This is part 3 of 3 for Rouxbe's multi-task meal planner.
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I'd like to thank you for helping me make the best Thanksgiving dinner ever. I've brined a turkey before, but it never was to my liking. With your instructions and great recipes, I really wowed them.
I've learned so much since joining Rouxbe, I can't thank you enough. Your Thanksgiving Meal Planner was my Thanksgiving dinner, the only thing I added were the wonderful Roasted Glazed Carrots...none left! I used the planning list, printed everything off, and reviewed the videos, whew...taking a few days away from the stove!
I have never made anything on Thanksgiving before, let alone plan the whole day's meals for 2 families at our house. It was a fabulous success and I had a blast doing most everything!
I was trying to find the best place to post my feedback on this whole meal, so here it is. I printed off all the recipes, watched all the videos... a couple times. I followed the instructions as close as I could as a hobby home chef.
My turkey came out incredible! I never liked turkey before, but when it is cooked well, I guess I do like it. Same goes for the cranberry sauce and Brussels sprouts.
Everything down to the wine pairings were incredible. I had such a wonderful day planning, cooking and hosting Thanksgiving. One additional note, with all of the detail from Rouxbe, I had zero stress. The whole day went smooth and I got to enjoy the meal and some football. Thanks Rouxbe!
You have no idea just how great that makes us feel to hear this...in all honesty, we actually got tears in our eyes when we read your comment (maybe too much information, but it's true). We just want to teach people to cook with confidence and to have success in the kitchen.
We are very happy to hear that you had a super Thanksgiving with your family, after all that's what it's all about!
It truly was great Dawn. I would never have even attempted the task without the planning and forethought available on Rouxbe. It gave me such confidence, just by following the step by step instructions. I'm learning SO much from this site, and appreciate everything that goes on in the background of this site to make it what it is. The quality and detail is unlike anything I've ever seen on TV or online. Thanks!
I wasn't planning on cooking Thanksgiving dinner at my house until Monday night. After the initial panic subsided, I went to Rouxbe.com. The shopping list and the videos were extremely helpful! I pulled off a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner (my very first one) and I couldn't have done it without you! Thank you!!!
Being from Ireland, we do not celebrate Thanksgiving but I will follow your ideas for Christmas Dinner As I Will possibly be cooking for 12 or so people , usually I get the timing slightly wrong, but hopefully using the above methods will help. I will Keep you Posted
I was very disappointed yesterday when the turkey (fresh) did not turn out as i was hoping it would.
I followed the recipe to the dot, brining a 10 lb turkey using the moderate brine for 12 hrs, air dried it in the refrigerator for 5 hrs, and then followed the steps per the video. After the 2 1/2 hr mark, when I checked the internal temperature in the thigh area, it was 155F. On piercing the thigh area from the outside, the liquid flowing out was red. We put it back in for another hr, it reached about 165F (inside), but the thigh area was looking red. Total time we cooked the turkey was 3 1/2 hrs
We let it rest for 30 mins, and when I went to carve the meat, the breast and the thigh meats were red. We then put the cut meat pieces in the microwave to cook, and the meat turned out tough. What went wrong!! I have heard excellent reviews. Can you please let me know.
Thanks for the note. Understanding what went wrong is key to becoming a great cook. If you don't fail, you won't learn and get better. I'm sorry though that you had some challenges on this important day.
Few potential problems and a few suggestions:
1. Regarding cooking time, there are so many factors involved.
* how good is your oven
* does it hold an accurate temperature
* did you open and close the door a lot
* was the turkey really cold when it went in or room temperature
* is the heat evenly distributed in your oven
Good thing to note though, is that despite these factors that WILL all affect cooking times, you should still be able to roast the perfect turkey every time. You MUST always use the time on any recipe as a guide and a guide only. There is simply no way in the world that 100 people cooking the exact same turkey (type and weight) in 100 different ovens, will produce a perfectly cooked turkey in the same time - it's impossible). You must learn how to test for doneness and then cook until done. Learn this and you will never fail at cooking any poultry. Ever! Unless you forget to check for doneness of course.
My suggestion is to practice over the coming weeks with a roast chicken (check out the lessons on Roasting Chicken in the cooking school section on Rouxbe). There are only a few key things to know that will guarantee success and they are dead simple. You have to know how to test for doneness and you have to let the bird rest and relax (see lesson). Brining is also a great technique to infuse flavor and ensure a moist bird.
2. Regarding temperature and testing for doneness, it appears that either your thermometer is incorrect and needs calibrating (or you need a new one), OR you inserted the thermometer in the wrong spot. If you actually reached 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone, an underdone turkey is impossible. Furthermore, as the thigh will always take longer than the breast meat, if the thigh was 165 degress, the breast was likely 170/175, which would not have resulted in any pinkness at all. One thing that you might want to try next time, assuming your thermometer is working, is to try and test temperature in a variety of spots on the thigh, pushing it in further, pulling it out a bit. This way you will learn the precise spot where you need to test moving forward (test on a few chickens, they are the same). Even try testing in the thickest part and then push through and touch the tip of the thermometer to the bone. You will note that the temperature will fluctuate in different areas and likely be the highest when touching the bone or nearest to the outside surface. Find the coldest spot and this is the spot that needs to reach 165 degrees.
Lastly, I do want to mention that even at 165, there might be a VERY little bit of redness that might still be evident. When I carve a turkey, I often see tiny bits. As long as it's 165, don't worry about this. It will likely bleed away when you carve or you can just set it aside for your turkey stock/soup later.
3. Re toughness... the microwave is likely the killer here. Microwaving is not a great cooking method by any means. So I'm 99% sure that this is where things got tough for you. The other contributing factor could have been that you may not have let the turkey rest given the timing problems you experienced. But the microwave is your culprit here. Don't go there in the future and you'll thank me :-).
Again, sorry that you had to do all of your learning on this important day. Don't give up. Buy a few chickens and practice. Watch the chicken roasting lessons. Cooking poultry is fool-proof once you know the key things to look for.
Now that the turkey coma has subsided, I need to take a few minutes to thank you and all of the hard work and thoughtfulness that is incorporated into this site. Because of your instruction and insights, I was able to provide the most beautiful and delicious Thanksgiving dinner ever for my family! It meant so much to me! I had always dreamed of making everything from scratch, but without your helpful planners and guides, it would not have been as perfectly executed.
Let me explain a bit further. You see, apart from the buttery mashed potatoes, I had never made ANY of the dishes prior to this day. In fact, I only made the potatoes once when I brined and roasted the only chicken I've ever cooked two weeks ago, so taking on the Thanksgiving challenge was a bit ambitious by most standards, especially considering that I have a very tiny kitchen.
I followed your instructions meticulously (washing and storing every tool and utensil along the way). I even made a wonderful loaf of bread! And with the help and moral support of my husband, the table setting, decor, ambiance and food made for a special holiday we will all remember for a lifetime.
Thank you, again, Rouxbe! I am so grateful for the inspiration you bestow.
Hi all- I am contemplating an attempt at this dinner, but the only glitch is that the dinner will be hosted at my brother's home due to a pet allergy of one of the guests.
At which point would you suggest the prep could be interrupted and the food transported? Thanks!
The best time to transfer food really depends on how far you are going, when dinner is going to be served, how many dishes/equipment you have, how much space the place you are going to has etc.
With all of that in mind, I would say that many things can be done at home and then transferred. For example, the turkey can be cooked and resting, the gravy and stuffing can all be prepared ahead. The potatoes can be cooked and covered with plastic wrap. You just need to make sure that you keep everything warm and also be sure you have some where to keep it warm, and/or bring it back up to food safe temperature, once you get to where you are going.
You may want to consider roasting the yams and finishing the Brussels sprouts (just the reheating with the bechamel) at your brothers.
Hope this helps. Cheers!