It's no secret around here that I am a little over the top when it comes to Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday. I go into more on that in my 'List of Reasons Why Thanksgiving Is The Best Holiday." But for now, let's focus on the fact that properly cooking a turkey is a right of passage into adulthood.

Hosting your first Thanksgiving is like announcing to everyone, "Hey, I'm an adult now and I can pull this off!" Then, prepare to have your in-laws judge you while you nervously sip whine and watch as people eat your food.  It truly is a right of passage and once you get through your first, you're fine.

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I remember our first turkey my wife and I roasted. We decided we were so burned out on traveling the prior year to every holiday that we were going to pick one where we didn't leave our house. The tradition was born of Thanksgiving at our place. We did our first turkey in the traditional roasting method. It turned out great. At the end of the night as I was cutting up leftovers, I found the giblet package still in tact inside the bird.  Oops.  Mistakes happen, and as long as the meat is cooked thoroughly, no harm done.

It can be a little overwhelming at first. It's a large meal and it takes plenty of preparation.  You are also cooking poultry for family and friends, and you don't want to make them sick. But it's not something to be scared of.  In fact, it's pretty easy if you follow the steps. There's always been the butterball turkey talk line to help you out. They also have plenty of information on their website to help you out. With the internet and YouTube, there is endless resources on what you need to do. It's really never been easier.

The hardest part sometimes is the simple act of thawing a turkey. It takes a long time to thaw a frozen bird. You could always get a fresh turkey, but even those sometimes can be still partially frozen, and they are more expensive.  Plan on 24 hours of thawing time in the refrigerator for each 5 pounds of bird. 15 pound turkey= 3 days in the refrigerator.  Do not try to thaw it quickly on the counter or anything else. That's a recipe for food poisoning. If you need to speed it up you can try the cold water bath method.

Over the years now I've roasted, deep fried, and charcoal grilled a turkey. Once you get the first one under your belt, you'll find the confidence to pursue your favorite prepared turkey.

And, if you've got a small group and you're still nervous, just try a turkey breast to start.

Good luck, and Happy Thanksgiving!