Smoked Turkey & Dinner for 12: Our Thanksgiving Report

Thanksgiving 2010

Many of you kindly shared your Thanksgiving tables with us, and now it's time for us to share ours! Emma and I teamed up for a big friends-and-family Thanksgiving dinner this year at my house, and it was a festive feast. We planned out a multi-course meal, with some of the courses plated ahead of time. How did this work? Read on to see!

Honestly, we felt that it was a smashing success. It helped slow down the dinner, and I actually found it less stressful! In fact, this was one of the least stressful dinner parties I've ever helped throw. That's partly because we were doing it together, and partly because the food didn't all have to come to the table at once. Instead of juggling 10 dishes and getting them warmed, we started with a salad and an amuse-bouche.

Then, after everyone ate their salad, Emma and I retired to the kitchen, where I finished off the Brussels sprouts and she pulled the sweet potato dishes (in individual ramekins) out of the oven where they were warming.

After all that, we had a little bit of palate-cleansing pomegranate and grapefruit sorbet, brought to the table in pretty glass cups.

And then on to the main course! The mashed potatoes were staying warm in a Crock-Pot, the gravy was warm on the stove, and the dark turkey meat was shredded in its own Crock-Pot. All we had to do was slice the smoked turkey breast, and bring it all to the table. Easy-peasy! We passed the platters of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy for this course, and it was very properly family-style. (As at least part of Thanksgiving should be!) The smoked turkey, from a local food truck, was amazing. My only problem with it, though, was that everyone grabbed the barbecue sauce from it, and my lovely gravy was rather neglected. (Oh well, more leftovers for me!)

We actually spent very little time in the kitchen, and we knew all the guests were happily chatting at the table, finishing up their wine for each course, and enjoying each other's company. It was so low-stress, to string out the courses a bit.

After the turkey and stuffing-eating slowed down, we took a long break, had a glass of wine in the living room, then came back for pie.

It was definitely one of the best Thanksgiving dinners we've ever had, and I am a big fan of doing the courses like this now

Related: Happy Thanksgiving! Our Readers' Thanksgiving Tables - Thanksgiving 2010

(Images: Faith Durand; Emma Christensen)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.