Barbecuing at Thanksgiving
You may not associate a barbeque with Thanksgiving, but since we always smoke a turkey
for the big day, we include it here.

Plus, it is a great time to cook and spend time with family and friends while you do it - one of the
very definitions of a successful barbecue in or book!

So we will go through a few of the things we like make and we hope you have the same great
results with your turkey day that we do with ours.
As usual, our day starts with the smoker. This Thanksgiving
we used a smaller version, just big enough for a our 15 lb bird.

This small smoker is similar to our larger smoker in that the
fire box is in the bottom of the vertical cooking tube, and the
firebox is separated from the cooking rack by a water bowl.

There is only one cooking rack on this version, and the
cooking space is actually the area underneath the domed top.

There are no vents to adjust on this model - the air enters from
the bottom and exits from the crack between the domed top
and the barrel of the cooker. This can make it a bit more
challenging to keep the heat consistent.

The unit does have a gauge, although instead of an actual
temperature reading in degrees, the need points towards an
area that has words that progress from "too low" to "ideal" to

There is a door to access the coals and the water bowl, and
note that this door gets VERY hot and you will want to use
some protection for your hands before you handle it.

This smoker is pretty inexpensive, and as you can tell from the
descriptions here of its features, there is not much in the way
of fancy controls or hardware.

BUT - and this is the point I REALLY want to make - this
cooker makes a wonderful turkey for our Thanksgiving meal,
proving that a good barbecue does not need to be an
expensive endeavor - quite the opposite, it can be done on a
very economical budget.
So no excuses!
So we get the smoker going using a combination of lump charcoal, a little bit
of hickory wood, and a little bit of cherry wood. We chose not to use too much
hickory since it can be such a powerful flavor.

Meanwhile, we pull out our turkey that has been brining overnight. You can see
it just surfacing in the picture (

We pat the dry, and then rub it with some olive oil, fresh ground black pepper,
kosher salt, and a little bit of parsley
After adding the spice to the surface of the bird we pack it full of stuffing. This year I
used one I call "Applcot Checan Stuffing", recipe below.

Stuffing the turkey will mean you need to cook it a little bit longer, but I love to do it. I
also will make a dressing that I cook in the oven. I especially love a classic bread
dressing and have put that recipe here as well.
After the turkey is in the smoker I generally turn my attention to breakfast for everyone. I like to serve the big meal late in
the afternoon - a typical "Dinner" time - and so having a big breakfast and a small group of mid-day appetizers gets us to the
grand finale. (Plus you don't have to get up as early to get the turkey on as you would if you were serving it for lunch!)
Note that the bird is sitting in a foil
I like to smoke it exposed this way
for about 75 minutes, and then will take
all of that foil and fold it up around the
bird and smoke it the rest of the time
under the foil.

I still get the golden brown color and
end up with a very juicy bird
This year I made a simple breakfast casserole of eggs and
sausage, some biscuits, and some pumpkins.

You have a slice of this casserole, plus a biscuit or two and a
muffin and you should be pretty much set for eating for quite a

You can see a picture of the casserole at right as it finishes
cooking in the oven. I like to do mine in a large cast iron skillet,
though a good baking dish does the trick as well.
Here are the
biscuits as
they get ready
to go in
A tasty start to the big day!
For the mid-day snacks there are any number of wonderful
holiday type things you can put out. Vegetable dips a good, as
are cheeses, cheese dips, cheese balls - I like cheese!

I usually try to cook a couple of hot things as well. Not only are
they excellent foods, I am convinced that the heat helps reduce
the appetite faster that similar amounts of cold food (no science
here, just a hunch), and at the proverbial end of the day you
want to make sure your guests a hungry for the main meal.

I usually will make one thing that is a bit different and
challenging, both to cook and for the guests to try, and then
more of a staple food that I know young guests, and those with
limited palates or adventurous streaks, will eat readily.

This year that meant crock cooking some simple meat balls in
a good barbecue sauce, and then crafting some crab and
artichoke tarts. Both were well received.
Then came time for the big moment, the big dinner, and you can see how our noble bird turned out in the pictures here. It
truly was a treat, with the brining solution and the slow smoking combining to yield a tender, juicy bird.

Look below for recipes of some of the other dishes that I served and feel free to try them yourselves. I hope they work as well
for you and your crew as they did for mine!
Getting ready to be garnished, the turkey
takes it place on the dining room table.
Egg & Sausage Casserole        

1        Skillet, cast iron, well seasoned, large
12        Eggs, very large
1 cup        Cheese, cheddar, sharp, shredded
1/2 cup        cream, regular or half-n-half
4        bread, slices
1 lb        Sausage, Jimmy Dean regular
1 tsp        dry mustard

Lightly beat eggs and cream in large bowl        
Add shredded cheese and dry mustard to
Shred Bread into large (1-2 in.) chunks,         
add bread to egg mixture, set aside        

Brown sausage in large skillet, crumbling as
When browned, add egg mixture to skillet.
Stir lightly to mix sausage with eggs
Place skillet into 375`F preheated oven
Bake until firm throughout, about 15 minutes

Remove from oven and allow to sit, covered
cloth, for 10 minutes

2 cups        flour, all purpose
1 tsp        salt
3 tsp        baking powder
1 tsp        baking soda
5 TBLSP        butter, unsalted
7/8 cup        plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 450`F        
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.        
Cut butter into pieces, and blend         
into mix by rubbing dry mix        
between fingers with butter, dropping    
back into mix when blended.        
Stir in yogurt until mixture forms
a ball. Turn dough out onto large
floured surface and kneed 10 times.
Press to 3/4" thick. Cut into 2"
rounds with open cutter.
Bake 7-9 minutes.
Pumpkin Muffins        

3/4 stick         butter, unsalted
3/4 cup        sugar
1/2 tsp        salt
3 tsp        baking powder
2 cups        flour, all purpose
2        eggs, very large
1/2 tsp        cinnamon
1 cup        pumpkin, cooked and
1/4 cup        milk, 2%, if needed

Preheat oven to 400`F        
grease muffin pan with butter        

Use standing mixer or wooden spoon to
cream together
the butter and sugar.
Mix the salt, baking powder, and flour.
Beat the eggs with the milk and pumpkin
Add 1/3 of dry ingredients to the butter
mix, and
moisten with pumpkin mix. Repeat until
all is mixed.
Spoon batter into muffin pan. Pour 1/4
cup water
into unused cups. Bake 20-30 minutes
Crab Tarts        

4 oz        cream cheese, softened
2 TBLSP        sour cream
2 TBLSP        Cream, heavy
1 TBLSP        parsley, chopped Italian flat leaf
1 TBLSP        lemon juice
1/2 tsp         cayenne pepper
1/2 cup         Brie, shredded
2 med        onion, green, chopped
8 oz        crab, lump
4 oz        artichoke hearts, marinated, chopped
1 box        puff pastry

Preheat oven to 350.        
Combine cream cheese, sour cream, cream,
parsley, lemon juice, cayenne pepper        
Brie and green onions in mixer with paddle
Cream well and remove from stand        
Gently fold in crab meat and artichokes        
Season to taste        

Gently thaw puff pastry and lightly flour both
and work the surface        
Roll out puff pastry 1 to 2 inches per side        
Cut out 2" circles with pastry ring        
Place circles on baking mat        
Spoon about 1 TBLSP of crab mixture into
center of         
Bake 15-20 minutes until golden        

Makes 30 tartlets
Smoked Turkey        

1        Turkey, whole, gutted hollow
10 feet        butcher's twine or string
turkey lifter
3 TBLSP        Butter
1 TBLSP        Pepper, black, coarse
1 TBLSP        Salt, Kosher
1 cup        Salt, table

30 minutes per pound before
take pot large enough        
to hold turkey under water and fill 1/2
full with         
water. Dissolve salt into water.        
Place turkey in water until covered,
and place         
overnight in refrigerator        

Approx. 45 minutes before cook time,
Turkey from water, and allow it to
warm for
30 minutes to room temperature

Stuff Turkey with dressing

Bind Turkey with twine - legs in
particular, and
create some sort of harness to allow
turkey to
be lifted

Rub entire outer surface of turkey
with butter
or olive oil.
Sprinkle surface liberally with salt &

Place Turkey in smoker
Applcot Checan Stuffing        

8 oz        Baguette, day-old, or other bread -
NOT sourdough
1/4 cup        Apple Jack Brandy
1/2 cup        Apricots, dried
1/2 cup        Cherries, dried
1/2 cup        Pecans, toasted, chopped coarse
2 TBLSP        Onion, grated
1 TBLSP        Thyme, fresh
2 lg        Egg
1/2 cup        Cream, heavy
1 clove        Garlic, minced
2 TBLSP        Parsley, chopped fine
Pinch        Cayenne pepper
Pinch        Cumin, ground
Pinch        Coriander, ground

Place dried fruit in brandy to hydrate for about
15 minutes. Strain and        
reserve brandy for glaze, if using        
Tear baguette into small pieces and place
food processor with        
steel blade and run until fine        
Combine all dry ingredients and mix well        
In separate bowl beat eggs and whisk in
Combine all ingredients and mix well in bowl
Classic Bread Dressing        

1-1/2 sticks        Butter, unsalted, plus
extra to grease dish
5        Celery ribs, chopped fine
2        onions, med, minced
1/2 cup        parsley, flat Italian, minced
3 TBLSP        sage, fresh, minced(or
2tsp dried)
3 TBLSP        thyme, fresh, minced(or 1
tsp dried)
1 TBLSP        marjoram, fresh,
minced(or 1tsp dried)
3 lbs        bread, white, sandwich, dried
& cubed
5 cups        broth, chicken, low sodium
4        eggs, very large, slightly beaten
2 tsp        salt
2 tsp        pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Melt butter in a
12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the celery and onions and cook
until softened, about 10 minutes.         
Stir in the parsley, sage, thyme and
marjoram and cook until fragrant,         
about 1 minute. Transfer to a very
large bowl.        

Add the dried, cooled bread, broth,
eggs, salt and pepper to the        
vegetables and toss to combine. Turn
the mixture into a buttered         
10 by 15-inch baking dish.        

Cover with foil and bake for 25
minutes. Remove the foil and continue
to bake until golden, about 30 minutes
Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Can be made up to 24 hours early;
follow all directions,         
cover tightly with plastic wrap and
Let stand at room temperature for 30
minutes before baking as above.
Butternut Squash Casserole        

3 cups        Squash, butternut, cooked and
mashed (2-3 lg squash)
1/2 cup        Condensed Milk, sweetened
2        Eggs, very large, beaten
1/2 cup        butter, unsalted, softened
2 tsp        vanilla extract
1/2 cup        cream, heavy whipping
1 cup        sugar, white

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees
C). Butter one 2 quart         
casserole dish.        
Blend together the butternut squash,
sweetened condensed milk,         
eggs, butter, vanilla, cream and sugar.        

Pour into prepared casserole dish and bake
at 350 F
for 30 to 45 minutes or until set and edges
begin to bubble.

Prepare a topping if desired by combining 1
cup brown sugar,
1/3 cup flour, 1/3 cup butter
and 1/2 cup chopped nuts. Mix together and
sprinkle over squash
before baking.
Pumpkin Spice Cake        

2 cups        Flour, all purpose
1 TBLSP        Baking powder
1/4 tsp        Baking soda
1 tsp        salt
1 tsp        cinnamon
1/4 tsp        nutmeg
1/4 tsp        ginger
1/2 cup        butter, unsalted, softened
1 cup        sugar, dark brown, firmly packed
1/2 cup        sugar, white granulated
1        egg, very large
3/4 cup        pumpkin, cooked and mashed
1 tsp        vanilla
3/4 cup        Buttermilk
1 cup        cream, heavy whipping
2 TBLSP        sugar, white granulated
Nutmeg and cinnamon for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and
flour two 8-inch cake pans         

Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking
soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger        

Sift together the butter, brown sugar and
granulated sugar until light and fluffy,         
scraping the bowl during mixing. Add the egg
and continue creaming until light.        
Add the pumpkin and vanilla until
Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk
alternately to the pumpkin mixture,         
beginning and ending with the flour mixture.    
Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for
30-35 minutes, until the cake         
springs back from the center when touched.
Let the cakes cool in the pans
on racks for 10 minutes before releasing.
Cool completely.
Top, if desired, with Spiced Chantilly Cream.

Spiced Chantilly Cream

8 ounces heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Nutmeg and cinnamon for dusting

Using very cold beaters and bowl, whip the
heavy cream on high speed of
an electric mixer until it reaches a soft peak.
Reduce the speed to medium
and add the sugar slowly. Continue beating
until desired peaked is reached.
Do not over whip

Cut the 8-inch cakes into two layers each. Ice
each layer with the Chantilly Cream,
but leave the sides of the cake uncovered.
Mound the top layer with a large
dollop cream and dust with the nutmeg and
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