We're sharing our time-tested Thanksgiving hosting tips and recipes, as well as plenty from chefs, hospitality experts, celebrities, hosts and home cooks we love. Our goal – sending you into Thanksgiving with a confident smile on your face, and seeing you emerge on the other side with your sanity intact.
It might seem like a world away but sooner than you think, you're likely going to sitting down to a dinner with loved ones (and a stranger or two), and feeling exceptionally lucky to be doing so.
Wow, do people get their wattles in a wad about brining. It's probably partly because we're all still traumatized by the powdery turkey of our childhood Thanksgivings. It's also because people enjoy having extra things to fuss over 'round this time of the year.
But really, it's not that complicated and whether you opt for a dunk or a rub, roasting, smoking or deep-frying, it's bound to add some extra moisture and flavor to your meat. You'll just have to find something else to stress about. Sorry.
What is brining?
The holidays are upon us - you've successfully tackled the fall squash, mashed potatoes like James Brown and reserved the appropriately sized bird for your guest list. You've even found time to craft your very own "bacon pig." Everything is shaping up nicely in apple-pie order - that is, until the word "pie" just sent you into a flour frenzy.
Although sweet, dessert can bring out the crustiness in the most pleasant of holiday hosts and hostesses. While pie crust is minimalistic in origin - flour, butter, ice water with a little sugar and salt thrown in for good measure - many home cooks find themselves thankful for the premade varieties this time of year.
If you're one of those put off by do-it-yourself pastry, just roll with this all-butter crust tutorial.
Even the most adventurous eaters often give their inner food warrior the day off on Thanksgiving – nothing but the same turkey, stuffing (or dressing!), cranberries, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie they've been eating since childhood. If one of those dishes goes missing, the whole meal just doesn't feel right.
Other families stray away from the standards (some friends of ours have to have collard greens, whiskey sours and banana pudding for the day to feel right, while another family dives into duck) and develop their own must-indulge traditions.
There's only so much turkey a man can take.
iReporter, Grilling.com writer and Smoke in Da Eye competition BBQ chronicler and team member Clint Cantwell found himself having to gobble down waaayyyy too much of the bird. After roasting, deep-frying and smoking three different turkeys for Thanksgiving last year, he needed a bit of a palate cleanser. Naturally, he swung swine-ward.
Cantwell crafted a pig entirely out of pork as a Thanksgiving appetizer. "Pork E. Pigskin," as he was dubbed, had hot links for legs, a sausage body, ham ears, Vienna sausage nose, a pork rind tail and a bacon wrap.
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