Our test kitchen is in full swing preparing for Thanksgiving, and on this episode of Prep School, Megan Mitchell is breaking down one of the most overwhelming aspects of the holiday: turkey prep. (While you're planning your menu, check out our holiday-worthy roasts that ship straight to your door. ) If you have questions about how to prep, carve, and plate your turkey—this video has the answers. Plus, Megan’s sharing an easy, low-stress gravy recipe you can quickly pull together before the meal.
Benefits of Ordering a Pre-Cooked Turkey
This year, we're offering meat bundles that feature pre-cooked turkeys—and here’s why we’re extra excited.
- Time saver: Getting your turkey from us means you won’t have to drive from store to store looking for non-GMO and organic options. And because it’s pre-cooked, you don’t have to stress about getting your bird in the oven right when you get up. It’ll still need some time to heat though so you’ll have a chance to use your favorite rub and stuffing recipes (see our ideas below!).
- Space saver: Less turkey-cooking time frees up your oven space for other side dishes and desserts.
How to Prep a Pre-Cooked Turkey
Prepping your holiday meats is easy once you choose the right method. The first step? Thaw your turkey.
- Slow thaw: Leave your turkey on a sheet pan in the fridge and thaw for 2 to 3 days prior to warming. (Tip: Approximately 4 hours per pound is the rule of thumb.)
- Quick thaw: Submerge the turkey in cold water in its original packaging, breast side down, flushing with cold water every 30 minutes. For this approach, allow approximately 30 minutes per pound.
Tips for Stuffing a Turkey
When it comes to stuffing the bird before you slide it into the oven, Megan loves to mix and match aromatics. Here are some of her favorites:
- Halved or quartered lemons and oranges
- Quartered yellow onions
- Whole garlic cloves
- Rosemary sprigs
- Thyme sprigs
- Sage sprigs
Tips for Plating a Turkey
After the turkey is carved and headed for the buffet table, give guests a peek at the flavors they’ll enjoy by arranging any combination of the following ingredients on the platter.
- 2 to 3 halved or quartered Meyer lemons and oranges
- 2 to 3 halved or quartered persimmons
- 1 to 2 whole pomegranates cut into wedges
- A bunch of fresh bay leaves
- A bunch of fresh rosemary sprigs
- A bunch of fresh sage sprigs
- A bunch of fresh thyme sprigs
Quick Turkey Gravy
Yield: 4 cups
Active time: 5 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
While the turkey rests, simmer 3 cups chicken stock with herbs. Strain pan drippings into a bowl, then add 1 cup to the pot with the stock. If you don’t have enough pan drippings, add more stock until you reach 4 cups of liquid.
Make a slurry by whisking ½ cup stock with cornstarch in a small bowl until thickened. Once the pan drippings and stock are simmering, slowly whisk in slurry, until your whisk pulls and the gravy has thickened. (The mixture must come to a boil for the slurry to “activate.”) Season with salt and pepper before serving.
Recipe by Chef Megan Mitchell