It’s Time to Get Festive!
I feel like I start to officially come out of my entertaining hibernation this time of year. Truthfully, the Summer months are a total buzz kill here in the South! If you don’t have a pool you’re better off inside. So when mid-late October rolls around I start to get so excited about having friends over again and officially opening up our back yard!
Prepping for Company
We’ve spent the past few weekends getting our yard back in shape after the Summer rain and heat took their toll and I’m loving the fresh feel it has, which in turn makes entertaining feel doable again! There’s nothing quite like inviting your best friends over for a home cooked meal and good wine under the twinkle lights.
Dinner for 20!
And Ryan has been so excited to break out our Traeger grill and whip up a few new recipes! Just last week we had about 20 friends over and he smoked THREE CHICKENS that he had brined with three different recipes. They were all a H-I-T! Everyone loved them, and it was such a fun way to really dive into Fall with some good old fashioned smokey Fall flavors!
Thanksgiving Chicken/Turkey Brine Recipe
The chicken we decided as a group we were the most obsessed with was the one with savory Thanksgiving-style brine recipe. And that was great news since our goal was to test it out on a chicken before committing to a full Turkey at Thanksgiving. And now, something tells me that is exactly what we will be doing! The recipe used is the Simple Turkey Brine adapted from Bon Appétit (with a few major differences – our method is spelled out below) on an organic whole chicken and it was excellent!
I do want to mention that this recipe does not require a smoker, but having one does add a whole other level of fun and tastiness you can’t get any other way!
- Traeger Rub*
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 carrot, peeled, diced
- 1 large onion, peeled, diced
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- 2 large sprigs thyme
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
*The Traeger Rub is non-negotiable, I promise it makes the recipe!
**recipe adapted from Bon Appétit
- Add 5-6 quarts of cool water to a large pot (that will enable you to fully submerge the chicken or turkey – add more if necessary). Mix in salt and sugar until it is dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together.
- Place bird in the pot and make sure it is fully submerged, weighing it down if necessary. Cover and immediately refrigerate for up to 48 hours (we brined for about 20 hours). The longer it brines, the juicier it will be!
- At your chosen time, remove chicken from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. Gather some of brined ingredients and stuff the chicken and truss with cooking twine.
- Liberally season with Traeger Rub. Don’t be shy with it!
And voila! You are now ready for the smoker or your preferred cooking method (We used our Traeger Eastwood 22 Series with the Signature Blend pellets, smoking for 2 1/2 – 3 hours at 225 degrees and until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove from grill – the internal temperature will rise to 165 as the chicken rests). Enjoy!
Truthfully, I’m not even sure we will need turkey this Thanksgiving, the chicken was seriously unreal!
Over the past few months we have used our Traeger Eastwood 22 Series more times than I can count. We’ve made desserts like these smoked peaches and this chocolate tart. We’ve done hams for Easter, steaks, burgers, and of course chicken. It’s one of those things that we didn’t quite know we needed until we got it.
Plus, I love that it gets Ryan so excited! He loves having friends over for something “smoked”… It has easily become the favorite in our backyard.
But honestly, I can’t wait to see what we come up with this holiday season, because I’m READY to live outside after being cooped up these past few months! Bring on the candle lit backyard dinners!
In partnership with Home Depot and Traeger Grills.