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There's a First Time For Everything

Back in August, I gave a little insight into how I grew up celebrating Thanksgiving.  Here's a little reminder, just in case you're new to my site...

That, my friends, is a very large barbeque pit filled with around thirty turkeys...but before you start thinking that each of those turkeys is consumed by my small family, let me offer a brief explanation.

As far back as I can remember, my family has always BBQ'd our Thanksgiving turkey.  Originally, it started as a family-only event.  On the eve of Thanksgiving, my immediate family, along with my grandma & grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins would drive out to the ranch of a family friend who allowed us to use their BBQ pit for our turkeys.

All of the cousins would crowd into the back of my grandpa's pickup truck--all bundled up in our warmest winter jackets (which in AZ isn't saying much)--for the 15 minute commute to the pit.  Because we were young and juvial, we'd sing Christmas carols as loud as we could the entire way.

Ahhhh...those were the days!

What the family didn't realize was that each year, when we made the trip down to the family friend's BBQ pit, my dad was falling secretly in love with the BBQ process.  In fact, he fell so madly in love with BBQ'ing Thanksgiving turkeys that he decided to bring the experience closer to home...and when I say closer to home, what I mean is to our home...as in, our backyard...and that friends, is what you see in the picture above!

Needless to say, when people find out you've got a big BBQ pit in your backyard, word travels fast...and before we knew it, we were BBQ'ing Thanksgiving turkeys for several families in the community.  Year-after-year, my parents home on Thanksgiving Eve has looked like the Wal-Mart parking lot at Christmas time, but sadly, this year will be much different.

Like I said...there's a first time for everything...

This year, my mom and dad made the decision to cancel the BBQ because of some unplanned family events.  It was a difficult choice for them to make, but I guess it was bound to happen at some point.

Though I'll miss that BBQ'd turkey, I'm happy to report that I will be hosting the family Thanksgiving this year in lieu of the BBQ!  Again...a first time for everything!  I've only made one attempt at cooking Thanksgiving dinner, so this should be pretty interesting.  Thankfully, there will be helping hands around, so hopefully I won't go too far off course.

But I need all of the help I can get...and so, I'm asking for recipes, tips, and advice.  Anything you can give me, I need it all!  For those of you who are seasoned pros at the Thanksgiving feast, please share your wisdom.  If you've learned any tips for cooking the entire meal when you've only got one oven, please, or pretty please, help this poor blogger out!

As nervous as I am about pulling it all together, I know that I shouldn't be.  It's just family after all, and they have to love me even if I burn the turkey!

Tomorrow for Theme Thursday, I'll share some of my plans for the big event.  Then on Friday, I have a special guest blogger who will be joining us.  Usually I wait until the end of the month to feature a guest blogger, but Katie is joining us from InMod.com, and she's got some great tips for a modern Thanksgiving.  I'm very excited, and I hope you'll check it out!


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Reader Comments (3)


I remember the first time I did a turkey - I was so nervous. The important thing to remember is to relax, plan, time, and follow through. YOU CAN DO THIS!! I had seen a program in 1991 called the Home Show with Gary Collins. They did a segment on Thanksgiving and how to cook a turkey. A roasted turkey needs 25 mins. a pound at 350 degrees in the oven. I don't cook it upside down or inject it or constantly baste the turkey. The more you open the door the longer it takes to cook. I usually baste mine twice in the cooking process. Oh, and after about an hour I rub some butter or margarine on it first before I ever baste the bird. OK, now calculate the time to cook the turkey - ie. a 10 pound turkey needs about 250 mins. or about three hours to cook. MOST IMPORTANT - ADD ONE -1- MORE HOUR TO YOUR TIME!!!!! If you are eating at 4:00 then the turkey needs to go in the oven no later than NOON and yes I always stuff my bird. (No I don't think you're stupid or dense; I don't have any other way to emphasize the nessessity of this step. Hope you are not offended.) Once the turkey is done at the original three hour mark, (3:00) check the temperature - the button on the turkey if you have one will have popped or it should read at least 160 degrees on the thermometer and will be thoroughly cooked. But, Maureen, what do I do with that extra hour? Well, you pull the turkey out of the oven, wrap securely, - put foil over the bird and then the roaster lid on (if you have one or are using a roaster - if not then extra foil.) Get TWO towels out and wrap the pan and turkey together in them. I personally cross the towels into a plus, put the pan in the center and fold over the bottom and top and then the sides. The wrapped turkey can then sit on the counter or just about any where for that matter. I know sounds weird, but for that last hour you calculated leave the turkey alone. It will stay hot and will steam the entire time it is wrapped. The meat does not dry out and it will stay hot as long as you wrapped it well. This also frees up your oven to do the rolls and vegetables. When it is time to eat, unwrap the turkey use the drippings to make the gravy if making it from scratch, carve and serve. I have never had a dry turkey this way and it has worked for me for nearly twenty years - wow, I didn't realize it had been that long - I feel extremely old... :(
If you have any question, please email me - I'm happy to help.


November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen

Thanks Maureen! You are my new best friend! My biggest fear is that the turkey takes so long. I've only got the one oven, so I'm not sure how I'll squeeze everything in. Have any tips for the order to cook things? Pies, rolls, etc.??

Thanks again, this post is a life-saver!

xo, Kelli

November 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterAHPCH


i sent you another email - did you get it?


November 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen

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