By Hadas Kuznits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Thanksgiving is just a few days away and for many, preparation for the big meal will be happening all week long.

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Richie Furino, General Manager at Del Frisco’s in Center City says, when it comes to preparing the turkey for Thanksgiving, take your time.

“The holy trinity of cooking a turkey: first thing is you want to thaw it as slowly as possible. If you’re not buying a fresh turkey, which I do recommend, if it is a frozen bird, you want to — three days before Thanksgiving or the day you want to cook it — it needs to come out in the refrigerator. The slower the thawing process, the more juice it’s going to retain, the better it’s going to be.”

Listen to Hadas Kuznits’ full interview about Thanksgiving cooking tips in this CBS Philly podcast:

After you’ve thoroughly thawed out your turkey, brined it and dressed it, it goes into the oven. And he says make sure you get it in there early.

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“When it does go into the oven, you want the heat initially to be very high.  Just like we do if we’re cooking a rib roast or anything like that, the first half hour is at 500 degrees, you get a nice sear, it kind of locks everything in and then you turn it down to 350 and cook it the rest of the way.  You’re looking for an internal temperature of about 161.”

By the time you get to the big day, he says your sides should already be prepped.  You also want to make the most out of your precious kitchen and dining room real estate.

“The big thing is first you want to clear off all the counters and the dining room table, the kitchen table, everything is now a work space.”

And if there’s a new family member or friend joining you, find out about their childhood holiday dishes. Make something they remember, or ask them to bring it.

“I love how food can bring you back to a place and time.”

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