The Big Feast Is Three Weeks Away!

Thanksgiving. (The US version, for any Canadian friends who are reading this.)

My absolute, number one, most favorite meal of the year. (Okay, maybe it comes in second to any meal with my wife.) But I love cooking and eating my Thanksgiving feast.

And while I have a calorie budget and log everything I eat, this is one meal where I really don’t care. Oh, I don’t eat to the point where I am physically ill (like I used to) but I also do not avoid really good food. I log it all, and then move on.

What do I mean by good food?

Turkey. Stuffing/dressing. Mashed spuds. Sweet potatoes, but only dressed with some butter, no ridiculous marshmallows in mine, thank you very much. (Yes, I serve both tubers in one meal.) Gravy. Cranberry relish (probably the healthiest part of my meal.) Crusty bread with butter. More gravy. Maybe a vegetable, but something simple like steamed green beans.

And pies. Always the pumpkin pie, but lately I’ve added a fantastic bourbon pecan pie. And the crusts are made from scratch, using lard as the fat. The pies are served with real whipped cream or a high quality vanilla ice cream. Or both.

For beverages, I have sweet and hard ciders available, both of which go well with the meals. And coffee, hot, black and rich. I make my coffee in a stainless steel percolator (vintage early 1960s), and believe it or not, that is some of the best coffee you will taste.

But I have a dilemma. Do I roasted my turkey in the oven, like I did last year (delicious and juicy) or do I buy a smoked turkey and reheat it?

Roasting is traditional and delicious, but takes hours. The smoked turkey is equally tasty, and only needs to be warmed through.

What would YOU choose? Let me know in the comment section below.

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23 comments on “The Big Feast Is Three Weeks Away!
  1. I love Thanksgiving, and have started doing it at my house- this will be the 3rd year! I’ve roasted mine both years previous- I don’t find that it is really difficult, you just have to check on it now and again. I marinate mine for 2 days in a mix of apple cider, apples, cinnamon sticks, lemon halves, kosher salt, and star anise. It makes for the most wonderful, apple-y, smell good-ey turkey ever!

    • Yum! That sounds incredible. Now I have to decide if I am going to roast is my usual method, or your version, or a smoked turkey!?!?!? Thanks, Dana! You compounded the problem! 😉

  2. There’s just something about that bird roasting in the oven for hours I just could not give up. It’s a whole sensory thing for me. I love to smell it cooking and see it browning over time. I would like to try the whole brine method sometime. We usually have a lot to cook since we have so many people we start the night before. We usually have close to 25 people and we end up having a breast and a full turkey. Not many people eat the wings and legs, so we just carve out most of the white meat. Though we don’t waste it, the ones who do like it take it home. I may or may not be helping you here, just making myself hungry for Thanksgiving 🙂

    • Danielle, I agree, the aroma of a roasting turkey is unique and irresistable.I don’t usually cook for 25 (usually 10-12) but I have never had any complaints about the food. Thanks for the ideas!
      Trevor

  3. Lynn says:

    I’ve only done a turkey a few times, but I used a roasting bag. Took about half the time. Cut away the top of the bag for the last portion (don’t remember how long, it’s on the bag directions) to crisp the crust. You can bake roast the vegetables in the bag so they absorb bird juice. Yummy.

  4. Monica Milam says:

    Have you ever tried deep fried Turkey? Only takes about 30 minutes and very juicy. Deep fried in peanut oil ans injected with cajun spices and butter. Yummy.
    But if I’m answering your question I would say Roasted. Nothing like slow roasted Turkey and dressing smothered in Giblet Garvy!!!!!

    • I made a deep fried turkey once. I was never more afraid while cooking in my life. It was fast, delicious, easy…and a spectacle when I lowerer it in. It wasn’t carefully dried, splattered and caught fire. I wasn’t hurt, nor was the driveway. But I was a bit freaked out! Thanks for the idea, Monica!

  5. Ashley says:

    I think that you’re already planning so many sides and desserts and general accoutrements that no one will mind if you “cheat” a little on the turkey… it’ll free up your oven for the other yummy things!

    • Ashley, that is another factor. Not roasting the bird gives me more room for home made bread, desserts and other sides.

      Sigh. So many decisions!

      Thanks for the comment!
      Trevor

  6. Karen Smetak says:

    I say change it up…go with the smoked turkey. Whatever you decide, I am sure it will be delicious. I love Thanksgiving dinner also 🙂

  7. I don’t care for smoked meats so I have to say go with roasting. If room in the oven is a problem you could always cook the bird the day before, and reheat it in a bit of turkey stock (home made of course). I have done this several times when I had very large crowds and it works well.

    • Carol, that is a really good idea, I hadn’t thought of that. Excellent idea! Thanks for sharing, and I hope your Thanksgiving is incredible (as well as all the days before and after!)
      Trevor

  8. KD says:

    Spatchcock it, rub garlic, butter, salt & fresh rosemary under the skin and throw it on the (charcoal) grill with indirect heat for about 90 minutes (depends on the size of the bird: 2 small birds are better than 1 large one)… it’s fantastic! It also frees up the oven for more pie baking! : )

    • KD, oh, wow, another great idea! I have spatchcocked chickens before and they are excellent! I never thought of doing the turkey that way. And I have a rosemary bush still green and fresh (even though it gets below freezing at night) so I have plenty of that to work with.

      Hmmmm. Another option to consider. I usually make about a 12 pound bird. Would you consider that a small bird?

      Thanks for the excellent suggestion! Have a successful weekend!
      Trevor

  9. KD says:

    12 pounds will work fine. I usually rub some dried rosemary, sage, garlic powder, lemon pepper etc. on the outside too. It may take longer than 90 minutes but it’s a shorter cooking time than in the oven. Hope you give it a try! Here’s a link I just found that has a few more instructions: http://ruhlman.com/2012/06/spatchcocked-turkey/
    Have a good weekend Trevor!

    • I use a digital thermometer that stays inside the meat while cooking to give me ungoing temperature measurements. It really makes ensuring that the meat is done, but not overdone, much easier.

      If I do this, I will also add some applewood to the fire, for a nice smokiness–90 minutes isn’t enough to truly smoke it, but it is enough time to make it taste and smell incredible. Thanks for the link, KD!

    • KD says:

      We always add wood chips/chunks too whenever we grill. It does add a nice smoky essence to everything.

    • I live the way apple and cherry wood adds flavor to pork and poultry!

      Have a successful weekend, KD!

  10. Nancy Lowell says:

    Hey,Trevor, I have been tempted myself to try the smoked turkey;but being it is usually just my husband and myself,usually go traditional;I say go for it–let me know how it works out–

  11. Nancy, thanks for the reponse! I am stisll unsure how I will go, so keep watching here for more on this meal. Enjoy your weekend!
    Trevor

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