Turkey Prep Tips from Top Chefs

a thanksgiving turkey in an oven pan on a table

Thanksgiving is both delicious and dangerous, so we’ve found tips and tricks to help you cook your Thanksgiving bird to scrumptious perfection safely.

Thanksgiving is one of the best days of the year. There’s food and drink, then even more food and more drink, and just when you think you’re full, you somehow find room for pie. But Thanksgiving can also be one of the most dangerous days of the year with an average of 2,400 residential building fires, according to FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration. Most of these fires occur between 10 a.m. and four p.m., when most families are preparing their feast.

These statistics prompted our team to search the internet for the best cooking practices and guides from celebrity chefs to help you safely prepare your main course.

BBQ with Franklin: Thanksgiving part 1 — Smoking a turkey

Aaron Franklin, owner of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, walks aspiring turkey smokers through the brining and early stages of smoking your Thanksgiving turkey. He stresses safety, from potential burns to kitchen cleanliness. Make sure to watch the second and third parts of the series for a step-by-step guide to cooking your entire Thanksgiving meal. (For pet lovers, these fun and engaging videos feature guest appearances from Aaron’s dog, Honey!)

Sous vide — “A better way to turkey”

Sous video fried turkey for thanksgiving on a plate
By Jeff Roos

Grant Crilly, self-proclaimed “bird nerd” on ChefSteps, shows you a different way to cook your Thanksgiving turkey. Easier, better, and absolutely delicious — sous vide can take up to 24 hours from start to finish, but don’t stop scrolling just yet! Most of that time is inactive. With a Joule and a ziplock bag, you can cook your turkey, almost fool-proof, and finish it off with a deep fryer, grill, smoker, searing pan, or even a broiler. And the best part about sous vide is that it can be done almost all before T-Day, keeping in-demand real estate open in your oven for other important items, like pies.

Alton Brown’s most popular Thanksgiving tips

In 15 minutes, Alton Brown gives you every recipe you need for a delicious Thanksgiving’s day feast — cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and of course, the roasted turkey (with gravy). These easy, step-by-step recipes help struggling family chefs to serve a traditional and savory dinner, complete with all the trimmings. It even covers the famous Alton Brown cranberry sauce.

Gordon Ramsey’s roasted turkey with lemon, parsley, and garlic

Gordon Ramsey touts this recipe as a winter holiday dish, but why wait a month to enjoy this delicious bird? The most “gourmet” option on our list, this roasted turkey is an easy and fast, and Ramsey takes you step by step through the turkey preparation process. Meat lovers, you’ll be excited to know that the dish’s top garnish is none other than bacon. Showcase your growing culinary skills by serving this meal on yourThanksgiving table, with a savory gravy that has lemon, rosemary, and bacon flavors. Bon appetit!

Curtis Stone’s roast turkey

This quick video is less than six minutes, and you get not only celebrity chef Curtis Stone’s roast turkey but also Giada De Laurentiis’ fluffy mashed potatoes. Brown butter and sage gravy tops off this feast, and if you love cheese in your mashed potatoes, this is the recipe for you! But you might want to consider buying a potato ricer for this particular recipe, as it will make for light, fluffier potatoes! Load up your plate!

Enjoy the holidays with expert tips

two cell phones in front of an affluent blue home with the vipHomeLink dashboard up on the screens
vipHomeLink can help!

Here at vipHomeLink, we want you to have a wonderful and safe holiday, so before you step inside your kitchen to start preparing your yearly culinary extravaganza, we urge you to check out these cooking safety tips. At the very least, check and do not disable your smoke alarms. They can save your life.

Learn more home safety tips from experts in our vipTIPS, available to members on our app. We’ll also send you personalized reminders for home maintenance and tailored recommendations to keep your home safe year round, not just over the holidays. Not a member? Subscribe today! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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