think.  They don’t mail order but you can place an order online to pick up at your local Boston Market. Very reasonably priced.  You can get a full turkey dinner for  12 including appetizer, dessert, a whole turkey, and sides for $94.  Visit their website for more info.

   

GET OUT.  NO REALLY.  If you just want everyone out of your house, need a change of pace, or are tired of your Aunt Franny’s cooking, no matter where you are in the country you can find someplace that will cook your Thanksgiving dinner for you. (check with the restaurant confirm all prices). 

  • Around the Country.  Get extensive listings for where to go on Thanksgiving Day near you here.  Updated daily.  Check out some of the nation’s biggest and best parades on huffingtonpost.com. 
  • New York City.  Come in for the parade, and stay for dinner.  Want a guide to seeing the parade the right way?  New York Magazine has your back.  There are long lists of choices for dinner but we suggest Telepan ($85 per adult), Dovetail ($85 a person), Bar American ($80 per adult), Back Forty for a Farm to Table Dinner ($60 a person), and Perilla ($75 a person), the legendary Sylvia’s is serving up a soul food Thanksgiving ($34 per person).  Check out NY Mag’s guide to Thanksgiving in New York City for more restaurants to choose from or view 339 restaurants open for Thankgiving in NY on Opentable.com.
  • Chicago.  Mercat a la Planxa (order a pig or turkey to go with 72 hours notice),  Zed451 ($48 per person), Gibson’s Steakhouse ($40 a person) and Mike Ditkas for a more casual Thanksgiving with an all you can eat four course feast.  Click here for the full list.  Don’t forget to check out the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day parade starting at 8am on State Street.
  • Los Angeles.   The Bazaar by Jose Andres  ($65/adult), The Blvd ($125/adult), Jar Restaurant  ($85/adult),  Melisse in Santa Monica  ($89/adult), Palomino  ($27/adult for a more casual environment), Stefan’s at LA Farm ($45/adult)  Click here for the full list and read the LA Times Dining Guide here.
  • Washington DC.  Ardeo + Bardeo  ($45/adult), Blue Duck Tavern  ($90/adult), Charlie Palmers ($60/adult) Founding Farmers  ($35/adult) Goodstone Inn & Estate, Joe Theismann’s  ($25/adult)  Click here for the full list. 
  • For other cities, here’s where to dine out in Phoenix;  where to go in Tampa on Thanksgiving; Utah restaurants open for business on Thanksgiving, where to go in Atlanta, and Boston restaurants celebrating TG.
        

I ATE TILL I CAN’T MOVE, NOW WHAT!? And of course, no matter where you go, no matter what you do, regardless of what you eat or who you eat it with, don’t forget to watch your  Thanksgiving Movies:

And finally, your Thanksgiving football schedule:
  • Green Bay Packers vs Detroit Lions 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX 
  • Oakland Raiders at  Dallas Cowboys  4:30 p.m. ET on CBS
  • Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens  8:30 p.m. ET on NBC

    

Did we miss anything?  Send us your Thanksgiving ideas and favorites.
43 comments
CardiffGiant11
CardiffGiant11

Anyone ever do a smoked turkey? I bought a small electric bullet smoker over the summer and am tempted to try and do a smoked turkey in it, not for this thanksgiving(going to in laws house) but maybe next year

loandinasor
loandinasor

We're making traditional Japanese for dinner this year. Homemade sushi, tempura, tempura dipping sauce, tsukemono (which I have to prepare starting Sunday morning), teriyaki, miso soup, salad; and with the ginger dressing, gari, edamame, and wasabe on the side. To drink will be hot sake and Sapporo.  


The turkey list above is complicated.  Turkey and a pound of butter. That's all you need.  The stuffing is where the work is at.  People put way too much work into their Thxgiving dinners.   I just think the turkey, stuffing, and some corn on the cob is all you really need.  Simple and easy.

rexdart936
rexdart936

this year im thinking of trying a home made turduckin since i cant possibly afford one from the butcher in new orleans.  a full sized turkey breast, chicken breasts with a couple of pork tenderloins and a beef roast all cooked together. the marinade will consist of olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, bourbon or whiskey, orange peel and onion.  the trick will be to wrap it together so it cooks evenly.  may use an oven bag.

Jamar Ferrell
Jamar Ferrell

Simply wanted to say good weblog, that I learn it every now and then.

JayGrymyr
JayGrymyr

I'm cooking a turkey, stuffing, and pumkin & crabmeat soup from John Besh's "My New Orleans" cookbook. And in my little world, it's just not Thanksgiving without a "Mystery Science Theater 3000" marathon. The show debuted on Thanksgiving 1988, and Comedy Central would run a ton of episodes as a Turkey-thon, so it's something I keep alive. 

FLpro
FLpro

Wow, thanks to whoever did all the work of putting up this post!...You must love us? Haha...And a Happy Thanksgiving to You and Your's Sir!! :)))

HummusMagnate
HummusMagnate

I'm recommending a brined turkey to everyone. There is still time for you to use this method. I also recommend a turkey sized cooking bag. Good luck to everyone here. I can tell you're gonna need it. On second thought yall should probably just buy the COSTCO meal.

SerotoninsGone
SerotoninsGone

If you don't have family plans, I highly recommend visiting Washington D.C. on Thanksgiving... All the museums are open with extended hours and they are EMPTY, minus a few foreigners.

Christron
Christron

I sent in a picture of my Spread.  It's a shot of my hairy asshole with "Happy Thanksgiving Pepper" on it.

Binary Daoist
Binary Daoist

Watched Planes, Trains, and Automobiles last night...  So great

RobC423
RobC423

Any of you guys Submitting Pics??

caseypickles
caseypickles

Pieces of April is a very good Thanksgiving movie.

madtowntom
madtowntom

basting adds no juice to the interior of bird, do muscles get drenched when you shower? no. skin is skin, remember they only brown.and rob oven heat everytime you open the door,.. use a torch.

FanBoy1
FanBoy1

and Calphalon does NOT last a lifetime. Ive invested in several pieces of the  and 2 of them have failed in less then 7 years. maybe closer to 5.

FanBoy1
FanBoy1

I do almost the entire meal in my home. and top it off late night with an old school ghetto style White bread  + mayo and turkey sammich..... a fitting end to a long day.

DeathProof
DeathProof

Dutch. A good "bad" Thanksgiving movie.

Docintoxicated
Docintoxicated

I celebrate just like Ron because he knows how to properly celebrate the holiday with respect.

 

1. roll out of bed and do blow off a pilgrim girl's ass.

2. Find some homeless people (or hicks) to pay in cheap booze to dress as Native Americans

3. Have your Natives oil up and wrestle for your amusement until dinner time

4. Dinner will consist of a cornucopia of mixed pills with a side of bath salts

5. Football time

6. Shake a broom threateningly at the Natives and tell them they live in the corner now and hand them a can they can pee in

7. Oil up and wrestle some pilgrim chicks

8. Bare knuckle box the natives until you pass out 

9. while passed out the natives will steal your tv and escape

10. wake up black friday and get great deal on new tv.

sidwasout
sidwasout

Just make sure you don't make the mistake I did when getting a movie for the kids to watch.  Pocahotass was not what I thought it would be.

DeathProof
DeathProof

Saveur always has great recipes. I bought a smoker and will be doing chickens, brisket & turkey outside. Inside I'll have a turducken in the oven. I usually fry the turkey in peanut oil, but wanted to justify finally getting a smoker.

rexdart936
rexdart936

@JayGrymyr the mst3k marathon has been a tradition in my life since '88 as well. its been the one unwavering bright spot among many unpleasant years. i kept every vhs tape i made of the first run shows and wore most of them out.  happily i've got most of the shows on dvd now.  happy turkey day.  They tried to kill me with a forklift.  --Rex Dart Eskimo Spy.

loandinasor
loandinasor

@SerotoninsGone Is that on Thanskgiving Day or the entire weekend? Will the cafeterias have food, though? I'd hate to be stuck in DC with nothing to eat but something from a roach coach.  We will not be shopping this weekend, so DC would be a fun excursion.

Binary Daoist
Binary Daoist

 @RobC423 Working in the ER on thanksgiving... good way to be thankful...  If Hatzolah brings us some corned beef I'm def submitting a pic.

caseypickles
caseypickles

 @RobC423

 My cousin and I have pilgrim and turkey costumes so maybe a picture of that

Foggy_Otis
Foggy_Otis

@DeathProof Damn! How many folks are coming over!?

FLpro
FLpro

rexdart936...You know you're talking to someone who no longer visits this site right? Look at the date he posted that comment Lol ... :o

FLpro
FLpro

g000nie...Ok you're safe with this comment since SerotoninsGone still comments here....but look at the date he posted this? :P

FLpro
FLpro

g000nie...look at the date that guy commented about this that you just tagged silly!...he no longer visits this site haha ;)

DeathProof
DeathProof

 @Foggy_Otis  @DeathProof Not exactly sure..yet.  I'm a skinny guy, but I can put away the food.  I like to cook.. The turkey I'm smoking will be small (and wrapped in bacon). The Turduken is only 10 lbs so it sounds like more food than it is. Also, doing Gorgonzola mashed potatoes, cranberry dressing with blueberries, orange, champagne and candied walnuts. Jalapeno cheddar corn bread, maple/sausage stuffing with raisins. Mushroom gravy with Guinness & giblets. I don't bake so that's for my mom and sisters job.

loandinasor
loandinasor

@FLpro Oh weird.  So they didn't create a new article, they just updated the original one from last year.  Did not even notice the dates!

FanBoy1
FanBoy1

 @DeathProof  @Foggy_Otis Nice. I do a smoked Turkey as well as a Roasted one....  I also cook the entire spread.  Smokers are awesome. I finally got the hang of SMoked Albacore. I will never eat Salmon again.

Foggy_Otis
Foggy_Otis

@DeathProof Mmmm... Wrapped in bacon... Seriously tho, sounds Fantastic, Enjoy!