Everything You Need for a Flawless Thanksgiving Turkey

The secret is reliable recipes and the right equipment.

How should I cook the turkey this year? There are so many options. Easy turkey and gravy uses a brilliant technique: preheating our favorite baking stone and top-rated roasting pan in the oven before placing the turkey in the pan, ensuring crispy skin and white meat that doesn’t dry out while the dark meat cooks. Another delicious option is to grill boneless turkey breast. The clever trick to this recipe is cooking the turkey slowly on the cooler side of the grill before giving it a quick sear to finish. Or maybe you’ll want to try our new recipe for Porchetta-Style Turkey Breast, a flavor-packed, knockout preparation that takes its name, shape, and seasonings from the iconic Italian pork roast called porchetta. Whatever method you choose, don’t risk accidentally overcooking. With our winning digital thermometer, you can be confident the turkey is cooked to the proper temperature. For more tips and tricks—including step-by-step instructions on how to carve that beautiful turkey—check out our Thanksgiving guide. Sorry, side dishes. This year the turkey is going to steal the show.

—Carolyn Grillo, Associate Editor, ATK Reviews

Pizzas emerged perfectly browned and crisp on the outside, with a tender interior, as if they were baked in a professional pizza oven. The steel also provided excellent oven spring to make our rustic bread loaf rise tall and develop a deeply browned, crackly chewy crust. While it’s a beast to lift, being absolutely flat with no handholds (but also no cutouts that waste space), this steel is tough and will last forever, providing easy cleanup—just keep it dry and oil it lightly after washing, as you would a carbon-steel or cast-iron skillet.

  More on this test

The newest instant-read thermometer by ThermoWorks is the best we’ve tested yet. It has all the features we loved in our previous favorite: a large, grippy handle; a rotating screen with large, highly legible numbers; and a backlight that goes on when viewing conditions are dim. Like the Mk4, it’s waterproof to a water depth of 39 inches for 30 minutes, it goes to sleep when not in use, and the display wakes up automatically when you pick up the entire unit. The ONE improves on the Mk4, though: As its name indicates, it takes just 1 second to measure a temperature. The backlight is brighter, and you can now use the thermometer when cooking on induction burners—the engineers at ThermoWorks have taken measures to eliminate the electromagnetic interference that sometimes occurs when you use digital thermometers with induction cooktops.

  More on this test

Our top performer carved meat with ease and sliced crusty bread better than most of the other knives, but what really set it apart were its noise level and its comfortable handle. This model was the quietest in the lineup, making it far more pleasant to use, and it was the only product that had a rounded handle with the start button located underneath. It occasionally gave us slightly ragged slices when we cut delicate breads, and we would have liked to have a case for blade storage—it was the only product that didn’t come with a storage option—but those were minor drawbacks for this otherwise high-performing model.

  More on this test

With a large, tall-sided, highly perforated strainer and a well-controlled release valve, this bottom-draining model defatted the most stock in every test. And its detachable canister made it the easiest separator to clean by hand. It did have hard-to-read measurement lines, and superficial cracks developed around the drainage hole after 10 washes and 150 times opening and closing it, though it remained leakproof. After complaints from readers about this model’s durability, we retested it and experienced no cracks or leaks during use.

  More on this test

This ball of 100 percent cotton twine tied and held foods without burning, fraying, splitting, or breaking. It made neat, even ties around braciole and whole chicken and stayed in place without slipping. Although any cotton twine might perform as well, this brand releases string from the center of the ball, letting us pay it out with no danger of it rolling off the counter.

  More on this test

Our longtime winner excelled, with uniform, steady heating and good visibility inside the saucepan to monitor browning. Its cup-shaped stay-cool handle was easy to grip, and a helper handle provided another grabbing point when the pan was full. Even after brutal whacking on concrete, this model emerged with only tiny dents inside and one slight dent on the bottom, and it still sat flat on the counter.

  More on this test

With a roomy, medium-depth basket of very fine, tight, stiff mesh, this strainer removed lots of bran from whole-wheat flour and produced silky purees. A long, wide hook allowed it to sit securely on a variety of cookware, and while its rounded steel handle was a bit less comfortable than some, it was still easy to hold. This strainer’s sturdy construction makes it worth its high price: It looked as good as new even after serious abuse.

  More on this test