Saturday, November 27, 2010

Turkey Day, Delicious Turkey Day!

I came into the Thanksgiving holiday with plans to keep it simple and low stress, give myself some much needed time to relax. So we decided not to invite a bunch of people over and I decided to keep the meal simple and to the point - turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and of course pumpkin pie. It turned out to be one of our best Thanksgivings ever!

Despite my plans to keep it simple, I had invited my brother and his family over for the meal, with the "simple" disclaimer. They decided to come over and they brought some delicious depth to our meal! Sweet potato apple pecan casserole, Paula Dean brussel sprouts (includes butter and bacon of course!), chocolate pecan pie. Wow!

However, the big deal is always the turkey, right? Well, let me tell you. My husband can cook a mean turkey! He can smoke a mean turkey, to be more specific.

Let me take you back 14 Novembers, to our first Thanksgiving as husband and wife, our first Thanksgiving thousands of miles from our families, our first Thanksgiving in the much cooler Pacific NW. We love smoked food, and we had a small vertical column style smoker that had served us well back in TX and in the early fall in WA. On Thanksgiving day, a typical 40 degree day for these parts, our relatively small turkey was in that smoker forever, just not getting hot enough. By about 8 pm we gave up with the smoking and finished it in the oven. It was pretty much inedible! (Oh, and naturally since it was my first turkey, we found the blue plastic bag of giblets in the turkey as we cut it up! Oops.)

Fast forward to 2010, we have this awesome new southern barrel smoker with the smoke box on the side and lava rocks in the barrel. We also have snow on the ground, and its been below freezing for the last 3 days. We cautiously ventured again to smoke the big bird, fully ready to finish it in the oven before it got smoked beyond being edible. But not this husband aced the turkey smoking this time. It was ready on time and absolutely beautiful. Our kitchen smelled like a TX bbq was melt in your mouth yummy, juicy and tender. Take a look!

My what a difference 14 years can make!

And bonus? My mother-in-law, whom I love, showed up about 11 am to surprise us with a visit. How cool! She lives in TX and we didn't expect to see her until next spring. Boy were the kids excited to see Grandma! And she rocks...always helping with the kid stuff, the kitchen stuff, the laundry, whatever needs to be done.

And double bonus? The Aggies beat tu. Awesome.

Truly plenty to be thankful for in our house. How was your Thanksgiving?