Dec 4

Thanksgiving wrapup

Posted by Matty

While we couldn’t get back home for Thanksgiving this year, we quickly put together a wonderful meal with friends.

We decided to have an orphan’s Thanksgiving, and invite everyone we knew that wasn’t going to be spending time with family. We had a fantastic time, and some tasty food ta’ boot.

The rules of ‘Orphan’s Thanksgiving’ are simple. We provided the meat, drinks, and some side dishes. Anyone who shows up should bring a dish to share that is “required eating for Thanksgiving.”

Everyone has very different ideas of what is a “must have.” Even Nanc and I have different dishes that are requirements for Thanksgiving. Nanc’s is Brussel sprouts (yuck!) and mine is green bean casserole (nanc – bleghk!).

Meat-wise, we did both ham and turkey. The ham was a Honey Baked Ham©, and we waited for about an hour to pick it up on Wednesday afternoon. If there was ever a ham worth waiting for, it is a honey bake spiral ham. I drool as I write this. (Yes, even after a week of eating leftover ham.)

The turkey was a basic Butterball from the grocery, on the small side, about 11-12 pounds. I needed it small because of the way I wanted to cook it. It turned out delicious and moist, and looked much like a turkey that you see on TV. Without tooting my own horn too much, this turkey was so tasty.

It’s also the first turkey that I’ve been responsible for cooking in several years. I’ve written a lot of detail about the prep at the bottom of this article, mainly so I can look it up when I make turkey next year.

We had a wonderful time visiting with our friends, and had a good meal with all the fixin’s. Cathie and Stan brought a number of dishes, including a tasty almond dessert called almendrada, a homemade potato salad, and a popcorn salad.

Yes, I said popcorn salad. From what Cathie told me, the recipe was invented on a dare. It tasted pretty good. It had bacon in it. Need I say more?

Nancy L., Dirk, and Nancy’s Dad J.L. also came for dinner, and brought the very necessary mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.

Ming came and brought a wonderful fresh fruit tart from La Madeleine.

After dinner, we had a few more stragglers show up for dessert and video games. We had a great time, and so very much to be thankful for.

Origins of green bean casserole

I thought I would add this little footnote in. File this into the category of useless knowledge. Contrary to popular belief, the Pilgrims and Indians did not eat green bean casserole at the first Thanksgiving. Actually, green bean casserole comes straight from the better-living-through-science 1950’s.

According to Wikipedia, GBC was invented at the Campbell’s Soup test kitchen in 1955 by a woman named Dorcus Reilly. The recipe was specifically devised to “promote the use and increased purchase of the company’s products.” Pretty sneaky…

Turkey prep in detail

I got up about 6 a.m. to brine the turkey. The brine was a combination of water, orange juice concentrate, brown sugar, kosher salt, ice, and spices. The turkey stayed in the briny bath for about 6 hours. I probably would’ve added turkey stock to the brine, but I didn’t have any.

Around noon, we pulled the bird out of the salt bath, dried it off, and made a quick rub of more kosher salt, grub rub, and poultry seasoning. Then we trussed up the turkey, put a couple of oranges, an apple, and some rosemary in the cavity, and speared it onto a rotisserie.

The grill was all set up and ready to go, at about 300 degrees. I used the burners on the edges, so that the turkey was only exposed to indirect heat. I added some foil woodchip packets (applewood, natch), and let it spin for about 3 and a half hours. Whenever I got bored, I would baste the turkey with some melted butter. Tasty? You betcha!

2 Responses to “Thanksgiving wrapup”

  1. Jen da Purse Ho Says:

    awww…good times! i’m sorry I missed it!! 🙂

  2. rachel Says:

    can I just say, YUM!

    ps: I loves me some GBC