Cooking Thanksgiving for 35 people

I'm cooking for 35 people, and struggling to decide what to make!
Will 1 20-24 lb turkey be enough? I was thinking I could also make a ham (or two) maybe a side of salmon. Is this too much or too little!!? I want to make it as stress free as possible! I also want to make a few sides (spinach pumpkin quinoa salad, braised parsnips, truffle mash and chipotle sweet potatoes Thanks in advance!! :)

Señora Hughes


arcane54 November 16, 2013
For either of your dinners, if you have the ability to use a kettle grill to cook your turkey-- I highly recommend it! Weber has great directions on their website and the turkey comes out with a smoky flavor that's incredible. This also frees up your oven for the all-important side dishes. I agree with others that a few good side dishes are all that's needed. You could also buy one pre-smoked turkey that just needs to be reheated and bake the other as usual -- more choices! Good luck! Our community hosts a Thanksgiving for our homeless neighbors and those without family close-by and they feed over 800 people! Quite a feat (and definitely one to be taken on by the pros!). Donations of warm clothing are put out for those who may face the winter months outside. The culinary program at our community college starts cooking the week before and it's a great sharing event. have fun with YOUR big dinner!
shindig November 15, 2013
I've done several different kinds of large-scale dinners. I agree with the earlier post - making more of a few things is easier. To increase hold time, you can place hot food into a thermal cooler (I use half pans of the same menu item stacked in each cooler) or rent a warmer or get creative with an electric roaster or crock pot, but be careful to honor food safety rules on storing food and checking temperatures.
Monita November 15, 2013
I roast 4 turkeys in a home oven but split them in half so I'm not roasting them whole. The turkeys will keep warm for an hour outside of the oven if loosely covered with foil
Señora H. November 15, 2013
Great,thanks for the advise.
If I'm honest I'm cooking it x 3!! We are doing a thanksgiving pop up restaurant Tues/ Weds/ Thurs- So tackling it all between 2 of us!
I was then thinking of making all the sides for 3 days in one go (if possible!)
Any tips on keeping the smaller turkeys at a nice temperature until the dinner? (I don't have room in the oven for 2 at a time!)

Suggestions of your fave food52 make ahead serve a crowd sides appreciated!
Monita November 15, 2013
I cook a Thanksgiving dinner for 60 people (for a charity) and I find that making a lot of fewer things is easy. I do it all in one day but it is easier if you can do it in stages. I would suggest roasting two smaller turkeys rather than one large one. They will cook faster. Add the ham if you can cook the day before or have a lot of oven space.I think Salmon is lovely but will require a last minute cooking unless you are poaching it, which could be done in advance. Potato dishes are good choices because you can make those in advance and re-heat easily. Consider other side dishes that can either be prepped a day ahead and then cooked day of, or made entirely a day or two before. Sides/salads that can be served cold or at room temp are also good options. Can't go wrong with a cranberry relish on Thanksgiving. Bake stuffing outside the turkey also for faster roasting.
Bevi November 15, 2013
Wow! Good for you! Your plan sound great. Are some of your guest bringing sides and desserts?
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