IMG_0803This is my 14th year hosting Thanksgiving for a gaggle of people.  Over this time I’ve  made some winners and some losers.  My favorite recipes involve 3 things.  I can make them ahead of time, people always ask for them, and people always reach for seconds and thirds.

These mashed potatoes that I found on the Washington Post website years ago are the best mashed potatoes I have ever had (it is the second recipe in the article, “party potatoes”.)  They are creamy and rich and the best part is that you can make them two days ahead and just reheat in the oven day of.  Just don’t do a calorie count on them.  I have been making them since 2005 and every year people rave.  Mashed Potatoes are my favorite Thanksgiving food.  I love them so much I had a mashed potato bar at my wedding.

Stuffing was something I struggled with for a long time.  I went through about 5 stuffing recipes before I finally settled on this one, I think I found it though Pinterest.  This will be my third year making it and it is fantastic.  I buy the challah from the place I get it every Friday the Friday before Thanksgiving, let it sit, and then actually make the stuffing the Wednesday before and pop it in the oven the day of.

I am all about make ahead.  It is what keeps me sane.  That, and wine.

We do something a little bit different with our Turkey.  We actually cook our turkey on the Grill.  Because we need such a large bird, it frees up the oven for all the sides I need to heat up day of.  I’m a vegetarian, as is my sister, and I make sure all the sides are vegetarian, but my guests rave it is the best Turkey they have ever had.  The turkey recipe is my in laws, and has been passed down from generation to generation.  I would give credit where credit is due, but I have no idea where it came from:

Turkey Whole, Smoked with Garlic-Rosemary Butter

   1 1/2  pounds        butter
  18      cloves        garlic — minced
   6      tablespoons   rosemary
   2      teaspoons     salt
   1 1/2  teaspoons     pepper
   1 1/2  tablespoons   sage, dried
  22      pounds        turkey — rinsed, patted dry
   3                    lemon — quartered
   1 1/8  cups          vegetable oil
1.  Soak wood chips in water at least 1 hr.  Start charcoal, enough for hot coals on both sides of turkey; use drip pan under turkey.
2.  Heat butter, 12 cloves garlic, 4 1/2 tbsp rosemary, 1 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp pepper, in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until butter melted.  Reserve this basting mixture.  Can be made day in advance.
3.  Combine 6 cloves garlic, 1 1/2 tbsp rosemary, 1 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp pepper and 1 1/2 tbsp sage; rub into cavity of turkey.  Squeeze juice from lemons into turkey cavity and add quarters.  Truss turkey with kitchen string.
4.  Brush turkey with 1/4 cup oil.  Place turkey on side in roasting rack.  Cook with hot coals for 10 min; add wood chips to coals.  Turn turkey to other side (use gloves) and brush with remaining oil and some from drip pan.  Cook for 10 min.  Turn turkey breast side up.  Baste with butter mix and add wood chips, every 20 min until done. Use less wood near end of cooking.  Cover wings with foil after an hour, cover legs with foil after 2 1/2 hours.
5.  Transfer turkey to carving board and cover.  Transfer remaining basting sauce to small pan, dilute about 50% with water, heat.
6.  Carve turkey and arrange meat on platter.  Spoon a little sauce on turkey.  Serve rest with meal.
 Happy Thanksgiving!
Jodi blogs at Jodifur about life, motherhood, working, and shoes. Mostly shoes.