I’m not going to lie, when I was asked how to cook Thanksgiving when you live in an RV, my first thought was to just head to a restaurant. You see, in my house, I’m the Martha Stewart of Thanksgiving. I have a full fledge dinner on the table at 4:00pm, wine chilled and paired, plus appetizers have streamed out of my kitchen all day long. I know, I have perfection issues when it comes to cooking the perfect meal for Thanksgiving. But cooking this big dinner is a tad bit different when you have an itty bitty cooking and prep space.
Prep, Prep, Prep!
Stick to simple, delicious recipes when cooking Thanksgiving in your RV. Head to Pinterest for a great turkey recipe or here is My Famous Drunken Turkey Recipe for the best tasting bird you will ever eat. The day before T-Day, brine your turkey! Cut the vegetables you will use to roast with the bird and for all your side dishes – get the prep work done ahead of time. Unless you have a large fridge in your RV, make use of your coolers to either store all the Thanksgiving prep items or to clear out your fridge of beverages and condiments – you need room!
Prep the Bird
Remove the turkey from the brine, pat dry with paper towels. Rub slightly melted butter all over the skin and inside the cavity. Put your root vegetables down in the pan, place a wire rack down inside the pan, then rest the turkey breast side down. Fill the cavity with a quartered onion, garlic, and an apple. Cover the bird with cheesecloth. If you are following my Drunken Turkey Recipe, cover the cheesecloth with the basting mixture.
If you don’t have a roasting pan that fits perfectly, use an aluminum pan (12x10x2.5) and double up to hold the weight of the turkey. I also recommend having a 3-Tier Oven Rack on hand to maximize the space in your oven!
Estimate that the turkey will take 4-5 hours to cook. Halfway through, turn the turkey over using turkey tongs (trust me, best $8 I ever spent). Whatever you do – keep basting!
At this halfway point, enjoy a little wine and bring out your side dishes from the cooler. If you didn’t make them the day before, cut up the potatoes and start them on a slow boil on the stovetop. I make Pancetta Cheddar Mashed Potatoes (crazy addictive) the night before and put in a baking pan to heat up the last hour. You can also make it on the stove during this halfway point – it takes a couple hours to pull together. Trust me, worth it.
Put your green been casserole into a baking dish and any other side you want to serve. When you pull the turkey out, all of the remaining side dishes go in the oven as they should take 30-45 minutes to cook. The turkey needs to rest for at least 30 minutes before you start carving it. It typically takes me 15 minutes to carve the turkey and put on a presentation plate. When I start carving is when I toss the dinner rolls into the oven.
Put all of the drippings and root vegetables from the pan into a mixing bowl. Use an immersion blender to mix them altogether. If you used My Drunken Turkey Recipe, you won’t have to add anything else to make the gravy.