In the years since the first Thanksgiving, families throughout the U.S. have created their own culinary traditions, separate from the archetypal choices. Some opt to forego turkey for Cornish game hens, beef tenderloin, or honey spiraled ham. Some would rather buy cheap, canned jellied cranberries than create their own concoction.
For chefs, Thanksgiving is not only an opportunity to feast on creamy mashed potatoes and savory cornbread stuffing, but also a chance to showcase one’s mastery of family dishes. In fact, for Jack Gilmore, owner of Jack Allen’s Kitchen, and his son Bryce Gilmore, owner of Barley Swine, Thanksgiving can never truly be considered a “holiday.” While their family and friends look on, they are still working just as vigorously as they do in their day-to-day routines, baking, simmering, and sautéing every dish. So what is it like in the Gilmore home on Thanksgiving? Here, the father and son give Texas Monthly a short glimpse into their normal Thanksgiving feast and share three of their most beloved recipes from the feast.
Jack: “Thanksgiving for our family has always been about family, friends, food, and folks in need. We like to invite those on our staff who don’t have a place to go over Thanksgiving, over to our home. I always want this holiday to be about taking care of those in need, and of course making some incredible food–Thanksgiving is always a great time at the Gilmores. The day of [Thanksgiving,] we usually wake up early and go play football with a bunch of friends. Then we get home hungry and it is time to cook some birds. It is tradition to do three birds at our house. We usually fry a bird, roast a bird and smoke a bird. There is a lot of turkey happening. Mama Lu makes killer desserts while Bryce, Dylan and I do the rest–including my favorite tamale jalapeno corn stuffing. And if we’re not tailgating that day, we are definitely watching the Horns on TV.”
Bryce: “Andouille and oyster stuffing is a dish my father used to make. My favorite memories of Thanksgiving involve waking up to the smell of stock simmering on the stove and helping prepare the meal for that day. My dad would invite people from the restaurant that didn’t have anywhere else to go, so some Thanksgivings were shared with up to 30 people. It was always lots of fun.”
Chile Rubbed Fried Turkey, courtesy of Jack Gilmore
1 outdoor cooker*
1 stock pot (40 quart-size)
1-2 oven mitts
1 deep-fry thermometer
1 meat thermometer
1 [pair of] pliers
1 clothes hanger
*Note: Do not do cook this dish inside. Outside works best as this keep the kids and pets away from burners.
¾ cup red chile powder
½ cup cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar
½ kosher salt In a small bowl, mix together all of the ingredients well.
1 cup butter (melted)
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup Tabasco
In a small sauce pan, simmer all of the ingredients for approximately 10 minutes and then allow this to cool down before use.
3-4 gallons frying oil
14-16 pounds turkey (dry), defrosted with the insides removed
1 chile rub
First, fill the syringe with the injection liquid and begin to inject all parts, using most of the mixture on the breast. Then, rub the entire bird generously with the chile rub. Set this mixture aside for 30 minutes. Pour the oil in a pot and begin to heat this up to 350˚.
Using a pair of pliers and a clothes hanger, tie one leg to one end of the hanger then other leg to other end of the hanger in a very, very secure manner. This creates a handle about 10 inches long. After the oil is at 350˚, use the oven mitts to slowly place the turkey into the oil (be careful of the splash!). Slowly move the turkey side-to-side roughly every 5 minutes. The cooking time will be 3 to 3½ minutes per pound, or whenever the thermometer reads 180-185˚ in the thickest part of the thigh.
Finally, slowly remove the turkey from the hot oil and let the dish rest about 10 minutes before you begin to carve away.
Tamale and Jalapeño Corn Bread Dressing, courtesy of Jack Gilmore
1 ½ pounds corn bread (use your favorite recipe)
6 tablespoons butter
1 ½ cups onion, chopped
1 ½ cups red bell peppers, chopped
2 cups poblano [peppers], chopped
3 large jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 tablespoon sage (fresh), chopped*
1 ½ tablespoons oregano (dried)
¾ cup cilantro (fresh), chopped
1 ½ cups corn chips, crushed
1 ½ cups corn kernels, can be frozen or fresh (but thaw out before baking)
1 dozen tamales, remove the shuck and chop into 1 inch pieces
3 cups chicken stock
1 ¼ cups cream style canned corn
*Note: The 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh sage can be substituted with 4 teaspoons of dried sage.
Corn bread preparation:
Melt the butter in large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Next, add the onions, bell peppers, poblanos, jalapeños, sage, and oregano into the mix. Begin to sauté until all of the vegetables are tender. Transfer this mixture to a large bowl containing the corn bread. Then, mix in cilantro, corn chips, kernel corn, cream style corn, and heated chicken stock. Add tamales at the end and do not break them up beforehand. Finally, add salt and pepper as needed to increase the overall taste. If the stuffing is considered too dry, just add a little melted butter until dryness leaves.
Pre-heat the oven to 325° and place the butter in a baking dish measuring 13 x 9 x 2 inches. Then, pour the mixture into the baking dish and cover the dish with foil. Next, bake the mixture approximately 45 minutes. Finally, remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes until the stuffing has browned.
Andouille and oyster cornbread stuffing, courtesy of Bryce Gilmore
8 cups dried cornbread, diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ pound andouille sausage, sliced into
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
3 cups chicken stock
3 large eggs, beaten
1 pint oysters, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with vegetable oil. Heat the 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add andouille, onion, celery, bell pepper and jalapeños. Cook, stirring, for 5 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Remove from heat. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine cornbread with stock. Add cooked vegetables, eggs, oysters, scallions, parsley, salt, pepper, cayenne, poultry seasoning, oregano and thyme. Mix all ingredients well. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 1 hour. Remove baking dish from oven, uncover, bake another 20 minutes, until the top of the stuffing is golden brown and crusty.