Turkey Practice

If you were to guess the number one meal that Americans report stressing out over, what would it be?

I’d guess Thanksgiving.

Think about it; we’re stressed about spending the day with that one family member who’s particularly hard to get along with, playing referee between that friend of a friend who always feels the need to talk politics and religion and whomever the target is, we’re worried about eating too much and worried the kids aren’t behaving.

And that’s just to start off with!

Needless to say, the sentiment of the holidays often gets lost in translation.

Regardless, with all that stress that many feel during the holidays, the last thing you need is even more stress to add on to the heap.

So why add needless worry about whether or not your meal is going to turn out well?

In particular, the pièce de résistance, the turkey (unless you’re serving a ‘non traditional’ dish; if so, check out my Roast Pheasant Recipe).

88 percent of us are going to eat turkey at Thanksgiving. 

So why is it that more often than not, we’re stressed out that it’s going to be too dry, cooked too early and therefore cold, or not ready in time, resulting in the sides being overdone and cold?

In actual fact, cooking a whole turkey, or just a bone-in, skin-on breast, is not that hard.

Daunting maybe, if it’s your first go, but I promise you, with a little practice, you can rest assured that the real deal next week will be a hit.


Yes, you read that correctly.

You needn’t do your practice on another 30-pounder to serve the large number of guests you’re going to host next week, though.

Think smaller… and think pasture-raised chicken!

A 2 pound hen makes the perfect sized meal for yourself and family, so if you’re keen to try a couple of different cooking methods between now and next week, you’ve got plenty of time for practice without waste.

First, decide which cooking options make sense.

If you don’t have a smoker or an outdoor grill with a smoker function, smoking the turkey isn’t an option.

If you’re following a low sodium diet, salt brine is a no-go.

And if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can forget about this method.

But there are so many more to choose from including (and note that this list is neither exhaustive nor indicative of healthy ways to prep… hello, deep-fry!)

• Scalding

• Roasting

• Brown Bag Roasting

• Grilled

• Deep-Fried

In addition, of course, you’ve got to decide about

• Stuffed

• Glazed

• Herbed

• Dressed

• Trussed 

In other words, there are lots of options.

Whether you’re looking for traditional, eclectic or your own fusion, you have time on your side.  So long as you’ve actually ordered your bird, you have several evenings’ meals to prepare in order to try out whichever cooking method appeals to you and your family the most.

Why not make it fun?  Take a survey amongst your family or dinner guests during this week and use their input to further help you make your decision as to which prep was the tastiest, juiciest and most delicious of all.

This way, when Tuesday rolls around next week and you’re doing your shop and some of the initial prep for Thursday (by the way, having a scheduled timeline in place does wonders for that stressed out feeling mentioned earlier!), you’ll have one less thing to stress about since by then, you’ll be a Thanksgiving main course pro!

Check out my recipe for Paleoista’s Classic Roast Turkey.  

You know me- simple is often best, and definitely my fave!