Today’s the day to plan your cooking timeline for Wednesday/Thursday. There’s math involved, so you might want to grab a calculator.
The best way to go about this is to figure out what time you’d like to sit down to eat, and then work backward. Plan time for carving, letting the meat rest after cooking, and the cooking itself. Because I’m dry-brining my bird, my timeline actually starts this evening, when I salt and bag the turkey. I’ll unbag it Wednesday night to give the skin some drying time in the fridge (so the bird browns properly). Here’s how Thursday goes:
- 11:45 a.m. – Stuff and truss turkey
- 12:15 p.m. – Bird in the oven
- 4:15 p.m. – Bird finished and resting
- 4:45 p.m. – Carve
- 5 p.m. – Dinner!
You can also call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-674-6854.
Another good thing to do to day is a tablewear check. Serving dishes and china you don’t use on a regular basis might have gotten dusty, and need a wash. An easy way to make sure everything is clean (and that you have enough salad plates, etc. for each guest) is to set the table just the way you will on Thursday.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about make-ahead side dishes.