11 BBQ Thanksgiving Tips from LeRoy and Lewis

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To most Americans, Thanksgiving is a time to take a long weekend, watch football, and relax with all the food and family one can stomach. For us at LeRoy and Lewis, it’s the busiest week of the year. And even though we’ll be working long hours and our feet will be sore, we’re incredibly thankful that people trust us to deliver to them the most important meal of the year.

In our latest Patreon video, we display our signature Turkey Day special, the Thanksgiving Split. For the past few years we’ve sold this holiday mash-up the weekend before the big day and people love it. That’s our Thanksgiving Sausage (turkey/pork blend studded with dried cranberry and sweet potato and scented with rosemary and sage) split down the middle and stuffed with scoops of corn pudding, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. Of course, its covered in gravy. Since it’s a dish with multiple components and the recipe for that dish would actually be five separate recipes, I’ve instead reduced all of our Thanksgiving tips and tricks into a concentrated 11 bullet-pointed demi-glace. Follow these steps for a delicious and memorable Thanksgiving this year.

  1. Brine that bird — 5% salt solution. Overnight for thick breasts, 24 hrs for whole birds
  2. Layer the flavors — The signature flavors of Thanksgiving (sage, rosemary, garlic) should be in that brine, rub, infused into your basting butter, and mixed into your gravy. Reinforcing flavors creates depth.
  3. Lots of butter — Thanksgiving is not the day to be stingy on the butter. Turkey is known for being dry, don’t be the dry turkey guy. Baste with butter, finish your bird with compound butter, put more butter in the mashed potatoes than you think you need.
  4. Use the whole bird — Giblets, turkey neck, little pieces of trimmed skin and fat. All that has flavor. Make your own stock, render the fat, and use the cooked and chopped giblets to give your gravy some texture.
  5. Cranberry BBQ Sauce — Ditch the can and purchase L&L’s Cranberry BBQ Sauce on our website! A little barbecue sauce on the table is never a bad move.
  6. Low and slow — We cook our briskets around 275–300 F in our offset smokers. Turkeys cook faster and are much leaner than brisket. Lowering the temp to 250–275 will make sure they cook evenly and develop a beautiful brown color.
  7. One surprise side — Traditional sides are a MUST. Do not show me a Thanksgiving table without: mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and stuffing. One signature side will make your holiday truly memorable. My mother-in-law makes a Broccoli Slaw that I’m always sad to miss if we don’t spend the holiday with them. This year I’ll be bringing the duck fat caramel brussels sprouts.
  8. Take your time on the gravy — Even a dry and over-cooked bird can be saved by a really good gravy. Take your time cooking a dark roux to develop roasty, nutty flavors that will permeate the gravy. Add smoky giblets and fresh rosemary for texture and freshness.
  9. Nutmeg in the mashed potatoes — Trust me, just a little bit.
  10. Rest the turkey — Avoid losing all the meat juices and scorching your hands while carving by resting the turkey for at least 30 mins after it comes out of the oven before it gets cut.

11. Pecan Pie is better than Pumpkin Pie — Not a tip, just a take. And it always goes down easy with a little bourbon.

Happy Thanksgiving from LeRoy and Lewis!

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