The charcuterie trend is all the rage this holiday.
Salty meats, crispy crackers, creamy cheeses and a pop of sweetness, gathered in perfect harmony on a beautiful wood board has always been a crowd-pleaser, but this year, charcuterie boards are likely to be a staple at Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.
Online searches for charcuterie are up nearly 300% in the past 12 months, according to TrendKite.
Vince & Joe’s Executive Chef Angelo Loria (winner of Hour Magazine’s 2021 Best Virtual Chef and 2020 Best Chef) is getting a lot of attention for his holiday charcuterie boards. In fact, the Hand-Carved Butcher’s Board, featuring premium meats such as prime rib, beef tenderloin and miso chicken thighs, made the front cover of Macomb Now Magazine. Chef Loria’s glammed-up charcuterie boards were also featured on Fox 2 Detroit and WXYZ Channel 7.
Charcuterie boards are great for many occasions because they’re versatile and easy to tailor for occasions and diet preferences.
If you’re putting together a board of your own, have fun with the possibilities and remember Chef Angelo’s golden rule: every item on the board should have a “wingman or woman” with it. If it’s prosciutto, you should have some parmesan and fig jam, if it’s grilled steak it could be roasted potatoes and pesto, if it’s a BBQ board and you’ve got smoked brisket, crispy onions, BBQ sauce and cheddar cheese make a great team.
Here are some more general rules to live by when constructing your charcuterie board.
Apples – pair well with most cheeses
Grapes – pair well with mozzarella and hard cheeses
Strawberries and blueberries – pair well with creamy, soft cheeses
Brine is a basic salt-and-water solution that helps your turkey retain more moisture and flavor throughout the cooking process. Giving your bird a long, luxurious brine bath is a simple way to guard against dry meat. All it takes is a little planning ahead, and you’ll have your best turkey yet. Here are some of our essential brining tips:
Be sure to choose a container that’s large enough to hold the bird and the brine. It also needs to be able to fit in your refrigerator or a large cooler.
Plan to brine your turkey for at least 24 to 36 hours.
To minimize clean-up, line a large 3-5 gallon container with an oven roasting bag. Add your turkey and cooled brine, then place the container in a fridge or cooler with ice.
Tack an additional 30 minutes onto the estimated roasting time, just to be safe. There are many variables that come into play: from the temperature of the turkey, to an inaccurate oven, to frequent opening of the oven door (which drops the temperature) and even the temperature of the stuffing.
Let the turkey rest. A rest period before carving is one of the secrets to a moist, juicy bird. The hot juices in the turkey must cool and relax back into the meat—carving it too soon could release them, resulting in a dried-out texture.
The larger the bird, the longer it can stand at room temperature without cooling off. Allow 30 minutes for an average-sized bird of about 15 lbs. and up to 1 hour for large birds around 20 lbs. With the turkey on the platter, the oven is now free for reheating sides.
Invest in a digital thermometer. If there’s one thing I would love to see in every kitchen across America, it’s an easy-to-use, digital read probe thermometer. Even if you’re just checking the proper doneness of poultry, it’s worth the investment.
Tips for a successful Thanksgiving
Write a menu and prepare a shopping list before going shopping.
If people want to bring something, let them. Do go it alone.
Mis en place!!! Prepare what you can ahead of time. That means at least 2 days before:
brining or seasoning you turkey at least
Cutting you bread for the stuffing and toasting
Cooking off rice for stuffing
Peeling potatoes and covering in water
Cutting all your vegetables that are being served, like brussels sprouts, squash, everything but the lettuce
Do make too many new recipes, one or two are plenty