Digest Features November 21, 2014

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Miami's Best Chefs Dish Out Their Thanksgiving Tips

Thanksgiving Day is almost near and we're giving thanks to Miami's top chefs for these 12 delicious tips! Find out their secrets to preparing a delectable Thanksgiving feast. Gobble Gobble!

Timon Balloo, Executive Chef | SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill

"A Thanksgiving tip I always like to provide to people is to use a moisture bag for the turkey while cooking. It helps ensure a juicy breast and help with a quick clean up. Use as per manufactures instructions.

Aaron Brooks, Executive Chef | EDGE Steak & Bar

Get your self a good humanely raised bird. I like what the folks at Murray's are producing. Once at home a good brine doesn't go astray for keeping your buzzard moist. On top of that I like to make a beautifully seasoned butter with some Kerrygold irish butter, grated parmesan, garlic, parsley, sage, thyme and a little panko bread crumb. Stuff it under the skin of your birds breasts before baking and you are guaranteed turkey heaven.

Adrianne Calvo, Chef/Owner | Chef Adrianne's

"I love bourbon, so I put it in everything (LOL)! I make a bourbon maple glaze that's great on ham or sweet potatoes. I like to brine my turkey with bourbon as well, makes for crispy, woodsy, smokey turkey skin!"

Jamie DeRosa, Chef/Owner | Tongue & Cheek

"When its comes to turkey, stuffing is evil. Whether you call it stuffing, dressing or even filling (as I have heard it referred to) or whether you include seafood, cornbread, sausage or fruit, nothing is more important than where you cook this concoction – inside or outside of the turkey.

I prefer to cook the stuffing in a casserole outside of the bird — no junk in the trunk here. Then when the bird is done, drizzle the drippings of the turkey over the stuffing to give it added flavor and also help keep it nice and juicy. My preference is not just based on taste, but safety concerns as well.

Although my taste in stuffing (or dressing as I cook it outside the bird) is pretty diverse (cornbread, sausage, oyster, etc), this year I have decided to pay homage to my Italian roots and make my favorite – a sausage, apple and walnut stuffing." Learn the recipe HERE.

Thomas Griese, Chef de Cuisine | Michael Mina 74

"For me, the best way to cook a Turkey is with Patience and Focus. Turkeys need to be loved and rightfully so, you need to start by putting the love into the bird. Brining the Turkey is always the first step to creating deliciousness. Brining is a process which imparts an uberous amount of flavor into the meat without damaging the meat (like when people inject brine!!! NO BUENO)... So for me the secret technique for preparing a bird is to BRINE WITH LOVE. I generally use a standard ratio of Water, Sugar and Salt followed by adding lemon, oranges that have been studded with Cloves, Cinnamon stick, Star Anis, Black Pepper, Bay Leaves, Thyme, and Honey. All these ingredients are steeped in the solution. Then, the turkey is allowed to brine for a minimum of 12hrs. 18 hours is best, depending on the size on the bird."

Conor Hanlon, Chef de Cuisine | The Dutch

"Give stuffing a kick by adding diced Andouille sausage for a spiced up version of a Thanksgiving staple."

Cindy Hutson, Chef/Owner | Ortanique On The Mile

"You know that pumpkin roll recipe you find on the back of pumpkin can? Well, being that I am a professional chef, you don't really want to copy recipes. However, I’ve always said I wasn't a "pastry chef," so I take that recipe and change it around to a ‘Pumpkin Spiked Carrot Cake Roll’ it's really yummy and I can call it my own.”

Dena Marino, Chef/Partner | MC Kitchen

"The most most important part is the gravy!! I buy pieces of a turkey and roast the bones to make a roasted turkey gravy!! That's the most flavor! I deglaze the pan with a little bit of white wine to adds a nice flavor and cut a little bit of the richness. Remember when cooking with wine, always use something you would drink!!!"

Jose Mendin, Chef/Partner | Pubbelly

"I like to put a twist on Thanksgiving dishes with dishes that remind me of my childhood. I enjoy cooking a traditional American Thanksgiving, but I like to serve my turkey with side dishes from Puerto Rico, like arroz con gandules, baby banana escabeche, and mofongo made from either yuca, plantain, or breadfruit. Puerto Rico is also famous for the Pavochon, which is roasting your turkey like you would roast your lechon. I’ve done this a couple of times for Thanksgiving and it has been a hit with the family."

Alex Paz, Executive Chef | JW Marriott Miami

“My alternative to a boring side dish is “Sweet Potato with Ginger and Honey Butter.” I peel and cut 4 large sweet potatoes into medium sized cubes and boil for 10 minutes. In a separate pan, I add 2oz ginger and sauté for 2 minutes to release flavor. I then add 8oz butter, 4oz honey and 4oz brown sugar, and combine. Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, I add them to a separate sauté pan with 1 tbsp. olive oil, toss to coat, and allow the sweet potato to brown a little. Next reduce heat and add the butter mixture. Toss together and spoon into serving dish.”

Marlon Rambaran, Chef de Cuisine | Scarpetta

"Plan on brining your turkey three days ahead of time, then allow it to air dry for at least two days for super crispy skin." 

Jean-Luc Royere, Executive Chef | Mandarin Oriental

"Reduce your turkey brine time and save valuable space by using a whipped cream gun. 6 hours before cooking time, use needle attachment on the gun and two cartridges of CO2 to inject 1 quart brine to the turkey breast (7-8 times), as well as the thighs and legs."

Daniel Tackett, Executive Chef | Bocce

“I like to add a twist to one of my favorite side dishes – stuffing. I like to sneak in a little bit of brioche to add that extra layer of flavor - in a luxurious sort of way.”

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