Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. It never use to be but over the years our Thanksgiving has become more than a day: It's an event. What began as a gathering of our own small children around the Thanksgiving breakfast table for devotions, , writing down what we were thankful for, and listening to the story of the first Thanksgiving while eating a powdered donut, has spilled over to the table of family: siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmas, and grandpas, gathering together to give thanks to our Lord. We cherish this time together as we recount the blessings of our Savior for the "Great Things He Has Done." We recount the history of those who have gone before us, sing hymns of praise, and feast and fellowship around the table.
It is sacred.
We all look forward to it with anticipation. In fact, if someone is dating a significant other, one question we ask is, "How will she/he do at Thanksgiving?" or "Do they know they have to come here for Thanksgiving?"
Thanksgiving has grown through the years in many ways and this year we are setting the table for thirty-seven. I don't know how we got to this point, but I agree with what David Mathis stated, "What makes feasting a means of God's grace for nourishing our souls is explicitly celebrating Christ together in faith. When we feast as Christians, we celebrate the bounty and kindness of our Creator and Redeemer. Feasting in Christ is no mere physical event, but deeply spiritual." (The Lost Art of Feasting, Desiring God.org).
So in anticipation of Thanksgiving, I'd like to share with you some tips and ideas on how to get ready for your celebration. There are twelve days until the big day and there are twelve letters in THANKSGIVNG. One letter for each day.
So let's begin.
Maybe because it was feasted on during that first Thanksgiving or because Benjamin Franklin esteemed it higher than the eagle, the turkey takes the center stage at the American Thanksgiving table..... unless your vegetarian. Then it's Tofurky. I'm almost positive the pilgrims didn't have Tofurky.
Our journey to the heritage bird began a number of years ago when we decided to raise and sell six heritage birds. A heritage turkey compared to a conventional turkey has a longer growth span and more closely resembles their historic ancestors.
Our bronze breasted
Mr. Tom weighing in at
We raised them as pastured birds from May until November. The kids took the day off of school to be a part of the "harvest" festivities. So on a cold, raw November day we butchered six turkeys with ours coming in at a strong 36LBS.
It was huge.
Turkey Pilates: a double straight leg lift
Heating the water
Just because I think he's cute
Yes. Yes it was cold
Our bird was so big that Myron Bernt, owner of "The Farmer's Friend" welding shop made us a custom pan for us to cook our fine defeathered friend. The pan is beautiful. It's one of my favorites to this day. Myron isn't just a welder, he is an artist. My dad would always say that if Myron fixed it, it would become better than it ever was in the first place. Every farmer needs a friend like Myron.
That year was a memorable event. There is something about cooking and celebrating with food that was nurtured and raised on your own farm. But raising a turkey for Thanksgiving can be harder than it looks. During our second year our turkeys did not survive so we began looking for someone who raised heritage pastured turkeys. We found Randy Waterman from Nebraskaheritageturkey.com. The Wattermann's turkeys are fantastic. If you'd like to try a heritage turkey they still have some available for this Thanksgiving. His heritage turkeys come in a variety of weights and will be processed the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. This year you could have access to a fresh, not frozen pastured bird grown without hormones, or additives.
I highly recommend brining your bird before cooking. Brining seals in the juices helping your bird stay moist and the seasonings in the brine helps bring out the flavor.
We have had great success cooking our turkey using the pioneer woman's roasted turkey method. However, recently Ryan has been smoking our turkey on the Kamado Joe and it is now the family favorite. Listed below are some website links to help you make your turkey the star of the show.
Thanksgiving Prep check list:
Purchased our turkey
Made chicken and beef stock ahead of time so it's ready for Thanksgiving gravy etc.,
Meeting /texting with family to discuss who's bringing what on the big day.
Heritage Turkeys for sale:
William Waterman: 402-380-9712
How to cook a turkey oven method:
How to carve a turkey:
and if you look closely, a prime rib
Always use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of your bird. If your my husband you use this thermometer to gage your children's temperature as well.... you know, because it's instant read.
After this post we will have eleven more days until Thanksgiving. Looking forward to the letter "H" which stands for.....