The Annual Best Of The Best Treeper Thanksgiving Recipe Thread

bacon_turkeyGreat Preference Given To Dishes Featuring Bacon and Jack, Super Foods!

It’s that time of year again! Pull up a log and sit a spell. We have snacks and drinks, a warm, toasty fire and fine friends gathered round. Next week we will celebrate our  wonderful American holiday, Thanksgiving. I know that it is a great favorite for almost all of us, and perhaps your family, like mine, has the best feast of the year on that day. Our family has four generations come together, sometimes forty or fifty people. We have been doing this for years, and we never even discuss the menu any more, haven’t for probably twenty years or more. We each bring two or three dishes that we do best, and it is the best meal of the year. We even have the specialties of loved ones long gone, recipes saved and lovingly prepared by granddaughters and even great granddaughters.

However, it  makes a holiday special, that wonderful combination of old and new. In honor of that, here’s my new find for you guys. I cant wait to try it myself.

From Oasis in a Gastronomic Wasteland Blogspot I bring you Uncle Jack’s Whiskey Brined Turkey.

Uncle Jack’s Whiskey Brined Turkey
BY: Samuel Parks
(November 2011)
Jack Daniels TurkeyAfter 5 years of trial, error, and a lot of tryptophan, I have finally perfected my recipe!  Thanks to all of my friends and family who have been “willing” volunteers.  This recipe may take some prep work, but believe me it’s totally worth it.
·         1 cup Kosher salt
·         ½ cup white sugar
·         ½ cup molasses
·         ¼ cup clover honey
·         ½ gallon fresh apple cider
·         1 gallon chicken stock
·         ½ Tbs. dried thyme
·         4-6 fresh sage leaves
·         2 sprigs fresh rosemary
·         1 stick whole cinnamon
·         2 bay leaves
·         1 Tbs. whole peppercorns (slightly crushed)
·         1 Tbs. whole allspice berries (slightly crushed)
·         1 Tbs. candied ginger
·         1 cup Tennessee Whiskey (Jack Daniels)
·         Ice water
We hope you will consider contributing your favorite recipes while we still have time to go out and shop this week, or this weekend. Happy baking, Treepers. Remember, every recipe is enhanced by judicious applications of bacon and Jack.
Originally posted November, 2013. Re-copied this year because it’s hard to improve upon all this bacon and Jack perfection. And because I’m cold and lazy today. But seriously, mainly for the first reason.
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391 Responses to The Annual Best Of The Best Treeper Thanksgiving Recipe Thread

  1. MNCarryPermitHolder says:

    60 minute yeast rolls in a mixer

    5 cups bread flour
    1.5 cups water
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 packets/scoops of dry yeast
    4+1 tablespoons butter
    1 egg

    1.5 cups water, heated to ~110 F. Whisk in 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 packets or 2 scoops of yeast. (they make special 2 1/4 tsp measuring spoons just for yeast) Let it proof for about 15 minutes.

    5 cups bread flour in your mixer bowl with 1 teaspoon salt. Let it mix while the yeast proofs. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter. When the proofing timer is getting low, add the butter and 1 large egg to the mixing bowl, then the yeast/water when it is ready. Take it up to speed 2 for 10 minutes.

    Add water 1 teaspoon at a time if the dough is very dry, or a pinch of flour if very wet/sticky. If you use good bread flour instead of all purpose flour you shouldn’t need more than a teaspoon or two of water.

    Grease a bowl and transfer the dough to it. Turn to coat the dough, cover and set it somewhere warm for 15 minutes. Flip out on a silicone mat or a floured countertop and punch down. Roll it into a log and cut into 12 even pieces. Roll into balls.

    Grease a 9×13 glass baking dish and put the dough balls in a 4×3 grid. Cover and let rise 15 minutes. Bake at 425 for 12 minutes. Towards the end, melt another tablespoon of butter. After removing the rolls, brush the butter on. Let sit for a minute or two, then flip out unto a cooling tray.

    The yeast proofing and both dough rises should involve roughly a doubling of volume each time. Give it a little more time if it is slow for whatever reason.

    There are a billion variations of this recipe out there. I should give credit to the one I based this on, but I’ve long since forgotten. (sorry)

    The rolls are heavy and dense with a strong flavor. I make this for family dinners, potlucks, etc – people love them and ask for them every time. I’d prefer to be trying new breads, but everyone wants these.

    Because the dough is heavy, your mixer might complain if you try to do multiple concurrent batches – mine sure does. If your mixer is stout enough, you should be able to get three batches going in a pipeline, assuming you’ve got three pans… It should also be possible to freeze the dough right after forming balls.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lftpm says:

      My DIL makes fantastic croissants. I helped her. She first put them in front of the fireplace for the dough to rise properly. Very good, but not great. I told her, We have a warming drawer, you can set it to any temp you want, 80, 90, 100, 105, 120, we also have a headlamp with a thermometer. It took her one time to figure it out, and do plain croissants, chocolate-filled croissants to scrumptious delights.

      I would make them myself, but the dough kneading, rolling and repeated folding is too much work for me. 😉


  2. Plain Jane says:

    Not a Thanksgiving dish, and my question is a very long shot. Anyone have a recipe for chicken giblet chop suey? I know, I know. Weird, But a fantastic cook who cooked for our wedding reception in the evening also did the giblet chop suey for our wedding brunch for about 150 right after Mass and the wedding. Cooking giblets today, 50 years later made me think of it.

    I googled my little heart out and found nothing.


  3. Jeff says:

    Content removed for political, off topic content. I will shut this post down before I allow it to be hijacked. Keep your politics OFF of this thread.


    Liked by 4 people

  4. PatriotGalNC says:

    Hello Fellow Treepers… I am greatly enjoying all the recipes, techniques, and stories everyone is sharing. I am a huge “foodie”/cook and retired persoInnal chef (although truth be known…once a chef…always a chef!) I have been racking my brain trying to think of a recipe I could share, but there are so many, I couldn’t think of which one to present. Sooooo, last night, as I was doing my RITUAL of sharpening my knives, it struck me to make some comments about the supreme importance of having sharp knives!

    I also used to give cooking lessons, both group and private. The very first lesson would always be about having sharp knives. In my experience, people learn to hate to cook, or AVOID cooking because of having dull knives. We have some very close friends who don’t ever sharpen their drawer full of knives…(they prefer to buy more sharp knives than to take the time to sharpen the ones they have!) Anyway, when we go to visit, I bring my knife set with me–because we all love to cook. So, this being said, I urge y’all to get those knifes sharpened and you will have a much more enjoyable time throwing your meals together.

    I highly recommend a knife sharpening tool, called a Steel n Strop by Chef’s Choice. It is a little machine that has 3 sharpening stages: A sharpening wheel that is actuated by cutting on the electric switch, then once you create a sharp edge with it, you move to the middle (non electric-manual) wheel that takes off the “burrs”, and then another non-electric “finishing” wheel to finish off the edge. You can use this last “finishing” wheel on your serrated knives. Anyway, I love this little gem for my kitchen. They run about $99 to $160, depending on which model you choose.

    No matter what method you use to sharpen your knives, (I used to do it completely manually, using a sharpening stone and oil…) make sure to rinse off your knives in hot soapy water to remove any of the microscopic metal particles from the sharpening process. Make sure to wash off the entire knife and not just the blade. Also, make sure when you are all done with all your knives, that you wipe down your counter area of these microscopic metal dust particles.

    It is also wise to tell anyone who may be working with you in your kitchen as you cook, that your knives are VERY sharp and to use caution. However, one can get hurt worse by a dull knife because of bounce off, slipping, or impatience!

    There is a lot of “Knife Sharpening engineering and science” out there and I am very much skimming over this stuff. There are also sharpening “rigs” you can buy that are pretty elaborate! Check out youtube for some videos of how to properly sharpen your knives, and you will come across some very varied techniques. Regardless, taking the time to sharpen the most important tool in your kitchen is well worth contributing to the pleasure of cooking!

    Lastly…How do I know when my knife is sharp enough?…the tomato I start to slice, slices itself before my blade touches it! It “fears” my knife! Ha! Ha!

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! We have MUCH to be thankful for, always!

    Liked by 8 people

    • Ahh, a non-recipe advice post, a good place to insert my friendly warning. Last year I accidentally discovered Toxic Squash Syndrome the hard way. I figured squash seeds would toast as well as pumpkin seeds, and they did, and even though they were a tinge bitter from the bits of pulp that was clinging to them, I chalked it up to the difference between squash and pumpkin. Little did I know that I was ingesting Cucurbitacin E, a toxic substance produced in gourds, cucumbers and zucchinis under certain conditions (mold I think). I spent most of Thanksgiving dinner tucked away in the bathroom experiencing a spontaneous and unwelcome ‘cleanse’. It could have been much more serious and I’m grateful that I was the only one affected. Anyway, if anything vegetable related tastes unexpectedly bitter SPIT IT OUT, you really, really don’t want ruin your holiday!

      Liked by 5 people

      • Dayvz says:

        I’m sorry for your terrible experience but I have to say I found great humor in the unwelcome “cleanse” description. I hope there was a silver lining in your day and much better fortune this year.


        • I figure the only way to frame unpleasant events is humorously since it’s better to turn it into a good story instead of a bad memory!

          Either way, no squash this year, just lots of roasted sweet and yellow potatoes to go with turkey, stuffing and fresh salad 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy says:

      Excellent advice, PatriotGalNC … But for anyone like me who never could get the hang of manual sharpening, there are others willing to do it for a fee. Joann Fabric Stores, for example, offer scissor and knife sharpening “events” in their retail stores several times a year. You can either attend the event on the scheduled day, or drop-off-ahead / pick-up-later (at your convenience). Well worth the investment!

      Liked by 2 people

    • mncarrypermitholder says:

      Last year, I got the Chef’s Choice sharpener that can handle both 15 and 20 degree edges, and I love it. I only use it once a year because my girlfriend is kinda clumsy. She’d probably be down to 8 or 9 fingers by now if I kept my knives properly sharp all year.

      I also had a knife epiphany over the last year. My Santoku knife had become my go-to over the years, and I pretty much never used my Chef’s knife. Eventually, I realized that European knifemakers weren’t idiots, they had made the right knife for European foods. Since I mostly eat European foods – thick dense meat and solid vegetables – I started using my chef’s knife more often, and now I use my chef’s knife for almost everything and only pull out the Santoku for delicate foods and hard cheeses (thinner blade).

      And then I got a ceramic Nakiri and use it for just about all of my vegetable chopping…

      Liked by 1 person

    • lftpm says:

      I’ve used Chef’s Choice 120, not that sharp. Whetstones either water or oil are excellent, if you can keep the angle correct. Edge Pro and Wicked Edge–both expensive–have angle-postioning systems that work really well. I have a Work Sharp Ken Onion sharpener, belt sander, with the grinder attachment, and a series of belts from coarse to ultra fine. Once you sharpen your knives, you just have to be careful. You won’t even know you’ve cut your fingers until the blood is running. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • whatfreshnell says:

      DH had to carve the turkey at a young couple’s house yesterday. Their knives were horrible! At our house, DH sharpens his knives once a week, so he can do some beautiful carving.
      This Steel n Strop thingie would make a fantastic gift for young people getting married, leaving home, or who are interested in cooking. Thanks for your tips.


  5. Dayvz says:

    I make this dish only on Thanksgiving. If brussel sprouts are not appealing this dish may change your mind. A+.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. grandmaintexas says:

    My mom died this year. I find myself carrying on some of her traditions. She always made the Christmas fruitcake at Thanksgiving and then bathed it in brandy until Christmas Eve.

    I got the fruitcake made and it has had its first bath. My Dad LOVED fruitcake and he and my mom would eat it on Christmas Eve as they wrapped gifts for us kids. Usually had a cocktail or two to go with the brandied fruitcake. It was merry!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’m sorry for your loss grandmaintexas. I understand losing your mom and it’s a difficult time. I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family with many good memories.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Minnie says:

      Grandma, I’m very sorry for your loss. We miss dad very much, as well, this is the first Thanksgiving without him.

      I believe they are in a better place, with the angels, watching over us.

      I’m certain your beloved mom is watching over you with pride, seeing you carry on her family traditions. Your fruit cake will be fabulous!

      Happy Thanksgiving 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

    • amwick says:

      I am sorry for your loss, my Mother always did fruitcake too, but without the happy bath.

      I am doing my Mother’s sweet potatoes.
      Boil them the day before, peel and cut into disks, a bit less than an inch thick. Grease a casserole, arrange the slices, top with a dab of butter, followed by a pinch of brown sugar. You can sprinkle a bit more brown sugar and butter around them. Heat it up till the brown sugar and butter kinda melt together.
      I was going to do something fancier, but no, this was Mom’s, and it is a fond memory.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Jimmy Jack says:

      I’m sorry for your loss. We lost our Dad this year too. He always did Thanksgiving dinner when we were growing up and always provided a meal for a family in need a each year as well. He was a great guy. I’m thankful to have my sister with me this year.

      I’ll have go find a recipe to share for next year or Christmas.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Labouroflove says:

    I haven’t spent time with family in 17 years.

    Mom died, wife died, they were the glue. Dad’s an ass.

    Enjoy family, whilst you have it.


    Liked by 3 people

  8. Timmy-the-Ute says:

    When basting I like White Zinfandel and butter. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kathy says:


    “I carved my turkey with a chainsaw; is the chain grease going to adversely affect my turkey?”

    “How do you carve a turkey when all of its bones have been broken?” (This caller had wrapped his turkey in a towel and stomped on it until it finally fit into the roasting pan.)

    “What’s the best way to cook a turkey that’s been frozen for since 1969?”

    “Why won’t my turkey stop bubbling?” (Yep, this caller had rinsed her turkey with soapy water before roasting.)

    “How do you thaw a frozen Butterball?” (Well, this may have been the knowledge the caller hoped to gain when she picked up the phone. Before the end of the conversation, however, the caller realized she had a much bigger problem. Days earlier, she had buried her turkey in a snowbank and, because of the heavy new snow that had fallen overnight, she no longer had any idea of its location.)


  10. freq says:

    brine the bird… or go home…


  11. Donna in Oregon says:

    16 oz pumpkin puree
    1 can sweetened condensed milk
    1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
    4 eggs
    1 yellow cake mix
    1 cup butter, melted
    1 cup pecan halves
    nonstick baking spray
    Heat oven to 350°F.

    Spray a 9×13″ baking pan with nonstick baking spray.

    In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice and eggs.

    Sprinkle 2/3 cup cake mix in the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with pumpkin mixture.

    Sprinkle remaining cake mix atop cake, drizzle with butter and top with pecan halves.

    Bake for 24-28 minutes, or until the center of the cake is set.

    Remove and cool before slicing. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

    Recipe Notes
    A cross between a cobbler and a pan pie, this easy dessert is a must-try autumn favorite. Buttery, crumbled topping, sweet spiced pumpkin filling. Serves 12.

    Enjoy this recipe or try these easy upgrades:

    Flavor Swap. Instead of yellow cake, try a Spice Cake mix for extra seasonal flavor.
    Add Booze. Swap half the butter in the recipe for bourbon. So much caramel flavor in that final pie! YUM!
    Get Saucy. Serve slices of this pie topped with your favorite caramel sauce. Too good for words.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Betty says:

      I read freq’s comment: Brine the bird… or go home. I guess I skipped right over your name and date because when I saw Ingredients and started reading all I could think is “what the heck kind of a brine is this?” Not saying I wouldn’t try it.


    • amwick says:

      Wis I had seen this earlier. Looks wonderful! Ty


  12. standlow says:

    In recent years I have found that making the gravy in my electric fondue pot is really nifty. Gravy stays warm the whole dinner long.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. chpet says:

    Because my daughter and son-in-law are nurses and have to work tonight on Thanksgiving, we had our celebration last night. We used the Jack Daniels turkey brine that starts off this thread. Copy this one off and keep, Treepers – this made the most moist turkey ever!!! Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. amwick says:

    I made mashed potato casserole. Do you think 4 lbs of potatoes is enough for 6 people?


  15. Someone posted a video on this thread that involved mixing butter, parsley, lemon zest and stuffing it under the skin of the turkey and then smear leftovers over the top. I tried it today and it was wonderful. Very moist turkey! I only cook half a turkey and I used Earth Balance instead of butter because I am lactose intolerant. Thanks for the idea!


  16. amwick says:

    About leftovers???


  17. Katherine McCoun says:

    We have some lovely friends that I call my sophisticated friends. Everything they do, even their chicken coup and their garden, could be featured in a magazine. I have always said that if we had bought our country place near theirs we could have been the “before” and they certainly could be a fantastic “after”. Anyway, several years ago, they had an appetizer of bacon wrapped dates. Utterly fantastic! And looked fabulous.

    I then tried to do them at our house for Christmas. They at least tasted yummy (bacon, dates – what is not to like there?!) but looked like a hot mess, unraveled, unevenly cooked, toothpicks at odd angles and burnt… Now I don’t even try for the looks and we like them even better.

    Bacon Date Balls:
    1 lb bacon, bake in oven until crispy (we buy the Whole Foods store brand)
    When bacon is finished baking, use tongs to remove from the baking dish and let cool on a plate.
    Don’t drain completely as some fat still on the bacon makes the date balls that much better. Save fat from baking dish for later use (on the turkey, cooking breakfast eggs, etc.)

    1/4-1/2 lb pitted dates (Costo sells good quality dates at a good price)

    Break bacon in half and drop into food processor. (Eat NO more than 2 slices or you won’t have enough to make the effort of making the date balls worth it – learn from experience and giving into temptation!) Add dates to the food processor a few at a time, checking for pits. Turn on food processor until thoroughly chopped and mixed. Check for consistency and taste. Needs to have enough dates to be sweet and to hold form when rolled. Empty into a bowl and then roll into bite size balls. Insert toothpick and refrigerate until serving as this helps them “set”. You can pull them out early as neither the bacon or the dates will spoil from setting out for a little while.

    Such a yummy snack! This is a great recipe for children to help make.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Katherine McCoun says:

    We had this Pumpkin “Pie” today and it was fantastic! I say pie in quotes as I made it without a crust as we are grain free in our diet. I used organic sweetened condensed milk in my pie for the first time. I no longer tolerate eggs but Pumpkin Pie is my favorite so I wanted to be able to make one I could eat along with my husband and son so found this recipe.

    The only things I changed were switching Potato Starch for Corn starch (and it worked fine) and for the spices I used allspice And clove and used 1/2 t of nutmeg instead of 1/4 t. Lastly, I tried just mixing it all but the spices wouldn’t blend so poured mixture into blender and gave it a whirl. Perfectly mixed and baked beautifully. Delighted with this recipe!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Katherine McCoun says:

    As a grainless “dressing”/side dish for our Thanksgiving dinner, I had success with this mixture:
    1 stick butter, melted
    5 lg celery stalks, diced
    5 lg portabella mushrooms, diced
    2 small packages of roasted chestnuts (they come in smaller packages in a large box from Costco)
    1 package of Bourbon sausage (from whole foods), links, chopped
    Salt to taste
    I think I also added some chopped fresh parsley and a little garlic powder. I meant to add sage but forgot.

    Sautéed it all together and let it cook down a bit. Nice side to the turkey as it was carb like (esp with the chestnuts), spicy (esp. with the sausage), rich (sausage and butter) and dressing like flavor with the butter, spices and celery.

    We enjoyed it and thought I would share have reading several others on the thread mentioning being grain free.

    Also, Fantastic success using bacon fat with fresh chopped spices to rub down our turkey, under the skin, etc. Turned out beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Katherine McCoun says:

    If you bought a good quality turkey, Please don’t throw away the bones! Day after Thanksgiving now and the pressure cooker is full of turkey bones for delicious bone broth. Turkey broth is my top favorite broth. We don’t even make it fancy with other veggies or seasonings. Just the bones. We use the pressure cooker and do 2 batches. the first batch is richer but the 2nd batch is good too. After that the broth comes out too watery to make it work the time and effort. Great for soup bases, can freeze and use in a few weeks or for a warm soup in Jan. Or just to sip on a cold morning or evening. Great nutrition and stretching your food budget dollars!


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