Desert Oven+ Campfire=Thanksgiving Day Dinner

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go camping as a way to celebrate Thanksgiving.  I must admit I was a bit intrigued how it would all go down seeing as I’m used to the very traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner, especially the last few years as we’ve been going to my husband’s grandmother’s house in Wyoming to celebrate.  We didn’t have a ton of sides but I wasn’t really disappointed as it just keeps me from eating too much.

My in-laws created what’s known as a desert oven.  You set up four wire cylinders and fill them with charcoal briquets (and ours included coals from the fire as we forgot to bring along lighter fluid…haha).  You surround the cylinders with aluminum foil and cover the bottom inside and exterior with dirt to prevent the heat from escaping.  You also set up three poles inside the desert oven in a teepee formation and use that structure to hang the turkey inside a cooking bag. And, I must say, it works incredibly well.  It gets incredibly hot and in a matter of about three hours, we had a fully cooked bird with only minimal loss of skin that stuck to the bag.

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And we were still able to have some of the traditional sides like potatoes (not mashed, however), biscuits, stuffing, and mini pumpkin pies, which I made.

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The place we went to was incredibly beautiful.  We got to check out an old mine, an old corral, and take lots of photos of the landscape.  It was pretty nice although quite rocky; my husband and I had a rough little hike up to one of the ridge lines.

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And because my father-in-law is a chocoholic like me, we had to bring along a box cake mix and a tub of frosting. Haha. I was pleasantly surprised by how good the cake came out; it was made in a dutch oven over some coals with coals on top of the lid. The cake ended up with a little bit of a crust on top but stayed pretty moist.

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Overall, it was a pretty good weekend.  It was a lot of food, exploring, and early bedtimes.  I couldn’t believe how tired I’d be at seven and eight at night and the stars were incredible.  Sadly, I didn’t get photos of them as I brought our rugged camera instead of our digital SLR camera.  And (besides the photos) I came home with a pretty good souvenir.  I got a walking stick made from a century plant.

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And hopefully, the next time we’re out that way the campsite is still under wraps.  My in-laws did a bit of landscaping (a.k.a. creating barricades) to keep other would-be campers from going up to where we camped.  I guess we’ll see how well it worked next time we go camping.

 

 

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