Topic: Barbecues & Grills

Date Posted: Thursday, November 13, 2014
Posted by: Tanya Zanfa (Master Admin)

Celebrate Thanksgiving the Traditional Way: Outside

Celebrate Thanksgiving the Traditional Way: Outside

Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association and National Turkey Federation Offer Grill, Smoker and Fryer Tips for Cooking a Safe, Delicious and Authentic Thanksgiving Meal

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- When the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags sat down to celebrate the harvest and give thanks together for the first time, the meal was largely cooked over an open fire and was even eaten outside. In the nearly 400 years since, cooking the Thanksgiving feast on an open flame has retained its appeal.

Nearly 60 percent of online U.S. grill owners cook outdoors year-round, according to research from the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), and 11 million U.S. households will fire up the grill this Thanksgiving. In recent years, turkey has been gaining ground as favorite grilling item, but vegetables, side dishes and desserts also taste great from the grill.*

"Cooking the feast outside offers a return to tradition, as well as an invigorating event for the whole family," says Jack Goldman, HPBA president and CEO. "Whether it's the turkey, sides, appetizers or desserts, they all taste great cooked outdoors. And moving even part of the cooking outside saves space in the kitchen and makes cleanup a snap."

The National Turkey Federation (NTF) estimates 46 million turkeys will be cooked this season. Turkeys can be fried in less than an hour, smoked over low heat for several hours or bronzed to perfection on a grill.

When planning to use the grill, smoker or fryer to prepare any or all of the feast, HPBA encourages consumers to review all safety information prior to cooking.

"Consumers should read their owner's manual and make sure their grill, smoker or fryer is in proper working order," Goldman says. "Remember that outdoor cooking equipment is meant to be used outdoors only and should be placed on a flat, stable surface -- preferably on a protective grill pad -- and away from any combustible materials."

This year, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) and National Turkey Federation (NTF) encourage consumers to cook their holiday meal as the original celebrants might have. Here's how:

Make the Bird the Centerpiece of the Day, from Cooking to Eating:
Gather the family around the grill, smoker or fryer to cook the turkey together. Take turns basting and seasoning the bird, while enjoying cocktails and conversation (and maybe a little touch football). Using the grill, smoker or fryer makes the turkey your focal point, bringing on the "oohs" and "aahs" even before it hits the table. HPBA has lots of suggestions for grilling, smoking or frying a turkey and many more recipes can be found online.

Honor the Original Harvest by Cooking your Vegetables on the Open Fire:
Much of the original Thanksgiving meal included local vegetables from the New England region. This year, consider cooking your Thanksgiving vegetables on the grill. Whether it's Brussels sprouts, butternut squash or even green beans, grilling adds rustic flavor and texture to your vegetables. HPBA offers several farm-to-grill recipes and many more can be found online.

Beyond the Pumpkin Pie:
The Pilgrims used their fires to stew their pumpkins and to turn out pies and other desserts. Try it yourself, with pumpkin or even apple or blueberry pies and cobblers, using some of the new outdoor cooking appliances that make nearly anything possible. Try these recipes and use some new outdoor baking techniques. They make pies and other grilled desserts—think cherry chocolate pizzas or grilled banana sundaes—a snap.

Serve a Turkey that Would Make Norman Rockwell Smile:
Nothing says "Thanksgiving" like a beautifully bronzed turkey. To make your bird look and taste the way it did when you were a kid, try brining it with apple cider and cooking it in a smoker or any ceramic dome grill. Firing up your grill's rotisserie will also deliver that juicy, mahogany bird we see in the pictures. Here are more ways to make your turkey look, and taste, perfect.

For more great grilling tips, resources and recipes, please visit, BBQ 365 and

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