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Seven Things to Think About When Ordering a Prepared Turkey Dinner

Abby Slutsky loves entertaining and enjoys hosting many family holidays. However, she does not always make everything she serves.

You still need to cook a prepared turkey and put it on a pretty serving plate.

You still need to cook a prepared turkey and put it on a pretty serving plate.

Ordering a Prepared Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving can be a lot of work for the host or hostess. A turkey can take days to defrost and hours to brine. It can be exhausting to set the table, clean the house, shop, and prepare all the fixings that go with the meal. The holiday meal is traditional, so family members and guests may be disappointed if their favorite entrees and sides aren’t served. Thus, many hosts reduce the work by ordering the food.

Keep in mind that if you order a whole prepared turkey, it will still take plenty of time to cook. Here are some things to consider when you order a prepared turkey with or without the side dishes.

1. Order Your Prepared Turkey Early

Many places are struggling to get help, especially food establishments and markets. This is not the year to order your turkey dinner a week ahead of time. Unfortunately, if you wait, you may find that the market or food establishment you are ordering your dinner from is no longer taking orders.

Not every establishment will carve a prepared turkey for you, so if that is important, ask before you order. Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

Not every establishment will carve a prepared turkey for you, so if that is important, ask before you order. Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

2. Ask If the Market Will Carve the Turkey

Some places will carve the prepared turkey for you. However, some food establishments that carved turkeys in past years are not doing it now. I have heard excuses ranging from Covid safety to the inability to get help who knows how to carve the turkey properly. If the turkey is not carved, there is no reason for this to be a deal-breaker. There is probably a guest who knows how to carve it, or you can check out an online YouTube video before you start the process.

Need more turkey? Don't worry!

Need more turkey? Don't worry!

3. Should I Order Turkey and All the Fixings or Just the Turkey?

Most of the menu offerings that I have seen make ordering the whole dinner a better value for the money. However, it all depends on whether the menu will satisfy your family.

  • Do they like vegetables?
  • Does the stuffing have items in it they don’t eat?
  • Is the dessert a treat everyone likes?
  • Does the full dinner feed the number of people you are having?
  • Will it fall on you to make everything, or will family members be happy to make a side dish or dessert?
  • Will Thanksgiving not be the same unless you eat Aunt Becky’s stuffing and grandma’s pecan pie?
  • Is the Thanksgiving menu firm, or will the market or food establishment allow substitutions?

All these considerations will help you decide whether to get a full turkey dinner or just order a prepared turkey.

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4. Ask About Your Own Cooking Responsibilities

Many places will give you time to pick up the turkey (and all the fixings if you order them). Make sure the cooking directions are included when you pick up your feast.

Turkey slices are the way to go.

Turkey slices are the way to go.

5. Keep In Mind That You Can Order Extra Turkey

Often you can purchase extra sliced turkey by the pound, so if the dinner for six is not enough, but the dinner for ten is too much food, consider ordering precisely what you need.

6. Add Some Sides

Even if you are not cooking most of the meal, consider preparing one item to give the meal a homemade touch.

For example, I like to make these "Anytime Southern Biscuits" with a Thanksgiving Day twist. Still, other people like to make a cranberry compote, a special dessert, or another family favorite that everyone thinks is a holiday essential.

7. Make a Schedule

Read the directions when you get home, and make a schedule of what time you will start cooking each item. Likely, the turkey will still need plenty of time in the oven. Preparation is the key to having your dinner timed perfectly.

Take out a serving dish and utensils for each item, and put a small piece of paper indicating what dish you are serving on each serving platter. If you have help serving, it will be easy for someone to place the cooked food on the right platter and get it to the table. You will have enough to do without directing everything.

Enjoying Thanksgiving is easy when you order your meal. It allows you more time to socialize with your guests. Try it and have a fabulous Thanksgiving with a lot less fuss.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Abby Slutsky

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