One Month Before
First Weekend in November
Two Weeks Before
The Week Before
The Weekend Before Thanksgiving (Prepare your make ahead recipes)
Tuesday Before Thanksgiving
Wednesday Before Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day- if you are serving dinner at 5PM, here is our day of.... Time-line:
Frequently Asked Turkey Questions
How long do I defrost my turkey?
Use this timetable as a guide. You should defrost a turkey in it's original wrapping in the refrigerator (don't count Thanksgiving Day).
10- to 12-pound bird 2 days
12- to 14-pound bird 3 days
14- to 18-pound bird 4 days
18-pound-plus bird 5 days
When is the Turkey done?
The turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh (don't touch the bone) reads 180 degrees F and the stuffing reads 165 degrees F. The juice from the thigh should be clear when pierced with a fork and the drumstick and wings could just about fall off the bird when moved a bit.
How often should I baste the turkey?
Actually, basting is not necessary, it can prevent a wonderfully brown crackly skin and will extend the cooking time from the opening and shutting of the oven door. Keep the oven door shut as much as possible.
How big a turkey do I need?
Butterball has a great turkey calculator which will even let you account for leftovers and how much stuffing will be needed. If you are cooking for a small group (2-5), consider a turkey breast, or a smaller bird (duck, chicken, quail, game hen).