The thought of Thanksgiving dinner coming up and people having to figure out how to carve the bird reminds me of two extremely helpful things:

  1. The baseline cutting trick, as demonstrated by Alton Brown in the video above from his Food Network show Good Eats. This genius carving tip makes a huge difference.
  2. Our Cuisinart CEK-40 Electric Knife. We’ve had it for about a decade, and its two blade sets work like magic on both roasted meats and breads. This makes the Cuisinart knife a multitasker — unlike the “$15 hardware store electric knife” Mr. Brown is seen using, which appears to be an older Toastmaster model, similar to the current Toastmaster 6104 Electric Carving Knife1416153426h.

Here at the Czerniec house, we roast turkeys many times each year, and we have learned that a traditional carving knife is no match for the ease and power of a good electric knife.

We have not tested other brands. We chose our Cuisinart electric knife based on the quality of their food processors. We also liked the idea of the second blade for use as an electric bread knife — an enormous help whenever you need to slice up three or four baguettes all at once for bruschetta or stuffing or croutons. We have used this knife for a good nine or ten years with excellent results.

The blades are said to be dishwasher safe, but we prefer to wash them by hand. They can be taken apart for cleaning, then easily put back together.

Alton Brown is one of our all-time culinary heroes. The turkey-carving tutorial above is taken from his 1999 Good Eats Season 1 hour-long Thanksgiving dinner special, “Romancing the Bird: A Good Eats Thanksgiving.”

How to brine a turkey

That same episode also allows us to watch Alton Brown brine a turkey before cooking, to guarantee moist and juicy perfection:

And, with tips on using an aluminum foil breast shield, plus turkey roasting temperatures and timing, here’s another helpful clip:

A complete transcript of “Romancing the Bird” is also available online, via the wonderful Good Eats Fan Page, and the special is included on the Good Eats with Alton Brown: Holiday Treats DVD.

Turkey stuffing recipe: Outside the bird

If you still want a safe and delicious Turkey with Stuffing recipe — well, as Alton Brown is fond of saying, that’s another show.

Specifically, it’s the “Stuff It” episode from 2004:

That show also featured Alton’s recipe for Stuffed Squash.

Man — I love the whole traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu, and I love Good Eats. Thank you, Alton Brown.

Update, November 18, 2010

The latest episode of Good Eats tackled a traditional Thanksgiving dessert: “American Classics IX: Pumpkin Pie” included Alton Brown’s recipes for Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Puree, and Whole Pumpkin Pie Soup.