For the first Thanksgiving in years--if not ever--dinner did not end with my father cocking an ear towards the darkening outside and whispering, "What's that? Do you hear it? That... sound? IT'S THE TURKEY HEADS!!!! THEY'RE HERE FOR THEIR BODIES!!!!" Not to say that Mike and I didn't discuss this 30 year old tradition, but we were occupied with other things, like smoking our 8-pound bundle of chicken-lovin':
We went with hickory chips (the choices in stores were rather slim: hickory or mesquite, and we both agreed that mesquite would be good for pork or beef...), and that shot above is of Mike replenishing the soaked wood chips. It didn't take long for the immediate neighborhood to smell straight up delicious, though it was hard to say what smelled better: the smokin' or re-entering the house to the scent of roasting squash, stuffing, and spiced nuts.
Below is a shot of the smoking in progress (the little fruits are halved pomegranates which I used when making the gravy later on--mostly for the smoky juice):
This is a bad, bad, bad shot of Mike that I took after I showed him how my fancy digital SLR works (he may kill me for this, but he also should already know I POST SHIT LIKE THIS). For the knitter in all of us, that's a hat I made for Mike a couple of years ago. It's from SnB the first, I believe--Hot Head? Anyway, it was knit flat, and then (poorly) seamed, and the only way Mike knows which side is front is to look for the "crap in the back":
Our little Mr. Ecko tells us we're good and smoked:
It is at this point that I can tell you just how god-fearing amazing that chicken tasted. I mean, it smelled good. It tasted... LIKE BACON.
No meal is complete without inviting a killer fern from outer space:
And in true American fashion, I prepared way too much food for even just the two of us:
From bottom center and clock-wise, that's some GF dinner rolls, a bottle of wine from Chaddsford, me and my plate of kibble, roasted butternut squash with carmelized onions and dried cranberries, KitchenAid mixenated red bliss potatoes with feta, whole berry cranberry relish, cornbread stuffing with andouille sausage, broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower, smoked chicken, and Mike's plate of bits. Not pictured are the spiced pecans and the cinnamon French vanilla ice cream I made.
I did well in terms of not overstuffing myself (though I will confess to eating while wearing track pants), and I didn't take any seconds. The same cannot be said for Mike, however:
That's my boy on thirds and fourths. Yes, his hand is moving that fast. I'm surprised his head's not also blurry since he was in a veritable feeding frenzy...
Even the cat got in on the thankfulness:
He's most thankful for a belly-full of chicken, though warm laps, treats, and sun-basking on the deck (built just for him, natch) are high on his list, too.
Next up: an overdue craft update, followed by how to make the most of your leftovers (or, my leftovers).