Holidays can be crazy, planning ahead will pay off. If you want to make it up as you go Thanksgiving will be stressful and expensive. Like Sun Tzu said, ponder and deliberate before you make a move. Plan ahead and keep thanksgiving stress-free!
Even if it feels like Thanksgiving is weeks away and that you still have an eternity to gear up for the big meal, it's time for you to start getting ready.
No worries... we are here to help every step of the way with this step-by-step guide to planning your Thanksgiving.
FIGURE OUT WHO IS COMING
First order of business is to figure out your guest-list. Its best to confirm who is coming beforehand, but all you need is an estimated number of guests. It is always better to plan for a couple extra guests and have left overs than to run out of food and share scraps.
DECIDE ON THE MENU
Once you figure out how many people you are hosting you can move on to the menu. While Turkey is the de-facto Thanksgiving meal, it does not have to be the only one. Feel free to mix and match... Turkey, Beef, Chicken, Pork. Here are a few of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes:
TURKEY: Turkey is one of the few original American foods that our ancestors used to eat. If you want to know all you need to know about Turkey, check out this blog post. The key to making a kick-ass turkey is to buy a high quality bird. We recommend buying 1lb to 1-1/2 lbs of Turkey per guest. But you can do 1/2 lb per guest if you choose to also have another main dish during thanksgiving.
Turkey takes work. There are plenty of excellent recipes online, but if you do not feel like cooking one up we are selling Turkeys cooked low and slow by our friends from Miami Smokers.
PRIME RIB: There is nothing like a good roast, and the Prime Rib or Standing Roast is the king of them all. Buying and thinking about cooking a Prime Rib can be intimidating and understandably so... Prime Rib is not cheap, and it doesn't look like it is easy to prepare... and yet, it is.
We suggest Bone-in prime Rib.. but a high quality Boneless Prime Rib is awesome and easier to handle. Forget about tying up the bones as it is completely unnecessary. If you are buying bone-in prime rib calculate 10-12oz per person, while boneless 6-8oz per person.
A lot of people over-complicate the process of cooking a Prime Rib. Forget that... follow our simple recipe for an amazing prime rib.
SEGOVIAN COCHINILLO: This is my favorite holiday meal... heck, it may be my favorite meal. Cochinillo translates to Suckling Pig. In America a suckling pig may be any pig under 30 lbs... but not to the Spanish, and specifically to Segovians. For Segovians, a suckling pig cannot be heavier than 10 lbs and must not be older than three weeks. More importantly, it only must be milk-fed and the mother must have been on a special diet that makes the meat super tender.
This means the meet is EXTREMELY tender and flavorful. Cooking a Suckling Pig is no more difficult than cooking a Prime Rib or Turkey and one thing I love about is that it fits in your oven. Check out our guide to cooking an amazing Suckling Pig.
ROASTED PIG: If you are hosting over 15 people you may want to consider a whole Hog. At Meat N' Bone we sell Premium Roasting pigs and we hand-deliver them to your door. While not as tender as a Suckling Pig, this is as good as pigs get. Did I mention that we can cook them for you?
What should you get? Up to you... but I love combining. I will usually do a half prime rib and a small turkey for a group of 15 people.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Set the table early (or the day before) so that you make sure you have everything you need. Avoit going to the supermarket and buying supplies at the last minute.
To know when you should start preparing each dish, work backwards from the time you plan on serving dinner. You can prep your Turkey, Pig or Prime Rib and leave it in the oven ready to serve a couple hours before your guests get there
Give yourself enough time to carve and prep. But remember, the idea is to have fun.. so don't sweat it. Enjoy the food and most importantly... the company!
If someone offers to help, don't turn it down. You can ask your guests to bring drinks, dessert or take care of one of the main dishes. At my house I prefer to buy everything and have everyone bring cash...