Last year, we went home for Thanksgiving and spent the holiday with our parents (they live 15 mins apart!). It was great because we just had to bring one dish (green bean casserole- my favorite!!!) while our parents did the rest of the cooking. But since our work schedules didn’t line up so well this year, we weren’t able to make it home, which meant we would be cooking our very first Thanksgiving meal!!!
We aren’t into huge, extravagant meals- we like just the basics. So even though I slept in until almost noon, we still got all our dishes done in time for dinner. The night before, I brined our turkey. We didn’t really follow any specific recipe (I tend to treat recipes more like guidelines anyway)- just filled up our biggest crockpot about half full of water, added maybe 1/2 cup of salt (I’m really not a big fan of salt, but I wanted to make sure our turkey was juicy and flavorful), 1/2 cup of brown sugar, a generous splash of lemon juice, and several pinches of allspice, rosemary, sage, thyme and cracked peppercorns that I ground up in our super-awesome pestle and mortar!
Then we plopped the the turkey in the stoneware, added enough water to cover it entirely, and popped it in the fridge where it sat overnight.
In the morning, I took it out of the fridge, rinsed it off and brushed it with a baste of butter, rosemary and thyme.
I also brushed the baste on the grill grate and tied the turkey’s wings in before putting the turkey on. You can maybe see in the picture below, but the coals are split in half and a drip pan is under the turkey to catch those yummy drippings for gravy! (actually, I don’t eat gravy, I think it’s gross, but my husband likes it for putting on reheated turkey)
And a gratuitous shot of the of tongs…
Our turkey was only 7 lbs, so it was done in about 2.5-3 hours. While it was grilling, we made the rest of the fixins: mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, green bean casserole, rolls, gravy and for dessert: a mini lemon bundt cake!
True story: We traditionally make my mom a chocolate bundt cake each year for her birthday. But when I was younger, I thought they were called bump cakes, and kept referring to the cake as a bump cake, and my dad, who’s usually very laid back and easy-going, thought I was doing it on purpose to irk him and started getting frustrated with me. Needless to say, I quickly learned the right term! …kinda like the time I was trying to open something and couldn’t quite get it so I loudly stated that I needed ‘more cleavage’… yeah…
Anyway… here’s the delicious turkey, all cooked up!!!
And the rest of the spread:
And because no feast is complete without the traditional, taking-the-first-bite picture:
And yes, our turkey does have a neck… but for the record, that grilled turkey was AMAZING!!!!! Next year we will grill a bigger one, or maybe 2 little ones, because I want the meat to last FOREVER!!!
So how was your Thanksgiving? Any fun family traditions? What’s your favorite way to make turkey? How long do your leftovers last?