Roasted/braised turkey. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Last year my cousin Ryan, feeling overwhelmed by the task of hosting his first Thanksgiving dinner, wrote to me for advice. I’m reposting the advice I gave him here, along with the roast/braise method.

The bottom line is this and it’s the mantra I want all anxious cooks out there to repeat continually: Everything will be fine. Really. Everything will be fine. Really. (Thank you @SamSifton.) 

Below is a collection of posts that cover all the fundamental dishes. Nothing new here; the good stuff always stays the same. Remember, no one step is particularly hard, so it’s simply a matter of being organized. For last minute questions, I’ll be taking them online at the @Food52 hotline, Thanksgiving day from 2-3.

Homemade Turkey Stock

The Original Roasted/Braised Turkey Post with Illustrative Photos and Slide Show.

If you want a traditional roast, here’s how: Roast Turkey, from my book How To Roast.



Dressing, cranberry sauce, and homemade gravy; three must haves on your holiday table. Photos by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

In my opinion, gravy is the single most important preparation of the day; it brings every thing together. Here’s how I do it: Gravy

Holiday Dressing (It’s basically a bread pudding; make any variations you want, such as adding sausage.)

My dad’s Cranberry Sauce.

Happy Thanksgiving one and all. May your holiday be bountiful and peaceful and filled with love and great food!

If you liked this post, take a look at these links:

© 2016 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2016 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


6 Wonderful responses to “Mega Thanksgiving Post”

  • Pam

    My turkey stock was made a couple weeks ago. (It’s a “Ruhlman thing.” Today I’ll make two kinds of cranberry sauce so that no one bitches about whole cranberries or the lack thereof. Tomorrow I’ll make pies and peel vegetables. Thursday I’ll pour a glass of wine and put it all together. And if anything goes wrong, I’ll pour another glass of wine and deal with it!
    How did Ryan’s first Thanksgiving dinner go?
    Happy Thanksgiving, Michael and thanks for being here.

    • Michael Ruhlman

      Thanks Pam! You know how to do it.

      And cousin ryan’s, everything turned out all right. as it always does.

  • Brian Brandfas

    I look forward to your Thanksgiving post with your dad’s cranberry sauce. I’ve been making it every year since you posted it and its always a hit. Even people who do not normally like cranberry sauce love it. Thank you for sharing something that I know is very special to you.

  • Eric S.

    Trying out the braise roast on a turkey (from a farm a few minutes away no less – can’t beat living in farm country this time of year) – excited to see the results! I’ve done smoked, regular roasted, etc. but this version taps into two of my favorite falltime cooking methods , so how can you go wrong?! Thanks for the refresher post!

  • Tim Abel

    I wish I could add something insightful to this “Mega Thanksgiving Post”

    I can’t other than to say that there is a special thanks perhaps a special level in heaven for those who host holidays

    It’s a special effort and for some if not all a lot of work.

    As many of you know… it’s an act of generosity, nurturing and even love.

    There are many guest but fewer hosts.

    Happy Thanksgiving to each of you.

  • Jan P


    Your Dad’s Cranberry Sauce became an added
    tradition to our favorites list yesterday!

    That dark rum adds a beautiful color and heightens the flavor.