Ina Garten Says This Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Turkey Is the Best One She's Ever Made
Pictured recipe: Slow-Roasted Rosemary Turkey with Peppercorn Gravy
You can always trust Ina Garten to have tips at the ready whenever a big food and entertaining holiday comes up. We've relied on the Barefoot Contessa for everything from a delicious holiday cocktail to full menus for summer holidays like the Fourth of July and Memorial Day. Thankfully, Garten has already revealed her 2021 Thanksgiving menu, which we're definitely going to copy. Now Ina is sharing some of her favorite tips and tricks for a make-ahead Thanksgiving dinner that we can't wait to try out.
Her first tip has to do with the star of the show: the Thanksgiving turkey. Garten's Make-Ahead Turkey & Gravy is packed with delicious flavors like onion, sage and thyme—and Garten says it's the best turkey she's ever made. "After years of stressing over the turkey, I found that roasting and carving it ahead of time, arranging it on an oven-proof platter over a bed of gravy, and then putting it in the oven before dinner is SO much easier than trying to carve a hot turkey at the table!," Garten wrote on Instagram. "It's also the best turkey I've ever made."
Commenters chimed in to double-down on Garten's turkey recipe being the best around—including Clinton Kelly, who wrote that Garten's gravy recipe is a Thanksgiving "go-to" that he calls "super yum." And while others chimed in to say they were concerned about slicing the turkey well enough to serve it carved, Garten responded with her philosophy for perfectly sliced poultry. "I cut off each breast in one large piece, then sliced it thickly so each slice has some meat and skin," she wrote. "It's moister and looks better on the platter."
Another bonus you'll get from making your turkey ahead of time is extra time for your main dish to rest—that time is crucial to making a truly succulent, juicy bird, according to Garten. While you may already have your favorite turkey and gravy recipe in mind for the holidays, you could always apply Garten's method to your own menu. Just write out a schedule for yourself so you know when you need to get started on the bird in order to have it carved up and piping hot by dinnertime—that's another tip we stole from Ina, by the way. You could also apply this roast-and -carve-ahead method to one of our many Thanksgiving turkey recipes—like the classic Roast Turkey with White Wine Gravy or the spicy-sweet Red Chile-Citrus Glazed Roast Turkey & Pan Gravy.
Think of pairing your turkey with Garten's Parmesan Smashed Potatoes, which she gave make-ahead instructions for on Al Roker's Cooking Up a Storm podcast, and her Make-Ahead Cranberry Sauce, which is on her menu for this year's turkey day. (You could also try out some of our favorite make-ahead Thanksgiving sides for a relaxed holiday.)