Thanksgiving is the day for bringing family together to share stories, reconnect, and spend quality time with each other arguing over politics and football. Families don’t necessarily agree on everything, but there is one thing millions of people can agree on: sometimes it’s better to leave the Thanksgiving cooking (and the dishes) to the professionals.
The secret to a stress-free Thanksgiving feast is dining out at a restaurant and letting the real chefs prepare the perfect turkey and all the savory sides. As recipes for turkeys vary by family, so do the ways that cooks and chefs handle the preparation of the traditional bird. The focus for chefs in a commercial kitchen or your grandmother at home? Ensuring that the turkey is tender and full of flavor.
So how do restaurants and other foodservice operations handle cooking turkeys on Thanksgiving Day? Let’s compare the different methods:
Roasting a turkey in a conventional oven is the tried and true method for home chefs everywhere. Using a conventional oven certainly takes some patience, and generally limits kitchens to roasting turkeys one at a time.
You can deep fry just about anything, and turkeys are no different. Deep-frying a turkey is definitely one of the fastest ways to cook a turkey, although not quite the healthiest. For fans of the extra crispy variety, this is one way to go.
Grill or Smoker
Some barbecue lovers prefer smoky flavor with their Thanksgiving turkey. Grilling or smoking a turkey is less common but adds a unique spin Thanksgiving. Don’t expect to enjoy eating the skin however, as these methods can leave the outside tough to chew.
Cook & Hold
Using a Cook & Hold oven is an effective method for restaurants who prefer to do much of the Thanksgiving cooking early and not to order. Cook & Hold ovens will roast turkeys overnight, and keep them at the right temperature until they are ready to be served.
Combi ovens are ideal for busy restaurants preparing Thanksgiving meals for a number of guests. Not only can turkeys be roasted perfectly in a few short hours, but combi ovens can bake bread, steam vegetables, and cook nearly any other Thanksgiving side dish. All those functions in one unit saves space in a commercial kitchen leaving room for chefs to work efficiently all day on Thanksgiving.
Want to learn more about the capabilities of combi ovens? Join Chef Adam in the Apex kitchen for a brief demo of a combi oven as part of our Apex Video Series.
In this video, he shows us how a foodservice operation can cut cook times in half using the versatile combi technology.