Chef Melissa Cookston Shares Some Ironclad Thanksgiving Recipes

Tuesday 03rd, November 2020 / 13:01 Written by
Chef Melissa Cookston Shares Some Ironclad Thanksgiving Recipes
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Thanksgiving Turkey & Sides with a Delicious Twist by Celebrity Chef Melissa Cookston!

Whether you’re a turkey or side dish fanatic, the same menu at your family’s Thanksgiving gathering can become old and boring year after year. Celebrity chef and judge on Netflix’s new food show “American Barbecue Showdown” Melissa Cookston will have you receiving all the thanks this holiday with her delicious Thanksgiving sides!

Melissa Cookston Thanksgiving

Recipes and photos credit Melissa Cookston at Melissa Cookston.com.

“One of the reasons I love to smoke turkey for the holidays (or really, anytime) is the nuanced flavor and texture that smoking it adds to turkey. Generally, I try not to overwhelm any meat I cook with smoke, and with turkey that is especially important, and the neutral flavor palate of turkey is easily overwhelmed. Poultry doesn’t have the collagens to break down over a long cooking time, like pork or even beef does, so it doesn’t have to go “low and slow.” I cook turkeys in my smoker at 275 to 300 degrees, as I think this is a good combination of allowing smoked flavors to develop while not drying out the turkey.”

HOLIDAY SMOKED TURKEY

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 lb. Whole Turkey
  • ¼ cup of Memphis BBQ Company Ultimate BBQ Rub, or your favorite rub blend
  • 4 tablespoons cold salted butter chopped into small pieces
  • 2 oz. fresh sage sprigs
  • 2 oz. fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 medium onion peeled and quartered
  • 1 medium lemon quartered
  1. Rinse turkey, then slide butter pieces under skin around the breast area.
  2. Season turkey inside and out with BBQ Rub.
  3. Fold wing tips under themselves to form a “platform.”
  4. Place in a pan, uncovered, in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight to allow turkey to marinate and skin to dry.
  5. Remove from fridge, stuff cavity with herbs, onion and lemon, then place in 250-degree smoker, using apple or cherry wood.
  6. After 2 hours, remove from smoker, place a meat thermometer (with an external reading) in the thigh, being careful to not place it touching a bone, and wrap fully in heavy duty aluminum foil, then return to smoker. As the thigh temperature gets close to 170 degrees, check the breast temperature with another thermometer. It should read about 10 degrees cooler. After the breast achieves 160 degrees and the thigh reaches 170 degrees, remove from smoker, place in an insulated cooler and allow to rest.
  7. Check the temperatures after 15-20 minutes and ensure the breast temperature rose above 165 degrees (safety zone for poultry).
  8. Continue to keep in cooler until ready to serve. Turkey may then be placed on a platter for carving at the table, or my preference is to carve on a cutting board and plate the meat on a platter for serving (much easier than trying to carve over a table!)

“Good side items at any BBQ party are mandatory, and with a little work can be the star of the show!  At any outdoor picnic, baked beans are good.  However, maple chipotle baked beans made from scratch are awesome!  Revel in the recipe requests from your friends and family, soak up the adoration from those poor souls still making baked beans from a can.  Yes, you too can win “Battle Baked Bean” (and fool everybody into thinking it was hard work!)”

MAPLE CHIPOTLE BAKED BEANS FROM SCRATCH

Melissa Cookston Thanksgiving

Ingredients:

  • 1-pound northern beans soaked overnight
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • ½ bell pepper green or red, diced
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ maple syrup
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon basic BBQ Rub

Drain soaked beans, then place in stockpot and cover with water to about 1″ above beans. Bring to a boil then simmer for 1 hour, adding water if necessary. Drain beans.

Cook Smithfield bacon in a pan until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, leaving rendered fat in pan. Crumble bacon after it cools.

Melissa Cookston Thanksgiving

Add onions and bell peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened but not translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large baking dish add beans, onion/pepper/garlic mix from skillet and remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Bake for 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender and liquids have thickened around beans. Serve!

“Deviled eggs are among the most Southern of items, and you absolutely must have a recipe available to you.  Take heart, they’re exceedingly simple.  However, sometimes you need to freshen up a classic recipe, and the addition of a simple, chive-truffle vinaigrette takes them to a whole new level.” 

SOUTHERN DEVILED EGGS WITH CHIVE-TRUFFLE VINAIGRETTE

Melissa Cookston Thanksgiving

Ingredients:

For the Eggs:

  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 tablespoons mayo
  • 2.5 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon white truffle oil

To make the eggs:

Cut eggs in half and separate yolks. With a fork, break up yolks, then add relish, mayo and salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings, or mayo if stuffing looks too dry. If you’re being fancy, place egg yolk stuffing in a piping bag and pipe into eggs. Otherwise, you can just spoon the stuffing back into the eggs. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up.

To make the vinaigrette:

  1. If you like whisking a lot, you can make this in a small bowl with a whisk. I prefer using a blender, an immersion blender, or a food processor (depending on how much I am making.)
  2. In a separate container, pour olive oil and truffle oil together. Add all ingredients except oils to bowl and whisk or blend thoroughly. While blending, slowly drizzle oil blend into dressing to form an emulsion.

Either using a squeeze bottle, or a spoon, drizzle vinaigrette dressing over eggs and serve.

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