Appalachian Food Holidays in Appalachia

My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Favorite thanksgiving recipes

There’ll be lots of cooking going on at the Blind Pig House this week. With Thanksgiving only a few days away the preparations have already started. There’s a couple of dishes that show up on our combined tables every year. Of course there’s the turkey. I think I was an adult before I realized you could eat turkey anytime you wanted to-we only had turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Actually, we still only have it at those times of the year!

The Deer Hunter usually cooks the bird and for the last several years he has went with the deep fry method. There’s always some sort of sweet potato dish on the table along with a deer ham and and a plate of Granny’s deviled eggs.

The recipes below are must haves for our Thanksgiving table-click on them to see all the details.

Now that I’ve shared some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes with you, I hope you’ll leave a comment and share yours too.



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  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    November 23, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    As a child we baked a chicken instead of a turkey but now we have the a Turkey and a Ham, if I’ve been lucky enough to get a Button Buck I have a large Visions Baking dish which exactly fits a shanked Deer Ham which I flour and pepper then brown on all sides in my reserved Bacon Drippings, then lay Bacon across the Ham and add a half glass of water to the Bacon Drippings just before placing the lid on the baking dish so it will hold the team, Cook in a 325 degree preheated oven for two hours, remove the ham and add flour and milk to the dripping on stove eye and salt to taste. This goes well over the meat, mashed potatoes and/or biscuits. My mother who is no longer with us made the best dressing I have ever enjoyed but had no recipe written down since she was a great cook who never used recipes. One thing that is required is cranberry sauce, if it’s not against the law to omit this it should be! We then finish our misery with Pumpkin & Pecan Pies, anyone who leaves the table not stuffed is ridiculed by the rest when we can get our breath to do so.

  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    November 23, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    We always brine our turkey. The recipe for my brine is:
    A big pot of water, 1 c salt, 1 c dark brown sugar, a head of crushed garlic, a large chopped onion, a tablespoon of lightly crushed peppercorns and a cup of citrus peels from whatever citrus fruits we have in the house at the time.
    I bring it all to a boil, cut the fire and let it steep overnight while it cools.
    The next day, we add it to the cleaned turkey in a cooler, breast side down and top the rest off with a bag of ice so the turkey is entirely submerged.
    The day after that, we drain, rinse and roast breast side up – 450 degrees for 30 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and roast until thigh meat registers 160 degrees.
    Voila!!! (If breast becomes too brown, we cover that with foil until the turkey has completed cooking.)
    Our sides are generally mashed white potatoes, dressing, gravy and a vegetable, usually green beans. Some years we may accompany that with mashed sweet potato casserole, or not.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Edwin Ammons
    November 23, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    By the way, I don’t care for cranberry sauce but that stuff that Ocean Spray calls Jellied Cranberry Sauce is goood. I only eat it at Thanksgiving or occasionally with chicken throughout the rest of the year. It’s got to come right out of the can and stand up in a bowl. It’s got to have the groove and ridge imprints from the can. It needs to have a little hole in the top where you poked the knife through the bottom of the can to break the vacuum so the whole thing would come out in one piece.
    Poke a few more holes in the bottom of the can and clean off the label and you have a biscuit cutter par excellence. Makes a good cabbage chopper too but you’ve got to cut the rim off the cutting end and that takes a bit of doing.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    November 23, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing your recipes! That pumpkin roll and the oatmeal rolls look yummy. I do love turkey and dressing (don’t forget the gravy)! I ALWAYS make cornbread dressing (is there any other kind). Lots of celery, onions, and sage. I have never seen it with boiled eggs. I am not a big egg eater, although I do make deviled eggs (but I can only eat mine , I know I’m weird, a phobia from when I was a kid). My son-in-law is not an egg eater either. This time I think I will bake my cornbread with the sage added. The dressing is my favorite. Wednesday I am going to bake my pies, cornbread, make my cranberry sauce, cut my veggies for the dressing etc.,.
    I hope the whole Blind Pig gang has wonderful Thanksgiving!

  • Reply
    Edwin Ammons
    November 23, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    When I was coming up, Thanksgiving was pretty much just another day for my family. Us kids were out of school but it was the time of year to get the tobacco ready to go to market. We needed damp mornings so the leaves didn’t shatter when we worked with them. Foggy mornings were best. The tobacco plant had either been speared or nailed to a stick, hung in the barn and dried. My job was to take them down and carry them to my mother who stripped the leaves and graded them. I pulled the plants off the sticks and piled them where she could reach them. Then I pulled the nails, if there were any, and stacked the sticks back in the barn for another year. I also got to carry away the stalks after the leaves had been stripped.
    If Thanksgiving happened to be a good day to work tobacco, we worked tobacco. If Thanksgiving ever happened to fall on Sunday we probably would have participated more but it seems like it was always on Thursday. If the day turned out too dry to work in the tobacco, Mommy might prepare a special meal or we might walk a mile to Grammaw’s house to eat with her and whoever was visiting with her that day.
    I don’t remember ever eating turkey until I was married. Even then I wasn’t impressed. The only thing I saw that made a turkey better than a chicken was that it holds more stuffing and people don’t even make stuffing like that any more.
    One more thought and I will shut up for today. Most people are looking for days when they don’t have to go to work. Farmers are looking for days when they can do what has to get done. Cows, pigs and chickens don’t get to participate in a Thanksgiving dinner. Turkeys do, but only once! OK that was two thoughts, sorry!

  • Reply
    November 23, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Along with the turkey, I usually have mashed potatoes, string beans, rutabaga/turnip, gravy, stuffing, and cranberry. Depending if I have extra people besides the two of us, I might add some carrots. If it is the two of us which is usual, I don’t make rolls as I probably would eat them all by myself. I am tempted to try to make the oatmeal rolls. They sound absolutely delicious. Dessert depends on what I think about – often apple or cherry pie. Happy Thanksgiving to all readers!

  • Reply
    John Faircloth
    November 23, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Thanks for the pleasure you bring to all of your followers.
    One of our family’s must-haves is a Steamed Cranberry Pudding…a rich cake of sorghum, cranberries and pecans, served warm with a rum or whiskey butter sauce. A great old recipe.
    Filling the heart with gratitude and love will sweep fear out the door like last week’s dust.
    Happy Thanksgiving

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    November 23, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    The Deer Hunter’s Dressing is almost like mine, however, I’ve never eaten it unbaked. Thanksgiving is my favorite time of the year, and this time, along with the turkey, I got Deer meat too. And tomorrow I’ll start fixin’ the cornbread dressing. There’s a lot to do, but it’s worth it!
    Last night when I got home I looked on the porch and saw 23 degrees. And this morning I believe you could track a rabbit in the frost, best one I’ve seen in years. I love Cold Weather anyway…Ken

  • Reply
    Janet Carol Rosenbalm
    November 23, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Dear Tipper,
    Mine is more of memory than recipe! My aunt Carrie lived in the country and we always went to her house for thanksgiving. She had a bedroom where the kids put their plates on her bed draped with sheets and heavy quilts.
    My aunt Carries homemade mashed potatoes were the best mashed potatoes in the world. She hand peeled potatoes all morning.
    My life in East Tennessee used to be more Appalachian then than it is now! People are moving in from our north to live in the mountains. They get over he friendly we are & how simply we live.
    Proud of my heritage!
    Carol Anderson Rosenbalm
    May God bless each one you this thanksgiving!

  • Reply
    November 23, 2015 at 9:36 am

    I love reading about everyone’s Thanksgiving traditions 🙂
    And like Tipper it was many years before I thought of having turkey any time but Thanksgiving and Christmas!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    November 23, 2015 at 9:07 am

    One dish that has become a tradition with us is broccoli casserole. That’s because the fall garden broccoli is ready just in time. I’m really partial to sweet potato casserole to, using home grown sweet potatoes. I like it with pecans but it’s still good without. We’ll have home-canned green beans and probably corn as well and of course mashed potatoes. (See, it is already too much !)
    My wife made her own cranberry sauce last year and it is so much better than canned there is no comparison. Sorry I don’t have the link to the recipe but apparently it is both very basis and very forgiving. It uses 2-3 tablespoons of orange juice and some orange zest but other citrus can be used and the amounts can also be varied. I would not be surprized if apple juice and even minced apple peel would also work very well, especially with an apple like the Yates that has so much of the flavor in the peel.
    I know everyone can’t have a garden and I don’t want to make anyone feel bad but …. home-grown food on the table is a culmination of work and weather for the whole growing season. It is a physical reminder of the blessings of land and the health to work both in the garden and in the kitchen. Add the spice of family and family traditions and – as my boss loves to say – it don’t get no better.
    Gratitude is not, by itself, the secret of life. But it is one of them. I have asked for a richly blessed Thanksgiving for each of you.

  • Reply
    November 23, 2015 at 9:02 am

    I made your Oatmeal Dinner Rolls last year and the grandkids loved them. The pumpkin roll is the best! My cousin was visiting from out of town and asked if she could take the tiny leftover piece back home with her. It was so good that I made another one a few weeks later. The Dollar General Store had their canned pumpkin on clearance for 20 cents a few weeks after last Thanksgiving. I bought them all with Tipper’s pumpkin roll flashing before my eyes.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 23, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Tipper–There are many foodstuffs I associate with the season, but well in the forefront are two desserts Mom always made at Thanksgiving–pumpkin chiffon pie and applesauce cake. She would make several of the latter and most were saved for Christmas, getting the occasional dollop of apple juice or wine to keep them moist in the interim. Filled with black walnuts, raisins, and of course applesauce, they were toothsome to the nth degree.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 23, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Oh my goodness, it’s gonna be so good. It’s always so good that I eat too much then can’t move.
    I love that at every Thanksgiving Dinner my dad is right there present in that dressing that he made, then I made, and now the Deer Hunter makes. My dad started cooking at a very young age. His dad, Crawford, worked in town in the paper mill. His mother, Dollie, worked the farm. That means she took care of pigs, cows, chickens, the garden and preserving food. My dad was the first born of four boys and it fell to him to learn to cook for the family and help take care of the younger boys while she worked outside. He told me that he learned to make biscuits when he was so young he had to stand in a chair to reach the counter top. Times were different then!

  • Reply
    November 23, 2015 at 7:43 am

    We have my wife’s family at our house the Sunday before Thanksgiving. We cooked for most of two days to get ready. There were 35 of us yesterday in a house that at times isn’t big enough for the two of us. Past years have ranged from 28 to 48. It will take me two weeks to get my weight back down.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    November 23, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Hi, Tipper. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Turkey (of course), dressing (my mom always made the best dressing! I’ve gotten so mine is almost as good as hers was), pumpkin pie (or pumpkin roll), pecan pie (or pecan pie mini muffins – a great substitute if you’re not very good at making pecan pie), sweet potato casserole (my kids love, love this) and rolls. I usually make nuts and bolts (my version of chex mix) for everyone to snack on while waiting for dinner. I have a link to some of these recipes on the sidebar of my blog. I love good old fashioned food!

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