- Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching.
- It’s just the first of several food-related holidays in the not-so-distant future.
- Don’t panic! YouTube is full of great cooking channels that will prepare you for the next few months – and maybe for the rest of your life.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The biggest food holiday of the year is nearly upon us!
With just a handful of weeks to go until Thanksgiving, I’ve been observing my annual tradition of marathon-watching cooking shows as inspiration. Unlike years past where I tuned in to the Food Network or some such, these days all the best cooking shows are online.
Whether you’re Binging with Babish, watching Matty Matheson scream around a kitchen, or going traditional with Julia Child, there are plenty of great options on YouTube to get you ready for the big day – and all the days after Thanksgiving.
These are the best of what’s available:
1. Bon Appétit’s got a whole video series dedicated to Thanksgiving this year, named “Making Perfect.”
Despite Bon Appétit sounding like a highfalutin publication aimed at monocle-wearing Daddy Warbucks types, the magazine’s video arm on YouTube is full of excellent, approachable videos that run the gamut from instructional to silly to – yes – the occasionally fancy aside.
There’s a good reason why Bon Appétit is still relevant more than 60 years after its founding: Because its writers and editors really know food, and know how to present cooking in a way that’s approachable. In short, the magazine’s YouTube channel is delightfully modern and smart. It’s also full of recipes and techniques that will give you a leg up on the big day.
And here’s the latest Bon Appétit video on roasting turkey — part of a whole series dedicated to Thanksgiving dishes:
2. Munchies, from Vice, has a great how-to from a unique chef.
Munchies is kind of like the exact opposite vibe of Bon Appétit, with a focus on chefs and attitude over more traditional “stand and stir” shows.
That said, Munchies is full of useful cooking techniques that are aimed at helping home cooks.
In the case of Thanksgiving, one particular Munchies chef comes to mind: Matty Matheson.
Maybe you’ve seen him on his excellent, often ridiculous show, “Dead Set On Life.” Or maybe you’ve seen him on his newer show, “Just a Dash.” Before he was doing any of that stuff, he was making excellent how-to videos for Vice’s food publication, Munchies.
He brings years of professional experience to his lessons, and his presentation is unlike anyone else before him.
Look no further than this video of Matheson’s Thanksgiving feast for a start:
3. Binging with Babish helps you re-create A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
Andrew Rea is the host of “Binging with Babish” and “Basics with Babish” – two excellent shows on his YouTube cooking channel.
“Binging with Babish” focuses on adapting foods from pop culture, which sounds fluffy but is surprisingly dense with useful cooking information. His take on Spaghetti Carbonara from “Master of None,” for instance, demonstrates how to make pasta from scratch, among many other useful techniques.
“Basics with Babish,” however, is even better for pre-Thanksgiving prep. It’s the kind of basics-focused cooking show that reinforces crucial foundational aspects of cooking that you’ll need for the upcoming holiday. Ever wondered why some gravies are better than others? His episode on sauces will answer your questions. As we all know, Thanksgiving is really about the gravy.
And here’s that video of Rea re-creating a classic Thanksgiving meal starring Charlie Brown and Snoopy:
4. Food Wishes combines a veteran home-cook’s sensibility with the technique of a former chef:
Chef John’s Food Wishes is my personal favourite YouTube channel about cooking. Not only does he have years of experience, but he’s a hilariously quirky man.
Moreover, Chef John’s been doing the YouTube thing longer than most in the game – his videos go back 10 years! Before that, he was doing the actual chef thing as John Mitzewich, working in kitchens for years and eventually teaching at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.
His videos range from simple to complex, American comfort food to ancient Roman throwbacks. And yes, of course, he has a ton of Thanksgiving recipe ideas and techniques for you to gobble down.
Check out Chef John’s most recent turkey prep video right here:
5. America’s Test Kitchen goes super deep on all things cooking, and Thanksgiving is no exception.
To say that America’s Test Kitchen has years of experience is to drastically undersell the vast trove of testing and publishing available through the incredible ATK YouTube channel.
They have roasted turkeys in dozens of ways, and walked through stock making, and all manner of other Thanksgiving-centric content. It’s a channel intended to teach great home cooking, and the work on Thanksgiving stuff is no exception.
Here are a trio of killer tips to keep in mind this holiday:
6. Serious Eats showcases techniques, like spatchcocking, that could make your Thanksgiving much easier.
If you’ve ever watched and enjoyed Alton Brown’s “Good Eats,” or “America’s Test Kitchen,” then Serious Eats is for you.
Frequent host and culinary director J. Kenji López-Alt takes a scientific approach to cooking that does more than offer recipes – it offers explanations. It’s those explanations that are often the strongest building blocks for new cooks. He is occasionally a bit over-the-top when it comes to devices and techniques, but it’s always rooted in logic.
Check out this time-saving tip from Serious Eats for how to “spatchcock” — or split open — your turkey:
7. BuzzFeed’s Tasty section has some killer videos.
You know Tasty, right? Everyone knows Tasty, even if they don’t intend to know Tasty. That’s because Tasty specialises in going viral – it’s BuzzFeed’s food-focused, video-only publication. You’ve no doubt seen one of their videos on Facebook if you haven’t seen them on YouTube.
When they’re not demonstrating how to make college dorm-friendly nonsense, they’re making outrageously smart and beautiful instructional videos. These videos go deep on basics of cooking, and help shepherd the uninitiated into being self-sufficient.
Look no further than last year’s excellent Turkey video for proof of that, just below. It actually convinced me to break down my turkey and roast it in parts. This is literally the video I’m using to make Thanksgiving dinner this year, just like I did last year.
Tasty’s video on roasting a turkey is second to none:
8. Yes: Julia Child
This one isn’t totally on YouTube – you’ll have to navigate to PBS.org and punch in your local affiliate station. But after you do that, you’ll have access to a glorious archive of Julia Child and Jacques Pépin cooking content.
If you’re really hurting to watch this stuff on a TV, many of the classic “The French Chef” episodes can be found on YouTube with a simple search. Additionally, many of her other shows are available on Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, and other streaming services for rental (and sometimes for free as part of your subscription).