Ever since we had a Pitmaster smoke a whole hog at our wedding, I have been fascinated with using a smoker. While I am a TOTAL Thanksgiving purist, this year I felt like being adventurous and decided to try smoking our turkey in our Traeger Grill. I followed THIS RECIPE and could not be more thrilled with the result. While this method really preserves the juiciness of the meat, it also adds and incredibly smoky flavor that’s uniquely characteristic of cooking on a Traeger. To be honest, I was a little intimidated to try this at first but it was incredibly easy to master. I’d even go so far as to say I feel inspired to become a certified Pitmaster myself.

To take things back to my Thanksgiving purist roots I prepared a classic whipped mashed potato. This is an old family favorite and could not be easier to whip up:

- Scrub and peel 10 potatoes
- Chop larger potatoes in half and drop into a big pot of boiling water
- Boil until you can easily pierce through the potatoes with a fork, remove from water and drain
- Dump potatoes in a stand mixer or large bowl and beat them together with a stick of butter (it’s Thanksgiving so it’s ok!), and a few dashes of milk
- Continually add a splash of milk while the mixer is running till you reach a nice whipped consistency
- Top with scallions, chives, fresh garlic, thyme, a dash of nice olive oil, and salt+pepper

I felt like a moodier table was in order so I used black taper candles, a beautiful charcoal linen tablecloth, candlesticks from March, a vintage cutting board from France, and some speckled plates from Sarah Kersten. The wine decanter is one that I picked up while on a shoot in Charleston and the Staub pot is one of my ALL-TIME kitchen favorites!

My crumble pie did admittedly fall apart quite a bit so I will spare you the recipe but that’s generally what happens with the afterthought dish. A dollup of ice cream definitely saves the day!

Although holidays without my family are always tough (they live on the east coast), I’m so thankful to be celebrating Thanksgiving here in California and starting some traditions of our own.

Thank YOU for reading this post and have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving :)

Jen KayComment