Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

2:31 PM, Nov 13, 2012   |    comments
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Butler's Pantry's Chef Greg Ziegenfuss Offers Tips on how to Host the Perfect Thanksgiving

It can be daunting to host Thanksgiving. With the proper planning, time management, and creative use of menu planning, it can be stress free. Follow these quick and easy tips for a successful holiday meal.


  1. Invite enough guests so it feels like an event, but not so many that your home is crowded. Allow guests to help. Having everyone in the kitchen can be fun even if someone's job is merely to refill the chef's wine glass.


  1. Plan, plan, plan... from shopping list, to how and where to store products, to when items are to go into the oven, and who is to do what. Write down a detailed, thorough plan. 


  1. While side dishes and desserts share the spotlight with the turkey, keep in mind that the turkey is the center of attention and will take the most time and oven space. All other dishes must be planned and timed around the timing of the turkey.


  1. Some basic guidelines for cooking turkey: If time and space permit, consider brining the turkey 24 hours before cooking to add both moisture and flavor to the turkey. When roasting, brown the turkey at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, then tent with aluminum foil and lower the temperature to 325 degrees.
  • Allow for 1 pound of whole turkey per person and perhaps an additional breast so as to have sufficient white meat. For an unstuffed turkey, allow to cook approximately 15 minutes per pound (four pounds per hour).
  • For a stuffed turkey, allow to cook approximately 20 minutes per pound (three pounds per hour).
  • As the size of the bird increases the times per pound decrease slightly.
  • Check the internal temperature of the turkey frequently, especially towards the end of the approximate cooking time so as not to overcook the bird. Insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, being sure not to hit a bone. When finished, it should read 165 degrees.


  1. Once the turkey is cooked, place remaining side dishes in the oven in order of their cooking time. If all goes according to plan, dinner will be served on time and everyone will enjoy and appreciate the fruits of your hard work, time management, and planning.

Hosting Thanksgiving will be simple with these tips. If thinking about hosting Thanksgiving dinner and preparing the turkey is too daunting, simply hire Butler's Pantry and we'll do it all for you. We'll even clean up so you don't have to lift a finger.


For more information, visit


About Butler's Pantry

Butler's Pantry, a second-generation business founded in 1966, is a St. Louis food-service company that provides innovative and creative catering services for corporate functions, social and special events, and weddings of all sizes. Butler's Pantry has provided catering services for some of the most notable St. Louis events, including the 2008 BMW Championship, the Mayor's Ball, the visit of Pope John Paul II and the U. S. Senior Open. Butler's Pantry presents their own premier event venue, Palladium Saint Louis. Located in Historic Lafayette Square, Palladium Saint Louis is a sophisticated space accommodating up to 700 people.


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