How To

How To: Make Thanksgiving Dinner Like a Chef

How To: Make Thanksgiving Dinner Like a Chef

Nov 15, 2017

In charge of preparing Thanksgiving dinner this year or simply looking for recipe inspiration? Our chefs are here to help with fresh and unique recipes, riffs and tips. If cooking isn’t your forte, let us do the cooking for you or dine in the comfort of our restaurants.

A Thanksgiving dinner table filled with food and surrounded by people

Bird is the Word

The Smoked Turkey from Bub City

Preparing Thanksgiving turkey can be intimidating, so we chatted with Chef/ Partner Doug Psaltis, whose restaurants RPM Steak and Bub City both prepare incredible Thanksgiving meals. From smoking to deep frying and roasting your turkey, here are a few recipe ideas and tips:

Bub City Whole Smoked TurkeyView the smoked turkey recipe here
“Brining the turkey before smoking or frying ensures a moist, cooked bird and extra added flavor. Let the finished turkey rest for an hour before carving to allow the juices to redistribute. It will still be warm come dinnertime, we swear.”

Bub City Deep-Fried Turkey LegsView the fried turkey legs recipe here
“Heard too many horror stories about deep-frying a whole bird? We recommend frying just the legs. If you’re still keen on deep-frying an entire turkey at home, look to YouTube to see what not to do.”

RPM Roasted TurkeyView the roasted turkey recipe here
“Simple is best when choosing seasoning for turkey: butter, salt and pepper. Add in a compound butter like garlic-sage if you’re feeling adventurous.”

The chefs of Bub City & RPM Steak are here to lend a hand with take home specials from Bub City (River North | Rosemont) and dine in specials the day of Thanksgiving at Bub City River North and RPM Steak.

Now you’ve got some recipe ideas, here are tips on how to best prepare your turkey:

Cooking the turkey on a rack will increase the hot air circulation, yielding an evenly cooked and crispy skin all around.

Brining the turkey for 24-hours is key in keeping it moist. Boil salt, sugar, bay leaves and peppercorns with cold water in a large stockpot until dissolved; cool. Submerge the turkey in a large container or cooler (adding ice helps) for 24 hours. Remove and dry completely before roasting.

To add even more moisture (and flavor!), rub the turkey all over with butter or olive oil. Take it up another notch by placing seasoned butter under the bird’s skin.

Allowing the turkey to rest after cooking locks in the juices. At least 20 minutes is recommended, and you can go up to an hour.

The best to carve a turkey is to start from the legs and thigh and work your way up. Remove the leg and thigh on one side, then cut the meat off the bone and slice it on a bias; repeat on the other side. Remove the breast meat from the breastbone and slice. Make sure the wishbone has been removed before doing so!

The best way to get crispy skin? Butter. Brush the bird with butter a few times during roasting, but be careful not to open the oven door too much — escaping hot air means longer cooking time.

You’ve mastered your main, now let’s move onto side dishes.

Stuffing: 3 Ways

The Wildfire Stuffing on a Thanksgiving table

Wildfire Executive Chef/Partner Joe Decker shares three ways to make the always-popular side dish – stuffing. Whether you’re looking for something a little more classic or something with a kick, we’ve got you covered.

Gluten-free Kale & Apple StuffingView the kale & stuffing recipe here
“I was so pleased by the outcome of this stuffing that I will be serving it at home this Thanksgiving! Gluten-free or not, this is sure to be a hit!”

Cornbread Stuffing – View the cornbread stuffing recipe here
“A stuffing created from our ever popular homemade cornbread. The smoky flavor of the bacon complements the sweetness of the cornbread.”

Classic Turkey Stuffing – View the turkey stuffing recipe here
“This is the one we serve at Wildfire on Thanksgiving Day that people ask for second and third helpings of!”

Here are all of the Wildfire dine-in specials (Chicago, IL | Glenview, IL | Oak Brook, IL | Schaumburg, IL | Eden Prairie, MN | Tysons Galleria, VA)

End it on a Sweet Note

Beatrix Caramel Pie with a slice being taken out of it

There’s only one person we can go to for expert tips as it comes to baking pies, and that’s Associate Partner & Executive Pastry Chef Yasmin Gutierrez. Yasmin oversees the pastry program at all three Beatrix locations, Beatrix Market, Foodlife, Foodease and Mity Nice Bar & Grill. To say she’s an expert is putting it lightly. Follow along as she walks us through how to construct the perfect pie.

An Infographic on how to construct the perfect pie

Step by Step

CRUST: To make the perfect holiday treat, choose from two popular options:

Graham cracker crust – usually used in Pumpkin Pie or Cheesecake. PRO TIP: Pat this dough tightly in the pan so that it doesn’t crumble!

Sugar dough – usually used in Pecan Pie or nut based pies. PRO TIP: Roll this dough out really thin. It makes cutting the pie easier after baking.

*Always par-bake your crust. It helps keep the pie structured, together and keeps it from crumbling apart.

FILLING: Simply mix all your ingredients together, pour in the batter, and bake! This is where you can be creative; add chocolate to pecan, and spices to your batter, use different nuts for more flavor — think outside the box!

*If you’re looking for a TRUE holiday sweet treat, look at your recipe and make sure it has an ingredient, like heavy cream, buttermilk or sour cream. Those ingredients have more fat, which means more flavor and moisture! Hey, it’s the holidays after all, right?  —that’s where you’re going to get your moisture from.

SIGNS YOUR PIE IS READY TO TAKE OUT OF THE OVEN: The outside of the pie will rise and crack, and the center will be “jiggly.” When you see that, it is time to take it out to avoid overbaking and keeping your pie full of moisture!

LET IT COOL: Because of the high heat, allow 30 minutes for your pie to cool, and put it in the refrigerator overnight. PRO TIP: Never serve your pie the day you baked it!

TOPPING: Once the pie is completely cool and has rest overnight, it’s time for a topping like whipped cream, chocolate mousse, or crumbled nuts & spices. PRO TIP: Don’t over whip your whipped cream; it will start to separate and get watery!

HOW TO GET THE PERFECT SLICE: Always cut with a clean, warm knife. Between each slice, dip your knife in hot water to ensure a clean, smooth cut every time.

A side view of the Pumpkin Pecan Pie from Beatrix
Beatrix’s Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Or let the restaurants supply the sweets for your family: Beatrix (Fulton Market | River North | Streeterville), Foodease and Mity Nice Grill or dine in at Mity Nice Grill.

* * *

Now that you’ve got recipes on deck for Thanksgiving, it’s time to think about wine. Our trusted Wine Directors have curated a guide to selecting the perfect Thanksgiving wine.


You May Also Like...

In The Restaurants
Celebrate National Wine Day Tomorrow
May 24, 2018

National Wine Day (May 25) is tomorrow, and while we love a great Napa Cab or Sauvignon Blanc from…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Brunching in the Chicago Burbs?
May 16, 2018

When planning your weekend, brunch should always be a priority and trust us, there’s lox to love…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Rise & Shine: The Best Way to Breakfast During the Week
May 13, 2018

Early risers rejoice! We've rounded up all of our weekday breakfast specialties that will keep you…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Celebrate Mother’s Day 2018
May 11, 2018

That special woman who would do absolutely anything for you deserves a day to be celebrated. Join us…

read more >
How To
How To: Make a Restaurant-Quality Dinner at Home
May 11, 2018

Our friends at Peapod are making it easier for you to enjoy your favorite dishes from Wildfire and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Gift Guide
May 10, 2018

Whether it's a birthday, the holiday season or any of the countless holidays throughout the year,…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Memorial Day 2018
May 6, 2018

An extra long weekend calls for an extra day of relaxing and brunching. Find out where to enjoy…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
May 4, 2018

This Cinco de Mayo our restaurants are going south of the border with specials throughout the week -…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Your Guide to the 26 Best Burgers to Try During National Burger Month
Apr 30, 2018

Burgers deserve a full month of celebrations which is why May has been declared National Burger…

read more >
In The Restaurants
In Season: Spring Peas
Apr 24, 2018

Spring has sprung and with the change in the season, our chefs have beautiful green veggies on their…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Here’s Where to Happy Hour
Apr 21, 2018

It's 5 o'clock somewhere! Here are all the happy hour deals at select Lettuce Entertain You…

read more >
In The Restaurants
The Best Time of the Year: Patio Season
Apr 20, 2018

Warm weather is here, which means al fresco dining is too! We've rounded up the best patios at…

read more >
In The Restaurants
There’s a New Fleet of Sweets in Town at Beatrix
Apr 20, 2018

Beatrix Executive Pastry Chef and Associate Partner Yasmin Gutierrez has done it again. Just in time…

read more >
In The Restaurants
James Beard Eats Week 2018
Apr 17, 2018

James Beard Eats Week is back! From April 27-May 7 show your support of aspiring Chicago culinary…

read more >
How To
National Grilled Cheese Day: 5 Steps to Achieve Grilled Cheese Nirvana
Apr 12, 2018

National Grilled Cheese Day (Thursday, April 12) is a food holiday we can certainly get behind.…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to Eat Lunch
Apr 11, 2018

For that one hour escape from your office, you want to make sure to make most of your lunch hour.…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Trending Now: Matcha
Apr 10, 2018

For all those who are matcha obsessed our chefs and mixologists have incorporated this…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Gluten-Free Friendly Restaurants
Apr 8, 2018

Finding gluten-free friendly restaurants has gotten a lot easier than it used to be. At Lettuce…

read more >
Openings
Now Open: Beatrix Market DePaul Loop
Apr 2, 2018

There’s a new Beatrix Market in town, Chicago! Calling all Loop residents and 9 to 5’ers, DePaul…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Spring into the season with these dishes
Apr 2, 2018

The temperatures are rising and tulips are being planted, which could only mean one thing: spring is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Dishes and Drinks with the Color of the Year: Ultra Violet
Mar 30, 2018

Every year, Pantone, the creator of colors, announces their choice in what the Color of the Year is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Easter 2018
Mar 28, 2018

Celebrate the end of Lent and bring the whole family in for Easter. Whether you're looking for…

read more >
How To
Healthy Cooking Hacks from Our Test Kitchen Chef
Mar 27, 2018

Lettuce Entertain You’s Corporate Chef Rita Dever knows the science behind a recipe's success and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Milkshake Madness: A Tournament of Toppings
Mar 17, 2018

In the grand tournament of milkshake toppings, who are the last sweets standing? We rounded up all…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Kid-Friendly Dining Options and Activities
Mar 15, 2018

You've been to the zoo, the beach, the pool... the kids are starting to get stir crazy. We've got…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Luck of the Irish: St. Patrick’s Day Treats
Mar 14, 2018

St. Patrick's Day is Saturday, March 17 and our restaurants are striking gold with special…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Get a Slice for Pi Day
Mar 13, 2018

We all love a good pun, especially when it has to do with food! Mathematicians and foodies rejoice…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Join RPM & Mercy Home’s March for Kids Campaign
Mar 10, 2018

Looking for a way to give back to the Chicago community? Join RPM Italian and RPM Steak this month…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Meet the Women Behind Some of Your Favorite Desserts
Mar 7, 2018

In honor of International Women's Day on March 8 (and every day) we want to give a shout out and…

read more >
How To
Giuliana Rancic Dishes on How To Throw An Award-Winning Oscar Party
Mar 2, 2018

The 90th Academy Awards are happening this Sunday, March 4th! With a little planning and some useful…

read more >
In The Restaurants
St Paddy’s Day 2018
Mar 1, 2018

St. Patrick's Day calls for corned beef, cabbage and all of the beer! Lucky for you, our restaurants…

read more >
In The Restaurants
This One’s For Our Indecisive Diners
Feb 26, 2018

For all of you indecisive order-ers out there - the "I want to order one of everything on the menu"…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Lettuce in Love: Weddings with Lettuce Parties
Feb 13, 2018

It's almost Valentine's Day and love is in the air. Believe it or not it's a tale as old as time (or…

read more >
In The Restaurants
A Few of Our Favorite Pizzas for National Pizza Day
Feb 9, 2018

There's a food holiday out there for everything but today (February 9) is National Pizza Day and we…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Presidents Day 2018
Feb 8, 2018

Enjoy your long weekend on Presidents Day (Monday, February 19) by staying up late, sleeping in and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to go on Valentine’s Day 2018
Feb 4, 2018

Have you made your Valentine's Day plans yet? It's right around the corner and there's lots of…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Valentine’s Day Dishes Designed for Two
Feb 1, 2018

February 14 marks a day when it's appropriate, if not preferred, to share your food "Lady and the…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Introducing Brunch at Mity Nice
Jan 30, 2018

Picture this: you're shopping along Michigan Avenue and then hunger strikes. So many people crowding…

read more >
In The Restaurants
The Big Game 2018: Where to Watch and What to Carry-out
Jan 25, 2018

Need a place to watch the big game on Sunday, February 4, 2018? The below restaurants are a great…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Now Pouring: Oat Milk Latte at Beatrix
Jan 24, 2018

MOOOOOOVE over cow’s milk, there’s a new ‘milk’ in town! Introducing, Oat Milk, now being…

read more >

Recent Posts

In The Restaurants
Celebrate National Wine Day Tomorrow
May 24, 2018

National Wine Day (May 25) is tomorrow, and while we love a great Napa Cab or Sauvignon Blanc from…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Only on Thursdays: Alaskan King Crab & Burgers at Oyster Bah
May 23, 2018

Why wait for the weekend to have all the fun because every Thursday night at Oyster Bah, in the Low…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Let’s Do Lunch! Meet You at Booth One
May 22, 2018

It seems that no one ever has time for lunch, which is often replaced by a quick snack between…

read more >
How To
Here’s How to Make Pesto
May 21, 2018

Summer is upon us and one of our favorite seasonal condiments is pesto! You can make pesto with…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Farm(ers Market) Right to Your Table: Brunch at Stella Barra
May 17, 2018

Chef / Partner Jeff Mahin (Summer House Santa Monica, Stella Barra Pizzeria, M Street Kitchen and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Now Serving: Happy Hour at Antico Posto
May 17, 2018

Here’s something to get “happy” about. You can now enjoy Antico Posto for lunch, dinner and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Brunching in the Chicago Burbs?
May 16, 2018

When planning your weekend, brunch should always be a priority and trust us, there’s lox to love…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Windy City Smokeout Presents the Country Music Stars of Tomorrow
May 13, 2018

Windy City Smokeout is returning to Chicago on July 13-15! Known for showcasing country music's…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Rise & Shine: The Best Way to Breakfast During the Week
May 13, 2018

Early risers rejoice! We've rounded up all of our weekday breakfast specialties that will keep you…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Celebrate Mother’s Day 2018
May 11, 2018

That special woman who would do absolutely anything for you deserves a day to be celebrated. Join us…

read more >
How To
How To: Make a Restaurant-Quality Dinner at Home
May 11, 2018

Our friends at Peapod are making it easier for you to enjoy your favorite dishes from Wildfire and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Gift Guide
May 10, 2018

Whether it's a birthday, the holiday season or any of the countless holidays throughout the year,…

read more >
Lettuce Consulting Group

Grow Your Business

Learn More
Career Opportunities

Join Our Team

Search Jobs
Latest Articles

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Sign Up Now

Lettuce on Instagram

Checkout our feed @lettuceentertainyou!