When to start shopping, engaging the kids, having guests help out–all good “helpful hacks” for Thanksgiving hosts. The most surprising one for me in this article is spatchcocking the turkey. Really. It’s Martha Stewart approved.
8 Hacks for Hosting Thanksgiving at Home
By Celeste Perron | Nov 18, 2015
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is almost here. Harder still: the concept of having to host the holiday at your own home. Even if you love opening your home to friends and family, hosting on turkey day can induce stress in even the most experienced home entertainers. To help out, we’ve collected some tricks that make cooking faster, clean up easier, and the whole event less expensive. Bonus: You won’t lose your sanity and snap at a guest (at least not more than once).
1. Stop grocery shopping now
2. Go full rental
3. Spend less on table decor
4. Fast-track your food
Instead of cooking the turkey for six semi-traumatic hours—worrying all the while that it’s drying out or cooking unevenly—try spatchcocking the bird. This involves cutting the backbone out of the turkey and laying the bird flat, so that all the skin is face up.
“It slashes hours off the cooking time, and the turkey will have crispy browned skin on the outside and be moist and tender on the inside,” says Beth Hirsch, an instructor at The Cooking Coach 101. Martha Stewart has step-by-step visuals. (God bless you, Martha!)
Another food shortcut is the mashed potatoes. “Potatoes done the usual way [boiled] take a lot of time, so instead I wrap them in damp towels and microwave them,” says Hirsch. “After that, they’re easy to peel and mash.” Note: This works only with thick-skinned russets, which produce a fluffy finished product.
5. Break out your summer cooler
6. Have guests pitch in outside of the kitchen
7. Occupy the little guests
8. End the night with a next-day buffet