Geoffrey Zakarian Shares His Tips for a Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner at Home

Chef Geoffrey Zakarian
Chef Geoffrey Zakarian Courtesy of Geoffrey Zakarian
Thanksgiving is a time to gather round the table with family and friends.

Before that Hallmark moment of carving a golden turkey comes a morning filled with stress: What if the turkey's too dry? What if there's not enough pie for dessert? What if grandpa shows up in a MAGA hat?

Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian wants to take the stress out of Thanksgiving by giving his pro tips on how to roast a perfect turkey. The owner of Point Royal at the Diplomat  Beach Resort has also shared some pointers to elevate your holiday feast to restaurant quality.

If all else fails, you can always take the family to Zakarian's Point Royal for his special Thanksgiving brunch. From noon to 4 p.m., brunch includes a raw bar with East and West Coast oysters, pink shrimp cocktail, and ceviche; a carving station with roasted turkey, ribeye, and local fish; malted waffles; traditional sides; and an entire roomful of desserts.

Turkey tips:
  • Make sure you salt and season your turkey 24 hours in advance and let it rest, uncovered, in the fridge. This will ensure a fully seasoned bird and crisp skin.

  • Rest the turkey for two hours at room temperature before cooking. This will ensure even cooking.

  • Cook your turkey on high heat for one hour at 400 degrees. Then lower to 350 degrees for the remaining cooking time.

  • Take out the turkey when it has reached 156 degrees, then let it rest for one hour before carving. This process creates a perfectly moist turkey.
How to make your holiday meal restaurant quality:
  • For cocktails, pick two recipes and make a larger batch for each. This way, all you have to do is pour over ice and enjoy with your guests.

  • Never have an open bar at Thanksgiving. Choose the wine and cocktails beforehand to serve to your guests. As guests arrive, get a drink into their hands the moment they walk in the door.

  • Find a local bakery and have them hand-make your pies and desserts. It’s a great way to support your local business and you don’t need to stress about the dessert.

  • Ask someone who is coming if they'd mind supplying a few pies or tarts. Everyone wants to be told what to bring. It takes the pressure off you and them.

  • Make sure the lights in your dining room are slightly dimmed and there is some background music.
Thanksgiving Brunch at Point Royal. Noon to 4 p.m. Thursday, November 22, at 3555 S. Ocean Dr., Hollywood; 954-602-8750; $75 for adults includes brunch and bottomless hard cider punch; kids under 12 are $25.
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss