Upping the ante on Thanksgiving dishes
When I think of Thanksgiving, I’m transported back to my parents’ house, with the smell of my mom’s cooking wafting into the living room where my dad and I sit anxiously waiting for the call to the table.
As a kid, everything was delicious—because I didn’t have to make it. As an adult, I’m ready to get my hands all up in that turkey so I can try out these Thanksgiving staples infused with just a bit of liquid luck.
Everyone thinks they’re experts when it comes to brining a turkey around the holidays, but what about beer-brined turkey? The traditional salt-and-water brining technique is intended to moisten the meat of the bird, but here in the South, we like to moisten the meat of that bird with a can or two of beer.
On second thought, make it a gallon.
Soak your turkey for two days prior to Thanksgiving in a combination of water, savories like thyme and garlic cloves, and—yes, I was serious—a gallon of beer, to achieve beer-brined perfection.
If your bird is 16-20 pounds, toss him in the oven for three-and-a-half hours at 350°F. He’s ready for reaping once he reaches 165°F, and what better way to top off an alcohol-infused turkey than with a deliciously smoky bourbon honey glaze? Put the glaze together with just bourbon, butter, honey, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Brush it over the body and garnish with orange slices for a spicy bourbon kick to your beer-brined birdy.
Continuing with the “adult” dishes, we return to our spicy friend for bourbon-infused orange cranberry sauce. A perfect side dish to complement the bourbon honey turkey glaze, this cranberry sauce will be one people actually eat.
Out-of-the-can cranberry sauce lingers on the table, untouched as everyone fills their plates with potatoes, stuffing, and other more appetizing items. Pour in a dash of bourbon and Cointreau on your fresh cranberries to make an irresistibly sweet sauce that everyone will want for their leftovers.
When we’ve all eaten to the point that we’ve begun unbuttoning our pants, it’s time for the favorite, and final course: dessert. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, and it wouldn’t be alcohol-infused Thanksgiving without a little rum.
Call it a Thanksgiving staple, a tradition, whatever you want, pumpkin pie deserves the spotlight and with a little rum and molasses it’s a sweet treat to wrap up the gorging.
Enjoy pie with a dollop of rum-infused whipped cream, easily created with just cold heavy cream, sugar, vanilla extract, and dark rum. Then, wash it all down with a cup of coffee infused with a little Bailey’s if you’re still up for it.
Kick up your feet, sit back next to the fire, and just be thankful you don’t have to drive home.