Preparing for a Warm Thanksgiving

According to Accuweather, this Thanksgiving should be a sunny day with highs in high sixties.  Last year the high hit 75, and we can’t help thinking (at the time of writing) that high 60’s may be a little wishful thinking.  Historically we are wearing shorts this time of year and many of our customers enjoy their Thanksgiving meal outside. We know we do!

Outdoor food setup for a picnicPerhaps the idea of BBQing a turkey is an odd one but it sure beats slaving over a hot oven.  Even better, get the games on outside and enjoy a day of relaxation, sun (we hope) and the more relaxed feel of a BBQ.

There are a TON of recipes online for grilling a turkey and many are specific to the type of grill you have. For example, if you have a charcoal kettle grill you can check out the Coupon Clipping Cook for a recipe.  A 19-pound turkey will take 4:45 to complete.  For a gas grill you can check out Epicurious where a 14-16 pound turkey takes about 2 hours.  If you have a large grill and a large family, you can consider grilling two turkeys.  One recipe we are really taken with is a BBQ Turkey with apples, and you can find it here.

Apple falling out a wooden crateBeyond the turkey there are a huge number of grilling options for sides.  From Grilled green beans and mashed grilled potatoes, to grilled apple crisp with toffee, if you have the space on your BBQ you can create an entire feast outside.  Even Martha Stewart has celebrated being in the South by opting for a Thanksgiving feast alfresco and you can check out her selection of sides (and the turkey) here.  Even if you don’t have the grill space for it, you can pre-prepare your sides early, and keep them warm them in the oven while you relax outside with the family. 

The takeaway for us is that Thanksgiving is what you make it.  If you prefer the solemnity of a formal meal or the traditions of a family gathering in the dining room we totally get it.  But if you are looking for something more relaxed, with football on the screen and kids running amok, a barbeque is a great option.  Setting up the TV outside, gathering up some chairs and even setting up a treasure (mini-pumpkin) hunt for the kids, is a great way to change things up and start new traditions.  Where better to celebrate Thanksgiving outside than Texas?

In our hunt for great recipes and ideas we landed on Southern Kitchen, who not only has a great article on outdoor Thanksgiving parties, but a ton of ideas for decorations, activities, drinks and food.  Check it out here for more inspiration

Family outdoors carving pumpkins

Options to consider, that may not leap to mind immediately, are creating separate areas in the yard for lots of activities.  Horseshoes is a simple option you can set up for adults and children alike (check out our blog post from July for DIY backyard games you can make easily).  Set up a craft area for the kids to decorate mini pumpkins with glue on eyes and sprinkles. The football zone goes without saying, but if you are lucky and have the space, consider a game of touch football to get folks out of their chairs and mingling.  Setting up a firepit to gather around when the sun goes down is a great way to keep the party going. Since the clocks have changed, consider outdoor lighting – string lights are simple and inexpensive and can make any backyard beautiful. Finally, don’t forget to call Mosquito Joe so you can enjoy the day without mosquitoes and bugs ruining the fun.  This is Texas after all, and mosquitoes are the one thing we are not thankful for this time of year.