Episode-2116- Cooking This Thanksgiving and Just Killin’ It

This Guy Will Be on the Spirko Table for Thanksgiving 2017

In previous years I have had Chef Keith Snow on to discuss various aspects of Thanksgiving Dinner.  This year I decided to go it alone but if you want some great additional tips and recipes I will refer you back to some of his previous episodes here and here.

I wanted to take a bit of a different approach and give you some alternatives and some things that just might blow your guests totally away.  I also think it is time for a fun show and frankly I need to get into the “holiday spirit” myself.  2017 has raced by and it is hard for me to believe that Thanksgiving is only 3 days away.

For the rest of the week we have some cool stuff going on.  Tomorrow Steven Harris and I will be doing a show totally off the cuff on options for bug out trailers.  Wednesday we will run the Thanksgiving special show and then shut down until Monday as we have made a tradition here at TSP.

Today We Discuss…

  • Dealing with “always late guests” (Tardiness Protocol 101)
  • Enjoy the day, spread stuff out over time
  • If people drink, put a drink, not a open bar in their hands
  • Argue about sports but ignore politics
  • Ignore perceived criticisms (in-laws and why they have them sometimes)
  • Appetizers
    • Sweet Potato Rounds with Cranberry and Walnut Lebneh
    • Apple and Chestnut Stuffed Mushrooms with Bacon (or anything small)
    • Twice Fried Finger Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Garlic
    • Warm Cranberry Sauce (its a trick)
  • How I Always Cook a Turkey (brined and smoked)
    • De-breast Cutlets and Remove Leg Quarters and Wings
    • Reserve heart, liver, wing tips, tail and neck for stock
    • Bag up and freeze core for stock later on
    • Brine Breasts, Quarters and Wings in Jack’s Brine
      • Per Gallon
        • 1 Cup Salt
        • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
        • Handful of Black Peppercorns (whole)
        • Small Handful of Whole Mustard Seed
        • 4-6 Bay Leaves
        • 8 Sage Leaves (1tbs dry)
        • Optional Items
        • 2-4 Star Anise
        • Small Handful of Whole Coriander
      • Brine Turkey Parts 24 Hours
      • Smoke to 160-165, remove parts as they hit that number.
      • Immediately wrap in double thickness heavy foil
      • Wrap in towels set aside until time to serve
      • If you don’t have a smoker roast at 275
    • Sausage, Chestnut and Cornbread Stuffing
    • Making gravy – real gravy
    • Sauteed green beans and bacon
    • Some mashed potato hacks
      • Cook in chicken stock or with Better Than Bullion
      • Add garlic and or onion when cooking
      • Use heavy cream instead of milk
      • Provide chives and parsley for topping
    • Apple Pie Moonshine for After Dinner (giving away my secrets)
      • 1 750ML Bottle of Everclear (or high proof shine)
      • 2 Cups of Vanilla Vodka – secret (no longer well kept)
      • 2 Cups of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum – secret (no longer well kept)
      • 2 Gallons of Apple Cider
      • 8 Real Cinnamon Sticks (Ceylon) – secret
      • 2 Cups Brown Sugar
      • 2 Cups Honey – Secret until today
      • Tune in For the Procedure
    • White Chocolate Mint Shots
    • Okay Damn it One Desert – Stuffed Baked Apples
  • Final Thoughts

Resources for today’s show…

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12 Responses to Episode-2116- Cooking This Thanksgiving and Just Killin’ It

  1. I liked today’s show better than the past few years with Chef Snow. Not that I didn’t like those as well. He had a recipe for either stuffing or mashed sunchokes in a past Thanksgiving podcast. Do you remember the episode or recipe? We grew our first sunchokes this year at your suggestion and have over a gallon. Thanks for all you do! KN4DOH

    • See the two links in the first paragraph of the show notes. It was probably in one of those episodes.

    • Jack’s Special Chestnut Sausage Stuffing


      3-6 cups dried stuffing cubes or your own dried bread (based on how much you want as a binder)
      Chicken/Turkey stock sufficient for the above bread stuffing
      Butter for the above stuffing mix plus two table spoons
      1 cup finely diced celery
      1 cup finely diced white or yellow onions
      1-2 20-oz bags of Galil Pre Cooked Chestnuts  (use as much as you want but at least one bag)
      2 lbs of sausage, (breakfast, mild Italian, Jacks Special, it is your choice, but something with either a good sage and/or fennel flavor is best)
      4-6 Slices of Good Thick Sliced Bacon
      1 Handful Chopped Fresh Parsley
      4-6 Fresh Sage Leaves finely sliced
      Salt and Pepper (to taste)

      Make up 2-4 cups (dry measure) of traditional bread stuffing (as per your method or instructions on the package).  When you do be sure to use broth vs. water.    Set aside.
      Make sausage into large thin patties, fry like ham burgers until cooked though.  Set aside on towel to drain, leave sausage grease and stuck on bits in pan.
      Fry your bacon until fat is well rendered out of it but the bacon itself is not fully crisp yet, reserve to side with sausage to drain.
      Once bacon and sausage has cooled, cut into small pieces, cut the sausage into cubes about the size of bread cubes in pre-made stuffing mix.
      Coarsely chop your chestnuts, put celery and onions into pan and sauté until onions begin to turn clear.
      Add chestnuts to pan along with the additional 2 tablespoons of butter, gently toss to coat with pan leavings, fold back in sausage and bacon.
      In an oven safe pan, (for this I just use the toss away aluminum ones) combine the sausage and chestnuts with the bread stuffing, mixing lightly until mixture is uniform.  Sprinkle bacon on top, if you are prone to “stealing bacon” cook a few extra pieces to account for this.
      At this point, everything is basically done and you could eat it.  I prefer to bake it covered with foil at 375 for about 25 minutes, then uncovered until the top is just brown.  To brown to a nice top crisp turn on the broiler for a few moments to finish it, but if you do this do not take your eyes off it.

      For meals like Thanksgiving I make this up, first thing in the morning, then cover and set aside, 40 minutes before serving time (bird is out of the over by then) pop it in and finish it off.  You can even make it up the day before, if you do though leave more time to reheat it as you must refrigerate it overnight.

      Note – this makes a LOT of food, if you have a smaller gathering cut all ingredients in half.   Or just use 3 cups vs. 6 cups of bread mix, you can even omit the bread all together and it will be really good but not what most people expect in a “stuffing”.

  2. Try oysters in your stuffing.  Me and my dad are huge fans of it.  Basically you just add oysters to a stuffing recipe.   The better quality of oysters the better quality of the dish.

  3. Jack

    Can you make a Couple of Cooking with jack videos for the recipes that you used today?

  4. What’s your cool-down and reheating process Jack? Going to try smoking the bird the day before as suggested.

    Do you simply reheat to 160 in the oven?


    • Modern Survival

      If I smoke the day of I just keep the meat wrapped and covered and serve it that way it will be plenty warm.

      If we reheat we only reheat to about 120ish, no need to go back to 160 with cooked meat. Meat is best served about 100-120 degrees.

  5. I made your Apple pie moonshine tonight. This stuff is amazing! Can’t wait to share with the family tomorrow.

  6. When making the moonshine, do you bring it to a boil?

    • Modern Survival

      No just warm enough to dissolve the sugar and get the spices infusing about 150-160 degrees, put the lid on and let it cool down. I just heat it until it barely steams, never use a thermometer. Comes out great.