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Celebrate Thanksgiving by Camping!
For many people, Thanksgiving means gathering friends and family around the table for a delicious (and maybe too filling) meal, but why not change things up this year and celebrate Thanksgiving around a camp fire? Doing so could take your annual traditions to a whole new level.
Here are a few suggestions for making your Thanksgiving at the campground as successful as it can be. First of all, keep it simple. Forget about trying to make your table look like something out of a home and garden magazine. When you’re camping, you already have plenty of décor — nature! Secondly, don’t try to do everything yourself. Having a potluck-style Thanksgiving dinner is a great way to create camaraderie, and it will be much more relaxing for you. And, speaking of relaxing, the more prep work (dicing, chopping, etc.) you can do at home, the easier things will be at the campground.
Here are a few recipes to consider:
Charcoal Grilled Turkey | Camping Café
Naturally, turkey will be the star of the show, and here’s a simple way to prepare your turkey right on the grill. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Charcoal grill with charcoal briquettes
- Meat thermometer
- Turkey (12-14 pounds)
- Butter, oil or broth for basting
- 2 heads of garlic peeled and separated into cloves
- Salt and pepper
- Greek seasoning mix
- Stuffing (optional)
1. Prepare the Grill - You will need to use an indirect method for cooking your turkey. Start by banking your charcoal briquettes on each side of the grill, using approximately 75 briquettes in total and dividing them evenly on each side. When the briquettes are glowing orange and covered with ash, you are ready to place the turkey on the grill.
2. Prepare the Turkey - Your turkey should be at room temperature when placed on the grill, so remove it from the cooler for at least an hour prior to cooking. To prepare the turkey, carefully lift the skin and rub Greek seasoning mix under it. Cut small slits in the turkey and stuff them with cloves of garlic. Liberally season the skin with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey, if desired.
3. Grill the Turkey - Place a drip pan between the two banks of briquettes in the bottom of the grill or place the turkey in a shallow roasting pan. While the turkey is cooking, you can baste it using butter, oil or broth to increase moisture. Be sure to add six briquettes per side each hour. A twelve-to-fourteen pound turkey should take approximately three to four hours to cook, and the internal turkey temperature should be 165 degrees.
Gourmet Tip: You can also place well-soaked wood chips over the briquettes during the first hour of the roasting time to give the turkey a smokier flavor.
Roasted Pumpkin Rice | Dirty Gourmet
This side dish is colorful and tasty! Along with the ingredients listed below, you’ll need a 10 inch/4 quart Dutch oven and foil.
- 9 inch sugar pumpkin (also called a pie pumpkin) or one of a diameter that will fit inside your Dutch oven
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 4-4 ½ cups vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- ½ dried apricots, chopped
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- ½ cup dried barberries or currants soaked in lemon juice
Before you leave home:
1. If using barberries, soak them in warm water for 10 minutes and drain.
2. Melt butter in a skillet set over medium heat and add the dried apricots, walnuts and barberries (or currants).Cook until the fruit is softened, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. In a pot, bring 4 cups of broth to a boil and add the Arborio rice with ½ teaspoon of salt. Simmer with the lid slightly ajar until the rice is cooked, approximately 20 minutes. Check rice after about 10 minutes and make sure there is still some liquid. Add ¼ to ½ cup of water or broth if necessary.
4. Add nut and fruit mixture to rice and mix well. Add salt to taste if desired.
5. Pack it in a watertight container or gallon-sized zip top bag and store in cooler.
At the campground:
1. Start a campfire to build a bed of hot coals.
2. Wash and dry the pumpkin, cut a lid around the stem and set the lid aside. Scrape out the insides of the pumpkin.
3. Place the pumpkin in the Dutch oven and scoop the rice filling into it. Don’t overfull the pumpkin – the pumpkin’s lid should still close tightly.
4. Cover the Dutch oven with a lid, skillet or aluminum foil to create an oven-like condition.
5. Set the Dutch oven directly over the coals in your fire pit.
6. Rotate ¼ turn every 15 minutes until the outside of the pumpkin is slightly soft to the touch and the inside flesh is soft.
7. When done, serve immediately, scraping up bits of pumpkin with the rice.
Pear & Blue Cheese Green Salad | Camping Café
Before you leave home:
Make the dressing by mixing the following ingredients together, then store it in your refrigerator or cooler in a tightly-sealed container. It will keep for up to one week.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 5 large basil leaves, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon honey
At the campground:
Take the dressing out of the refrigerator or cooler and let it come to room temperature. Combine the following ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the dressing:
- 1 Bartlett pear, sliced
- 3/4 c. crumbled blue cheese
- 3/4 c. walnut halves, toasted
- 8 large romaine leaves, torn or equal amount of baby romaine
No Bake Apple Bourbon Cobbler | Fresh Off the Grid
- 4-6 Fuji or other baking apples, sliced ¼" thin
- 1 tablespoon oil or butter
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 ounces bourbon
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups granola
1. In a cast iron skillet, over medium heat, saute the sliced apples in a bit of oil or butter until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the spices, bourbon, and sugar, and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the sauce thickens and the apples are tender, 5-10 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the granola evenly across the top. Enjoy the cobbler straight from the skillet or serve in individual bowls.