Holiday Cooking Tips from Kendall-Jackson’s Culinary Team

From the turkey to the dessert, our talented culinary team has all the inside secrets and tips you’ll need to make your holiday dinner the best one yet.


  • Start the day with Bourbon Balls! End the day with Bourbon Balls!
  • Bitters and seltzer are a great way to settle your stomach after your holiday feast!
  • Make sure you have enough wine, so you don’t find yourself in an embarrassing situation of running out when all the stores are closed.


  • Blind bake pie shells (bake the pie shell half way) with plastic film or foil using rice or beans —I use plastic film filled with raw beans or rice to hold the shell in place. If you just bake the shell on its own it will get bubbles and get puffy in the center. The reason why this happens is because it’s a flaky dough. During the baking process, steam pushes out from the dough causing it to get bubbly. Then pour batter in shell and bake to have the perfect crust.
  • If making biscuits or rolls, plan on making the dough the night before to have them ready in time for dinner.


  • Braise the turkey legs to keep them juicy.
  • Use more stock than you think you should in the stuffing.
  • When in doubt, consult the ‘Joy of Cooking‘.


  • Mashed potatoes are played out, make potato gratin! Use half cream and half sour cream. Slice your potatoes directly into the cream to keep them from oxidizing.
  • Use the turkey fat you skim off to make your roux for the gravy!


  • Add a small amount of roux to your baste, not enough to thicken though. As you baste, the added roux will give your turkey a crisp, flavorful skin and your gravy a head start.
  • Think outside the “turkey box” – serve some game. Venison with red wine and mushroom or Prime Rib Roast. They’re a great addition to traditional turkey.


  • Don’t forget to remove the turkey giblets that are usually packed into the neck cavity of the bird. I’ve seen them left in the turkey more than once. Remove them before roasting and avoid the embarrassment of finding them at the dinner table when you’re carving the bird in front of friends and family.
  • Brine your turkey for up to 48 hours to add flavor and to help keep the breasts from drying out. Avoid too much sugar in the brine as it will cause the bird to brown prematurely and possibly burn. 1 cup of salt to 1 gallon of liquid is a good ration for a basic brine. Add to this your choice of herbs, garlic, onions, etc. P.S. Make sure that your turkey has not already been brined.


  • For clean edges on your pie slices, dip your knife in warm water before every cut.


  • Safety first – If your turkey is frozen, take it out of the freezer TODAY, so it can thaw in your refrigerator.
  • Brine your turkey for a moist, flavorful bird.
  • Deep fry! Takes only 6 minutes per pound. Do not set the patio deck on fire!