Almost There

In progress.  What a day of cooking.  I had forgotten the pageantry of Thanksgiving and it feels like running for the first time in three months.  But we’re makin’ it.
About a half hour after my morning post I discovered that my roasting pan and rack I historically used for the bird didn’t make the trip west.  On top of that the gusty winds and cold temperature reeked havoc on my fire.  I was bound and determined not to let the Lou get me today though and get the bird in the smoke on time.

After fighting the weather most of the morning, somewhere around 10am I decided I would finish the girl in the oven.  She was almost done at that time but an hour and half later she was just at 160 degrees in the breast.  Out of the oven she came to rest up for the main event.

I had done most of the other prep by that time.  The dressing/stuffing was complete.  This year I researched several different recipes to produce a stuffing with andouille sausage and a little creole seasoning.  Rather than load down on butter I used chicken stock to keep it moist.  That was a nice change from year’s past.

I think my signature dish is quickly becoming the sweet potatoes.  Just like the stuffing I consulted several different recipes to experiment some this year.  I after roasting the potatoes I mashed them with cream, maple syrup (real organic stuff), brown sugar, and butter.  I poured those in a buttered casserole dish and sprinkled with chopped pecans.  A small dollop of butter and a drizzle with maple syrup went over the taters before the marshmallows. The marshmallows took a bath in some bourbon (Woodford Reserve) for about a half an hour before I spread those over the taters.  Into the oven it went and it turned out much better this year than last, with the marshmallows actually forming a crust over the mashed sweet potatoes. Oh baby.

Tracey didn’t make her homemade mac and cheese but did make green beans at Hale’s request.  I think they were her best yet.  I can’t make them very well but Tracey makes it look simple.  She renders down some salt pork before adding the beans, salt and pepper, and chicken stock.  Then cooks them slowly for a little over an hour before serving.  Whoa…

Although the family was complimentary of the turkey I know I can do better.  I’ve learned when smoking the bird it’s best to place it on a rack backside up.  That way all the fat that is in the dark meat drains through the breast to keep it moist.  I did not have the rack today so it went on back down over the grill and drip pan.  Still the breast was moist and flavorful, just not what I was aspiring to today.  This bird did retain a great deal of smoke, probably more so than in year’s past, and had a thick red smoke ring.  Yea, baby…

Desert is coming soon…

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