Monday, November 28, 2016


I had two tasks for Thanksgiving, smoke the turkey and cook the pie. Ever since my brother gave me the best birthday gift ever and got me a smoker, big enough to smoke about four turkeys at once I might add, I've been smoking our families Thanksgiving turkey. Warm out of the smoker, smoked turkey is excellent but eating it cold the following days as a sandwich are to die for. This year I chose mesquite wood to smoke the turkey with and honestly, my palate is just not that sensitive or it really doesn't make a difference, but I've yet to meet someone who could tell what wood I used to smoke the turkey, only that it is smoked. Because Thanksgiving was down on the farm this year, I smoked the turkey on the Tuesday before since Wednesday was forecast for rain. It actually rained on me Tuesday while I was checking the progress of the turkey and was sunny on Wednesday. You just can't trust a weather forecaster. I like to smoke the turkey ahead of time though because the hour long drive down to the farm is not conducive to keep a turkey warm and it allows us to keep some of it cold to enjoy alongside the warm turkey. Did I mention cold smoked turkey is the bomb?

The pie was baked the day before and when it came out of the oven, I suspected something was off. It was too blonde looking but since I had cut back on the amount of cinnamon and nutmeg that I had used a week before when cooking one, I thought perhaps that was the reason why. However when we tucked into the pie, I quickly found out the problem. I had forgot to put in the brown sugar. It was like eating plain squash custard which when combined with ice cream wasn't bad but it was fairly bland to eat by itself. Since that pie is now digested thoroughly, I decided to cook another one yesterday to redeem myself. This time was to be the culmination of all my experimenting to make the perfect pumpkin pie. Instead of using flour when rolling out the crust, I used chocolate graham cracker crumbs. I used our homegrown and canned Hubbard squash for the filling along with brown sugar this time and cutting back on the spicing as I did the last time. I dislike heavily spiced pumpkin pies where you can't taste the pumpkin. The result, heaven! Redemption!

After our Thanksgiving dinner, we do what we always do. While others are sleeping over football or pushing each other over Black Friday deals, we always go for a hike. This time we went to a local State Park where I learned to swim some 35 years ago at that beach in the background of the below photo. My daughter couldn't believe that anyone would be dangerous enough to learn to swim in a lake instead of a swimming pool. "There are fish in there," she said! After our hike to settle the turkey, we did our other tradition and liberated a red cedar tree from it's earthly toil in a road ditch on the way back to the farm. We hauled it home and it is now decorated up as our Christmas trees. With some green food coloring in the water, they green up nicely from their brownish winter slumber and the smell is so Christmas to me. Now while others frantically prepare for the holidays, I do all my shopping online and stay out of the public until the new year when most come back to their senses. I plan on reading my thick tomb of a book in front of many a crackling fire until then... and perhaps keep up on my blogging.


sage said...

You should have just said you were making a healthy pie! Sounds as if you had a nice Thanksgiving and that's some smoker you have!

Kelly said...

Our turkey (breast, since no one really favors dark meat) is always baked, wrapped in foil. I bet the smoked turkey is great! This was the first time in years we had no pumpkin in any form or fashion at our feast. It just didn't make the cut this year.

Although I spent a good deal of my childhood on a lake or river waterskiing... I never liked being IN the water with the fish and other "stuff". So I totally get where your daughter's coming from. Give me a clear swimming pool any day in the week!

Bob said...

The turkey sounds great, as does the hike. We participate in a Thanksgiving morning "turkey trot," burning calories in advance. I look forward to seeing a picture of your tree.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

The hike! The tree! Such wonderful, memorable traditions.
I don't think I've ever had smoked turkey, but it sounds good. Impressive pie making skills the, 2nd time around! I'm with you on the heavy spice as I'm not a fan either. Sounds like it was a very nice day.

Leigh said...

I thought I was the only one who left major ingredients out of things I'm baking. Or don't pay attention - I once put cayenne pepper in Dan's muffins instead of cinnamon. :o The pie looks delicious! And the way you describe smoked turkey meat really makes me wish we had a smoker. Dan has done a little experimenting, but it's something of an ordeal to rig it up.

Ed said...

Sage - I only use it a couple times a year but I try to fill it both times and freeze the extra for use later.

Kelly - I like the dark meat because it is almost impossible to overcook! However, I am in a minority which I find great around this time because I rarely have to fight to get a bite of turkey!

Bob - Back when I was single, our family tradition used to be to hike down the mountain to the Buffalo River and have a weenie roast along its banks before hiking back up the mountain and having the traditional Thanksgiving feed in the evening. It is much more comfortable to burn the calories in advance than after the fact!

Pumpkin Delight - If you get a chance, you should try smoked turkey or even smoked chicken. I also have smoke fish, mostly salmon and pork loins too. I guess I can't think of one thing I've smoked that I didn't really love.

Leigh - Normally when I do, I catch it before I serve it. This time it got served and everyone was eating before I realized something was wrong! I've heard of a lot of people turning old refrigerators into smokers on the cheap. This is one of those things I probably would have never bought on my own but I'm glad my brother bought it for me. It it a cheap model but since it essentially is a single gas burner in a box, there isn't a lot to go wrong though it is starting to oxidize on top after about ten years. I need to paint it next summer with some high temp paint.

ErinFromIowa said...

This was a description of a dream holiday for me.
My dad bringing home smoked salmon from the meat locker is a childhood food memory. With two adults and nine children it was a entire smoked salmon wrapped up in butcher's paper. Delicacy.