At the start of the 2022 NFL season we talked a little bit about “Homegating” for those fans outside of Jacksonville and what we loved doing for those who couldn’t tailgate before games at TIAA Bank Field, but there’s an often forgotten aspect of homebrewing that’s where you meet. Doing with the whole family, Thanksgiving. If you think about it, Thanksgiving is like a back door to the OG. What do you generally do for Thanksgiving when you get together with your family? You hang out, cook a lot of food and often drink waiting for the festivities to start.
It looks a lot like Tail, just at home. So, homegating.
I don’t belong to a big family, and neither does my wife. My parents have moved back to Iowa since my dad retired and my younger brother and his wife and kids live on a farm in the Carolinas, so in Jacksonville for the holidays he usually spends with my wife’s family and we have a nice relaxed get together. We don’t do a lot of special things for Thanksgiving, but one thing I realized we started without thinking about was trying to find reasons to use a different protein than turkey at Thanksgiving. We usually always have turkey, but recently in the past few years we’ve subconsciously begun to stray away from the traditional protein for the holiday.
A few years ago, I made a prime rib that was a huge hit, left the turkey wanting on the table, and went cold… reserved for leftover cold turkey sandwiches the next day. It was a huge hit and served with our little family all together, there were only three meat eaters, and I left plenty of great leftovers for next week. After that it became more like a little game. “What can I do instead of a boring turkey?” I was asking myself before Thanksgiving. One year, I did a smoked pork chop, which was a huge hit. I almost did some ribs for Thanksgiving, but I felt that was too ambitious and I haven’t done it yet. We even did fried turkey for one season and it was kind of anything. I mean, it’s turkey. There is a lot you can do with it.
This year I think I’m going to do some picanha, which has been my go-to for the past few months. My grocery store suddenly started carrying whole sirloin caps (aka picanha) for super cheap, so I keep buying it every couple of weeks, cutting it into steaks and eating it really well. I did an experiment with picanha this past weekend, smoking it at about 350 degrees for a little over an hour and then sliced it and roasted it really hard. Kind of reverse roasting a steak, but just smoke it first instead of oven heating. Let me tell you… whew. It was perfect. I think I’ve found my go-to for Thanksgiving this year and the best thing is I can take the whole sirloin cover and sit outside with a nice, smoky drink and do some nice housework.
While we’re on the topic of Thanksgiving, I have to present what appears to be some heatedly debated take on sides and desserts. For example, the best side for Thanksgiving is the green bean dish. I don’t care what anyone says, you mix up some green beans, cream of mushroom and sautéed onions… There’s just something about this mix that marries really well together. On the dessert side, I’m going to die on this hill until the end of time, but sweet potato pie beats pumpkin pie.
What are some weird traditions or hot things you have for Thanksgiving?