Nelson’s Full Proof Thanksgiving Turkey & Stuffing Recipe

My sister recently asked me for my Thanksgiving recipes.  We don’t usually spend Thanksgiving together because my wife’s family is very large and some don’t live in New Jersey.  I therefore tend to spend Thanksgiving with her side of the family and we host the meal because our house has the biggest dining room.  I would need a large catering hall just to fit my family and my wife’s so I don’t generally spend Thanksgiving with my family.  We make up for this in other ways by spending other holidays together or just getting together for no reason.  A few years ago when my father was gravely ill in hospital (he passed away shortly after Thanksgiving) we didn’t feel like spending Thanksgiving with anyone so I decided we would just have a quiet meal alone, just my sister’s family my mom and us.  Well it was a magical meal.  Everything came together perfectly.  The Turkey was just right, the stuffing was delicious and all the side dishes all came out excellent!  I am my biggest critic and there are few meals I where I give myself a 10 out of 10 but  this was one of those rare perfect 10 moments.  In the midst of all the anguish and heartache we were going through with my dad’s situation those few hours were an oasis from the stress and anxiety of seeing my dad in a coma.   I have been cooking the Thanksgiving meal for years but I never wrote down the recipe.  After my sister asked for it I decided not only to write it down for her but to share it here on the blog.  Thanksgiving isn’t Portuguese but there is a large component of blog followers and members of the Facebook group that come from the USA and most of them celebrate Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday since it is agnostic and features an animal protein that almost all religions, ethnic groups and nationalities can enjoy.  It also isn’t as commercialized as Christmas and with that comes a certain wholesomeness that just makes the day extra special.  A few things to note about my process for Thanksgiving: (1) It is going to take time to make the perfect Turkey and stuffing so plan ahead. (2) Making your own poultry stock is essential as it will be used to brine the turkey and flavor the stuffing. (3) Brining is essential and the key to success for a perfect turkey.  People ask me all the time what the secret is to my moist turkey and I always say brine yet they tend to skip this step and then wonder why it didn’t come out the way I made it. Brining provides no only moisture while cooking but it also infuses the turkey with flavor.  The big secret to brine is that it salts the bird.  Salt is the single most important flavoring agent of any dish.

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