The 5 Things Alton Brown Would Buy for Thanksgiving

updated Nov 21, 2019
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In addition to his stellar recipes, hatred of unitaskers, and science-y explanations, Alton Brown is also super well-known for all his Thanksgiving-related wizardry. Lucky for me, I’ve gotten to see AB in action leading up to many Thanksgivings: I worked for him in his Atlanta-based test kitchens for more than 10 years.

While I was on his staff, I tested recipes and helped procure tools (and ingredients) for Good Eats film shoots, those old Thanksgiving Live shows on Food Network, and more. Needless to say, I’ve gotten pretty familiar with the kitchen helpers he swears by.

These are the five things Mr. Brown would never be without while cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

1. Aluminum foil — and not the cheap stuff.

I’m pretty sure Alton once called this the duct tape of the culinary world; Heavy Duty Reynolds is the only kind of aluminum foil we ever kept in the test kitchen. You can use it for Alton’s turkey triangle, to prevent pies from browning too quickly, or just to keep the green bean casserole warm.

2. A Large Cooler or Two

Large coolers are wonderful for brining your turkey (especially if you need to utilize a cold porch as an auxiliary fridge) or for keeping hot dishes warm while guests arrive (stick a heat pad in the bottom of one for a makeshift hot box).

3. A Meat Thermometer

Not just any probed thermometer will do. No, Alton is loyal to ThermoWorks and their digital probe thermometers. Bonus: You can use a probe thermometer for far more than just turkey. In fact, you can also use it to make sure your pumpkin pie is done!

4. An Electric Carving Knife

An electric carving knife might seem like a unitasker if you’re only using it to carve a turkey once a year, but we often used them for breaking down large squash (like pumpkins) for roasting, and you can even use one for slicing stale bread for stuffing.

5. An All-Clad Roasting Pan

Alton is a big advocate for buying quality when it comes to everyday cookware. A roasting pan isn’t just for your annual Turkey or Christmas roast. You should use it for baking cheesecakes and creme brûlée too, so it is worth buying a sturdy, heirloom quality roaster for your turkey.

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