This, for many people, will be their first season of party hosting on their grown adult own. It can be a nerve-wracking experience, but I collected some wisdom from some professional (and a few amateur but seasoned) hospitality experts. Here’s their best advice for surviving the season and hosting a great party or Thanksgiving dinner.
Jeremy Harshey, bartender: Don't make cocktails, make a punch. It's all about doing prep before the event, so you can spend more time entertaining your guests.
Lucas Trinosky, chef: Do as much as possible by Wednesday. Peel potatoes, slice salad items, chop mirepoix , trim greens, mix stuffing/dressing, get sweet potatoes ready for the oven and prep all desserts before Thursday. You should walk into the kitchen Thanksgiving Day like Guy Fieri and just start putting stuff together. Oh, #ANDBASTETHETURKEYEVERY20MINUTES
Eli Laidlaw, chef: Brine the turkey, start working early, tell yourself to be ready 30 min before dinner, don't cook the bird too far, think 155 degrees and let it rest to temperature. Listen to good jams all damn day.
John Herndon, chef: Start earlier than you planned.
Michael Gray, bartender: Low proof beverage options!
Joshua Gonzales, bartender: Serve lots of beer and wine. Fuck cocktails.
Erin Till, chef: Spatchcock it!
(Psst: Click here to see our step-by-step guide to spatchcocking birds)
Frank Felice, Italian, Butler professor, composer: Cook some things (like a pan of stuffing and breads) the day before and then reheat the day of — your outside gas grill (on low) is a great warming oven. Cooking turkey in a bag is a great quicker way to do a moist turkey
Thomas England, chef: Don't use the pop up temperature thing that is in some turkeys when you buy them. They go off when the turkey is overcooked and dry. Use an in-oven thermometer in the breast and pull the turkey out of the oven at 155. You never need to open the oven that way. Every time the oven is opened the heat drops and has to come back up. This means it takes longer to cook. And, the heat bouncing will also dry the meat out.
Edna Harp, small business owner, grandmother, Thanksgiving veteran: I always cook my turkey in a cooking bag and it’s never dry.