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Tips for Hosting a Successful Turkey Day

turkey in the oven

For most people, Thanksgiving is about celebrating family, giving gratitude, and, of course, enjoying food! It’s also means putting your kitchen and your cooking skills through their paces. With extra sets of helping hands around and often the preparation of more food than you may be used to cooking in a week, it’s also a day for taking extra precautions to ensure your home and everyone in it remain safe.  

On Trend or in the Oven?

Deep-frying is an increasingly popular way to cook the Thanksgiving turkey, particularly because it frees up the oven. Also, those who prefer this method say it results in a superior bird. When trying this approach, it’s best to set up outside on a flat surface and well away from your house, decks, and awnings. Once you’ve finished, be sure to leave the cooking oil in a place where it can cool down to a safe level before disposing of it.

You Have to Be This High to Enter

Most turkeys take a few hours to cook, which means a lot of sustained heat is emitted from the oven, roaster, fryer, or grill. It’s advisable to keep the area clear of smaller family members, four-legged or otherwise. For younger kids, consider setting up an area of your house filled with enough distracting activities and snacks that they’ll be busy until dinnertime. Older kids can help with side dish preparation or may even be willing to run interference with younger guests, if you make it worth their while. For pets that might be tempted to come in for a closer look, consider setting them up in the backyard or distract them with long-lasting chew treats. Also, consider using gates to keep them out of the cooking area, if your floor plan allows for it.

What You Wear Matters

Since Thanksgiving generally involves a full day of cooking, most people want to be as comfortable as possible in terms of what they wear. However, loose-fitting clothing may pose a problem while cooking. So, you may want to trade in any long sleeves for a shorter model and encourage your helpers to secure any hanging material as well. With all the basting and lifting of large, heavy pans, wearing both an apron and shoes can help prevent direct contact with any hot liquids that may be inadvertently splashed.

Clear a Path

Between the back and forth of preparing the Thanksgiving meal and all the guests coming for dinner, your house will see a lot of traffic. In the kitchen, try to limit the number of people helping at any one time. This prevents accidental jostling and spills. It’s also a good idea to have a designated “clear space” where you can set something hot until you transfer it to a plate. That way, no one is stranded with a hot dish in their hands longer than they have to be. When removing the turkey from the oven, make sure the turkey pan is stable and the person doing the lifting has a good grip and enough room to maneuver.

Finally, make sure the path from the kitchen to the dining room is clear. You’ll most likely be making a number of trips from one room to the other while carrying hot food.

Enjoying Thanksgiving dinner at home with family and friends is something many people look forward to all year. It may even have influenced the type of home you chose. Make sure the holiday is thoroughly enjoyed and remembered for the right reasons.

Let’s Talk Turkey!

Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing the main dish:

  • Thaw your turkey completely in the fridge before cooking.
  • Be sure to remove the neck and giblets from inside the turkey.
  • Spring for a good meat thermometer, or two, rather than relying on the pop-up.
  • When cooking stuffing inside a turkey, make sure it reaches 165° F in the center.
  • Allow turkey to rest 15–20 minutes before carving.
  • Have Butterball’s hotline number handy: 1-800-288-8372 (BUTTERBALL).

Enjoying Thanksgiving dinner at home with family and friends is something many people look forward to all year. It may even have influenced the type of home you chose. Make sure the holiday is thoroughly enjoyed and remembered for the right reasons.

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