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How to Make Sure Everything Hits the Table at the Same Time

Thanksgiving can feel like a complicated juggling act. You can rest easy with our handy little guide! Here’s how to make sure everything hits the table at the same time.

Start Timing Everything

Yes, “timing is everything,” and it couldn’t be more true than when it comes to cooking Thanksgiving dinner. It’s the only way you can ensure your different meal components are all ready at the same time.

You don’t really want to serve desserts first, then sides, then the turkey.

This is why you want to be ultra-organized. This timeline can help you stay on track through the day with a 3 pm – 4 pm dinner time.

Prep Before Thanksgiving

The most important thing you can do (other than thawing your turkey) is to do some meal prep before Thursday. Here’s a checklist:

  • Buy all your ingredients.
  • Thaw your turkey up to five days in advance. This depends on the size of your turkey.
  • Brine your turkey Wednesday morning and let it sit overnight.
  • Make pies and other desserts.
  • Cut vegetables.
  • Make casseroles and side dishes that can be made ahead. Pop them in the refrigerator and wait to cook them until Thursday.
  • Set the table.
  • Set up your drink station.

Plan the Menu

Depending on family traditions, the size of your gathering, and your favorite dishes, you want to plan your menu well in advance. We’ve put together a basic menu so you can see how the timing works out on Thanksgiving. You can, of course, swap out pieces and add your own. You can also add other dishes, too. Just remember to lay them out in your schedule.

Here’s what we’re serving:

  • Thanksgiving Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • Turkey Gravy
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Drinks

Here’s Your Timeline

    • At 7:30 am, make the pie dough and the pie filling if you haven’t already.
    • At 7:45 am, fire up your grill. Set the temperature following your pie recipe directions.
    • At 8 am, put your pie on the grill. Careful not to overcook your pumpkin pie – you don’t want it to crack!
    • At 8:15 am, start prepping your turkey. Rinse off the brine. Pat your turkey dry. Place your seasonings in the cavity and season the outside of the turkey. Put it in a roasting pan with aromatics, neck, gizzards, and a small amount of stock. Set it aside. Don’t forget to save some of the stock for the gravy.
    • At 8:50 am, you can take out your pie. Also, reduce the temperature of your grill to cook the turkey.
    • At 9 am, put your turkey on the grill.
    • At 10 am, set your table if you didn’t do it the day before. If you haven’t already done so, set up your drink station as well as your coffee station.
    • From 10:30 am to 1 pm, start prepping your sides.
      • Clean your potatoes and cut them into large pieces. Chop your garlic, or add it to your grill to roast it for your potatoes.
      • Trim and blanch your green beans in boiling water. Chop the other veggies that are going in your green bean casserole.
      • Get your stuffing ready to go. Cook the vegetables and meat that will go in it.
  • At 1 pm, you can remove your turkey from the grill as long as its internal temp reaches 160°F (will rise to 165°F while resting). Turn grill up to 350°F.
  • At 1:05 pm, you can put your stuffing and potatoes on the grill.
  • At 1:10 pm, start making your gravy after you strain the drippings. You can keep it warm once it’s done.
  • At 1:50, take the stuffing off the grill and keep it warm.
  • At 2 pm, put your green bean casserole on the grill. Right after this, take off the potatoes and the garlic.
  • Now it’s time to mix your potatoes, garlic, butter, and heavy cream and mash them well. Also, keep these warm once mixed to perfection.
  • At 2:45 pm, take your green bean casserole off the grill and turn it off.
  • At 2:50 pm, put all of your dishes on the table, followed by the turkey last. You can carve the turkey at this time.
  • At 3 pm, it’s time to eat and enjoy!

Final Thoughts on Your Thanksgiving Table

You can mark up this guide any way you’d like. It’s meant to be a starting point for your Thanksgiving feast. Now you know how to make sure everything hits the table at the same time. Good luck, and remember that preparation before Thursday is the key. Make a plan and try to stick to it.

You’ll soon find you’re enjoying the tastiest meal cooked right on your grill! Be sure and check out all of our recipes on our blog! You’re sure to find one or two you love!