Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner is About Adapting and Persevering

By Joe Cowan

Director of Operations

For those of you cooking on Thanksgiving this year, remember to expect a few bumps on the way to your big dinner. This past Saturday, I was set to execute a menu very closely resembling the content of our E-book, but slightly modified for some allergies. It was manageable but still somewhat ambitious. After baking two pies, apple and blueberry, a pumpkin spice Bundt cake, some bread and the cranberry sauce the night before, I was on track. After preparing a big pot of oatmeal to feed everyone staying with us, my propane tank suddenly went dry. The turkey was stuffed and ready to go in the oven, sitting on the counter with about eight hours of baking to go. It was a moment that I will remember for a long time.

At a time like this, one may be tempted to stop and find the easiest way out of the situation. Take-out Chinese food was a serious consideration that ran through my head. But with the amount of food we had prepped, as well as my pride to contend with, take-out was not an option. I was sitting outside on the porch, contemplating what to do, when it hit me. I could light some wood and smoke the turkey on my Big Green Egg grill. I had some apple tree branches that I cut this past summer, that were nicely dried for smoking. Asher and my friend Thom cut some chunks with a hatchet, and we went to it. 

Eight hours later, after everything was cooked, the propane company showed up to do an emergency refill! Luckily, the smoked turkey had turned out amazingly well, given the situation. It was a little bit nerve wracking, but in the end, we had all persevered. I am positive that many people have a much more dramatic and harrowing holiday meal story. But if you find yourself in that position, the best advice I can give is to stay calm, think through a plan that is familiar, and then improvise, adapt, and overcome.



8 slices of turkey breast

6 freshly cracked walnuts

¼ cup cranberry sauce

1 tsp Dr. Cowan’s Garden Pepper Salt


  1. Take slices of turkey and spread cranberry sauce over them. Place one or two pieces of walnut in the center and roll up. Sprinkle Pepper Salt over the top.

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