The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving Dinner

The ultimate guide to thanksgiving dinner

Preparing the ultimate Thanksgiving dinner just got a little easier with help from some of our experienced chefs here at Chefs’ Toys. When preparing the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll want to use these recipes to smooth out your prepping & cooking processes. All our recipes are flexible in serving quantities. We served our team of 60 people, so some photos may seem like way too much – unless you’re really hungry.

Creating your brine

You may have heard of brining and all the wonderful flavors it can bring to your meats. You may have also heard about the time it takes to brine. Yes, it’s true – it can take up to 24 hours to complete, but we assure you this turkey brining recipe is worth the wait. Here’s how to brine your turkey for Thanksgiving.

Brine Ingredients

  • Start with 10 cups of water in a large stock pot.
  • Choosing your spices for the brine is about personal preference. One thing to keep in mind is you do not want to want the brine to be too powerful and take away from the natural flavor of the bird. We’re going to take a hybrid approach for our brine. We suggest using the Traeger Brine Kit included in the 18 lb. bag of Traeger Turkey Blend Pellets which also has a dry rub kit.
  • Add sugar, kosher salt, white pepper, dried sage, orange zest and dried cranberries to supplement your brine for extra flavor. Remember to taste as you go for the perfect brine.
  • Add your brine ingredients into water and bring to a boil.
    Brine Boiling
  • Turn off heat when the brine begins to boil.
  • Move brine into separate container and cool until it reaches at least 40°F. Brine should be salty to taste.
  • After prepping your bird for the brine, place it into a large Cambro container and pour brine over turkey until it is submerged in the brine. We used a 22 qt. Cambro Camwear container.
  • Place container in refrigerator and allow the turkey to soak in the brine overnight.
  • When the turkey is brined and ready, remove the bird from the brine and pat dry in preparation for the dry rub application.

It’s not as hard as you thought! Brining just takes a little care and preparation. Now let’s move onto the dry rub.

Applying a dry rub 

A blend of the right spices and herbs makes a perfect dry rub. When choosing your spice, make sure to taste test so you’ll achieve optimal flavor. We used the Spiceology Habanero Honey Spice for our dry rub. The best way to apply the dry rub is using a glazing rack for easier accessibility. Here’s our method to dry rub a Thanksgiving turkey.

Dry Rub

  • Make sure your turkey is pat-dried with paper towels.
  • While the turkey is air drying, warm butter to room temperature for easier application.
  • Apply a thin layer of room temperature butter all over the turkey which helps the dry rub stick to the skin of the turkey.

Smoking or Roasting your Turkey 

SMOKING

Smoking with Traeger is quickly going to become your new favorite turkey method. We used the Traeger TFB88PZB Pro Series 34 Wood Pellet Grill, Bronze, 53″ and of course the Limited Edition Turkey Blend Pellets. Here’s how to smoke your turkey using a Trager grill.

  • Heat your Traeger to 275°F.
  • Every 30 minutes mist the turkey with apple cider vinegar or apple juice to the exterior to moist. If you prefer a crispier skin, you can skip this step.
  • Wait for an internal temperature of 165°F then remove turkey from Traeger.
  • Once cooked, leave the turkey out for 30-45 minutes too cool – use a cooling rack!
  • Carve and enjoy!
ROASTING

If smoking the turkey isn’t your preference, we’ve got a turkey roasting method that’ll make your mouth water. We used the Alto Shaam Halo Heat Cook & Hold Oven. This oven is great for cooking to and holding internal temperature. It also helps with losing turkey weight! Cooking in a regular oven might shrink your bird. Here’s how to roast your turkey for Thanksgiving.

Smoke Roasted Turkey

  • Heat your oven to 350°F.
  • Place Turkey into oven and wait for an internal temperature of 165°F then remove turkey.
  • Once cooked, leave the turkey out for 30-45 minutes too cool
  • Carve and enjoy!

Now that the main Thanksgiving meal is done, you’ll want to move onto some essential Thanksgiving sides. Here’s our ultimate thanksgiving sides recipes.

Making Gravy from Scratch 

Making gravy from scratch is quicker and easier than you think. And just because it’s a quick and easy gravy recipe from scratch, doesn’t mean that it won’t have those amazing flavors that make your mashed potatoes, biscuits, or even turkey, something to remember. This homemade gravy recipe will be your new family tradition.

Making Gravy from Scratch

Ingredients 

  • Turkey Wing Tips
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Chicken Stock
  • Garlic
  • Flour
  • Peppercorns

Recipe 

  • Cut the wing tips off your raw turkey
  • Roast the wing tips on a baking sheet at 350°F until brown
  • While wings are in the oven, start sautéing your mirepoix of celery, onion, and carrots in a stock pot
  • Add roasted wing tips to mirepoix
  • Add flour to mirepoix until there is a paste coating the wing tips
  • Add chicken or turkey stock and simmer for 15-20 min. Stir constantly to avoid burning and do not let it come to a boil.
  • Strain & enjoy!

Add this delicious gravy to whatever your heart desires! And do it in style.

Making Cranberry Sauce from Scratch 

Everyone knows about the cranberry sauce. It’s the main show – aside from the bird of course. This cranberry sauce recipe from scratch will make you ditch the canned cranberries for good. In our chef-opinion, this is the best cranberry sauce around.

Making Cranberry Sauce from Scratch

Ingredients 

  • Cranberries
  • Orange Juice
  • Sugar
  • Orange Zest
  • Cinnamon

Recipe

  • Set aside a small number of whole cranberries to add them to the finished product.
  • Pour remaining cranberries into sauce pot, add orange juice, sugar, orange zest and cinnamon to taste. Mix ingredients together to coat your cranberries.
  • Bring ingredients to a boil or until the cranberries begin to burst.
  • Next, you’ll have to break down the cranberries. We used a Waring Bolt Immersion Blender.
  • Add whole cranberries to finished mixture for extra texture.
  • Enjoy!

You’ll probably want to make a little extra for the thanksgiving leftovers you’ll have.

Green beans with shallots, bacon, and toasted almonds 

If you’ve never considered green beans to go with your Thanksgiving dinner, you’ve been doing it wrong. Our Thanksgiving green beans recipe with shallots, bacon, and toasted almonds will make you rethink your Thanksgiving side dishes.

Green Beans

Ingredients 

  • Whole Fresh Green Beans
  • Thick Cut Bacon
  • Shallots

How to

  • Wash, trim, blanch green beans
  • Put them in an ice bath to stop from cooking
  • Strain green beans
  • Sauté your bacon, drain the bacon fat and preserve.
    • Bacon Hack
    • Stack 4-5 slices on bacon on top of each other on a baking sheet
    • Freeze for 30 min for a smoother cut
    • Easily dice slightly frozen bacon
  • Toast almonds in oven at 350°F until golden brown. Do not burn!
  • Thinly slice shallots
  • Sauté pan with bacon fat
  • In a separate frying pan, sauté shallots until soft
  • Add bacon and green beans to shallots
  • Add salt & pepper to taste.
  • Lastly, add the toasted almonds and mix all ingredients together.
  • Enjoy!

Using he best equipment and supplies for your Thanksgiving dinner is crucial to the outcome. Look to Chefs’ Toys to get you everything you need to get the job done in the kitchen.

Now that you have the ultimate guide to Thanksgiving dinner, you might need this guide to hosting thanksgiving.