If you purchase a frozen turkey: place in fridge to defrost under refrigeration by the Thursday before Thanksgiving, then follow the timeline below for fresh turkey.
If you purchase a fresh turkey:
-Place in brine below 41 degrees F Monday Morning of Thanksgiving Week
Remove from brine Wednesday afternoon
Cover the bottom of a roasting pan with the following: 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into thick sticks (batonnet), 1 bag of parsnips peeled and batonnet cut, 1-2 yellow onions sliced, 6-7 ribs of celery cut in half, 2 cups chicken stock, ¼ cup canola oil
Place turkey on a roasting rack on top of the veg and place into the refrigerator uncovered over night to dry the skin (this makes crispy skin
Make and chill up to a week in advance (Monday is a good day for this)
-Dressing/Stuffing (reheat to 165 degrees F)
Make the wet ingredients (recipe up to tossing the bread cubes) on Tuesday, chill to below 41 degrees and store until Thursday. Dry out the bread cubes and store in oven Wednesday night. On Thursday, toss the wet ingredients with the bread cubes in a casserole dish and bake in the oven when the turkey comes out to rest
-Mashed potatoes (reheat to 165 degrees F)
You can make these a day in advance, if they are dry, add warm heavy cream and reheat in the microwave.
-Mac and Cheese (reheat to 165 degrees F)
Boil noodles and shock in ice water on Tuesday. Make bechemel and cool down to below 41 degrees and refrigerate. On Thursday, mix cheese with noodles and bechamel heat in the oven when the turkey comes out to rest. Alternatively, this can be heated up in the microwave.
-Green bean casserole (reheat to 165 degrees F)
Make bechamel when you make your mac and cheese bechamel on Tuesday, cool to below 41 degrees and refrigerate. On Thursday, steam green beans in a microwave ready bag. Heat bechamel in microwave for 2 minutes, stir, then another 2 minutes. Fold green beans with bechamel and heat in a casserole dish in the oven while turkey is resting. Top with onions a few minutes before the casserole is done.
-Roasted Root vegetables (reheat to 165 degrees F)
They’re under the turkey
Make day of
When cooling food, use the 2 stage cooling process as provided by the Federal Food Code:
2 hours to cool food to below 70 degrees F
4 hours to cool food to below 41 degrees F
That’s a total of 6 hours
Your fridge should be holding temperature below 40 degrees, remember, 32 is freezing so around 36 is a good temperature
I recommend a thermometer with a probe that can be inserted into the turkey with a probe cable connected to the thermometer unit outside of the oven.
Thermoworks DOT is recommended by Cooks Illustrated as the top brand for accuracy and durability. You can get one locally at Browns Kitchen.
Place your thermometer probe into the thigh without hitting any bone and set it to 170 degrees F. Once the alarm goes off, temp out the breast in the thickest part near the wing joint to 175 degrees F.
Remember, any TCS food (temperature control for safety) must be reheated to at least 165 degrees before serving