GorT, like most of the rest of the Gormogons, enjoys cooking (meaning: grilling, smoking, and so forth). Several of us have shared recipes and tips in the past, but to my recollection, we haven’t discussed our choices for Thanksgiving.
Mrs. GorT’s family is big and, in the past, it wasn’t unusual for the Thanksgiving celebration to be between 35 and 40 people – family, in-laws, and close friends. As the grandkids (our kids) generation has started to grow up, the various individual families at our parents’ level have broken off into individual celebrations. GorT and Mrs. GorT are hosting again this year (we did so last year) and will be serving about 17 people. We decided for simplicity sake, that we’re going to do most of the main course. In the past, people had assignments but reheating and/or cooking them became an issue with the added travel time, cocktail time, etc. So this year, we doled out a light appetizer, desserts, and wine while keeping the main course to ourselves (minus stuffing and one side dish).
GorT will be roasting a 22# turkey and smoking a smaller turkey breast. Both will be brined starting tomorrow night. Brining is a relatively simple task provided you have the refrigerated space (or live in a cold enough climate) to do so. This year, I think I’m leaning towards an apple, candied ginger, allspice, brown sugar brine. Both turned out juicy and delicious last year so I’ll be aiming to repeat that this year. In addition, I’ll likely whip up some herbed butter to put under the turkey skin. The biggest challenge facing me for this is the timing – knowing when to start bringing the breast to room temperature before smoking and when to start each turkey is tricky to time in order to get them to finish close to each other and at the right time for dinner.
We will be serving some traditional sides: mashed potatoes (although I’m tempted to follow a recipe I saw recently for making them in a crockpot), green beans (the casserole with cream of mushroom soup and French’s onions), stuffing and spinach Madeline (a spicy, cheesy, chopped spinach casserole). Now, a small contingent enjoys sweet potatoes (there is a push by others for us to ban that name and call them yams….either way is fine with me) on Thanksgiving but we’re not fans of the sweet potato and marshmallow casseroles. GorT is still researching recipes to try but is leaning towards smoking yam wedges along with the turkey breast. Desserts will include the traditional apple and pumpkin pies and likely a few others treats.
The best part is having the large group huddled around the tables eating, talking and laughing as many other families do on this day. It is something for which I’m thankful.