10 Last-Minute Thanksgiving Tips

Things you may need to know for the Great Feast tomorrow, courtesy of the Chowhounds:

Slow-roast your turkey: "It was the Amish who solved the food safety problem and the disappointing skin problem in one fell swoop: Start the turkey in a hot oven and then turn it down before the meat gets hot enough to start losing moisture or toughening up. I cooked this year's 20-ish pound work-turkey at 450 for an hour, then 250 for 7 hours. It was...beyond words: picture-perfect brown on the outside (I didn't take a picture, because I am dumb) and just shy of fall-apart tender on the inside: you could slice it into nice-looking pieces, but you could cut it with a fork once it was on your plate." - jvanderh

Make a kosher roux: "I generally make my roux with olive oil. Butter is not a necessity. Other vegetable oils would work as well. You can also thicken gravy with cornstarch or arrowroot." - lawhound05

Bring Thanksgiving side dishes on the plane: "I have flown with items needing to be chilled. Just put the stuffing in a plastic bag, surround with ice in a small cooler. Never had a problem, even post-9/11." - pikawicca

Packaged lard pie-crusts: "Anti-trans fat hysteria has finally swung the pastry pendulum back into the pro-flavor camp—the box of these Safeway-branded, refrigerated crusts proudly proclaims '0% trans fat!' Their secret? Lard! The crusts come rolled up and are easy to handle. They're less flaky than a good butter crust (or, for that matter, the Trader Joe ones I use when I'm short on time), but they're tender and flavorful." - daveena

The advantages of turkey-in-a-bag: "Although I've tried other methods of roasting a turkey over the years, I always returned to the Reynolds bag. As Kelli says, contrary to what one might presume, not only is the meat very moist but the skin is gloriously crispy. As she also notes, the pan juices don't evaporate, they accumulate in the bottom of the bag." - JoanN

Gravy without drippings: "Remove the package of giblets and chop them up. Remove the wings. Few people want those anyway—you can always just remove the tips of the wings if you want to fry the other half. Remove (cut off) the 'flaps' from the neck cavity and large cavity. Saute in olive oil, then put in a pot with enough chicken stock (water as a substitute) to cover. Add chopped veggies of choice. Boil for about 30 minutes. Remove the skin pieces and the wing pieces. Purée the giblets and veggies. A stick hand blender works good for this. Put it all back into the pot with a pat of butter and use it to make a gravy. Strain before serving." - todao

When to make the pies? "The best hint I got about pies is to bake them in advance and have them at room temperature. When the turkey comes out of the oven, turn it off, put the pies in and the residual heat will heat them in time for dessert. Pumpkin pie stays on the counter, no refrigerating." - chowser

Baste or not? "My issue with basting is that the frequent opening of the oven allows heat to escape, which makes the oven temp fluctuate and increases cooking time, in kind of an unknown way. I much prefer to air dry the bird in the fridge, at least overnight, and place herb butter under the skin, especially over the breast meat. Blast at 450 for about 30 mins, then lower oven to 375 and finish cooking. Restaurant chefs do not baste roasting birds, except at the very end and only with pan drippings." - hotoynoodle

Making green beans ahead: "Beans are fine to blanch and shock a day or two ahead. I wrap them in a kitchen towel after draining and store in the crisper." - gourmanda

Serving soup at Thanksgiving dinner: "Sometimes I do very small cups of an intense cream of mushroom soup. Always a hit." - eight_inch_pestle

Image source: CHOW.com