Thanksgiving dinner is the most labor-intensive meal of the year for many people. If there's ever a time the kitchen needs a technological assist, this is it. We're not quite at the point where we can just program a robot with recipes and let it go to work (and really, where's the fun in that?), but the gadget world has stepped up to the challenge and created plenty of high-tech tools to help prep your Turkey Day repast. Too many, actually. Which ones will really help you cook, and which are just food trickery?
That's where we come in. After the Continue jump, read about seven kitchen gadgets that won't just impress your relatives — they really will help make your Thanksgiving more delicious. And if you don't have time to pick out kitchen toys for the holiday tomorrow, remember that all of these tools could help with a Christmas feast as well.
1. Turkey Canon ($28)
Unfortunately, the Turkey Canon won't shoot your turkey across the kitchen and onto a platter in the dining room. What it will do is prop a large bird up in the oven in the name of all-around roasting goodness and crisp skin, and fill its insides with a liquid of your choice. Just fill the canon with beer, wine, soda or water. Then once you're turkey is propped up on it and in the oven, the steaming liquid will keep your turkey moist and delicious. Just don't expect there to be room for stuffing.
2. Stuffing Cage ($10)
Speaking of stuffing, if you decide against substituting beer for croutons and celery but have always had trouble getting the tasty stuff into and out of the turkey, you may want to invest in a stuffing cage. This odd-looking contraption allows you to cook stuffing inside a turkey without all the messy scraping and scooping. We're not entirely convinced that the cage would create easier or tastier stuffing. But serving stuffing from a cage (especially if it were in a free-range bird) on the dining room table does seem like a good way to intimidate the family, or at the very least to trigger some free-range turkey conversations.
3. Turkey Fryer ($60)
If you don't want to steam your turkey from the inside out using a canon and don't really like stuffing, you might consider deep-frying your turkey whole (all the cool kids are doing it). Of course, dropping an enormous bird into a vat of boiling oil can be dangerous and result in a serious amount of smoke — you'll probably want to do it outdoors. Keep yourself safe and your bird crispy with a 30-quart Turkey Fryer Kit, which comes complete with an enormous stock pot, outdoor propane gas cooker, thermometer, seasoning injector and a rack for lowering the turkey safely into the bubbling fat.
4. Electric Knife ($50)
Electric knives are a bit of a throwback — these days, high-end Japanese knives that don't need to be recharged are all the rage. But an electric knife like this Cuisinart-brand one can still impress, and is actually far less expensive than a fancy non-electric carving set. And though you might not bring out the old electric knife for Monday night chicken breasts, electric knives are apparently useful year round for other household tasks like cutting cardboard and rubber and Styrofoam.
5. Talking Remote Thermometer ($60)
If you do decide to roast your turkey the old-fashioned way in an oven, keep in mind that the remote meat thermometer is the new baby thermometer. Just stick a probe into the turkey before it goes in the oven, snap the belt-hook monitor onto your pants and go watch the game in the living room. When the turkey's done, the monitor will tell you — not with beeping but in English — that your bird's innards have reached the optimal temperature. Since the wireless thermometer has a 300-foot range, you don't even need to be in the house while the turkey cooks.
6. Robot Coupe Bread Cutting Machine ($2,800)
This one's an outlier. Unless you're hosting a cast of thousands for the holiday, you're not going to need a $2,800 French bread slicer. But if you did have one, you sure could slice a lot of baguette for the bread basket quickly — the manufacturer claims the coupe can chop off 180 slices per minute. We're just happy to know that this machine exists as an option for the very rich and the very lazy (or, you know, huge catering companies).
7. Pie Gate ($6)
On the other end of the price spectrum is the pie gate. You may want to break with tradition by frying your turkey, but when it comes to dessert, we think it's best to stick to the basics: Pie, pie and more pie. Preferably pumpkin. And just in case you and the family don't finish it all in one sitting, keep the pie's filling in place for the next day with a pie gate. This helpful and inexpensive gadget assures that the slice of pie you consume for breakfast the next morning will be as neat and attractive as it would if it came from your local diner.
Of course, these aren't the only kitchen gadgets that will be useful for Thanksgiving. If you forget to put the turkey in the oven until the last minute you could use the NuWave Oven Pro. Plus, we'd recommend smelling the turkey to make sure it's fresh with this Sensor Fresh wand, procuring corn for succotash with this corn stripper, and passing butter round the table in a one-click butter slicer.