7 steps to pulling off the perfect Thanksgiving

Make turkey jerky a thing of the past

Who doesn't enjoy a good holiday dinner party? The convergence of food, friends and family under one roof is the stuff memories are made of.

Some parties, however, are memorable for the wrong reasons. Thanksgiving is a common culprit. Who hasn't had to feign a smile as your host – or worse, you – sawed into a desicated bird that no gravy can rehydrate?

With a big meal there's no shortage of potential pitfalls, from dinner delays to liquid pumpkin pie to, gulp, food poisoning. But with the right plan and expert know-how, anyone can pull off an exceptional turkey dinner.

We're happpy to supply both, courtesy of the many talented instructors and grads of NAIT's Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management, Professional Meatcutting and Merchandising and Baking and Pastry Arts programs.

Thaw your bird

a raw whole turkey

You're not going to impress anyone if your turkey is raw in the middle because it wasn't completely thawed. And you definitely won't impress anyone if you make them sick from poor handling of raw poultry. Check out our quiz on turkey food safety for thawing times and tips.

Time to debone and brine

Your thawed bird is ready for action! If you really want to wow your guests, follow our step-by-step video for deboning your turkey, which makes it super simple to carve and serve. A brine is also never a bad idea to inject flavour into your turkey. A brined bird is also more forgiving if you accidentally overcook the meat.

Cook the best turkey ever

The turkey is ready for prime time, now what? Take advice from a Culinary Arts instructor Jason St. Laurent (Culinary Arts '05), who breaks down turkey roasting temps from start to finish.

Make something everyone can enjoy

gluten-free vegan chestnut stuffing

Expecting guests with dietary restrictions? Or you're not but want to be inclusive just the same? Rylan Krause (Cook '12), executive chef at Ernest's, NAIT's on-campus restaurant, offers his recipe for a tasty vegan, gluten-free stuffing.

Giving thanks is thirsty work

You and your guests deserve something special. We have five fall and Thanksgiving-inspired cocktail recipes you have to try.

Pass the pumpkin pie

You can't invite the gang for Thanksgiving supper with all the trimmings minus the most essential trimming of all: dessert! This fool-proof recipe was developed by Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts staff.

Reimagine the leftovers

Leftovers are a great part of any Thanksgiving feast but after a few days even turkey sandwiches lose their appeal. Culinary Arts instructor Randall Stasuk (Commercial Cooking '86) offers this delectable and slightly spicy mulligatawny soup.

(And don't throw away the bones! Here are tips on creating tasty stocks and broths.)

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