Thanksgiving is about being thankful, gathering with family, and food... lots and lots of food. In the South, there's basically a pre-determined menu every single year that never changes. Every Southerner knows exactly what to expect when they show up for family dinner. So, if you're traveling south of the Mason-Dixon line this year, here are some of the Southern Thanksgiving dishes you're guaranteed to see.
There must be turkey on Thanksgiving, and it will most likely be baked in the oven the way it's been baked in your family for generations. The turkey is the most important part of the day, and that tradition is not to be messed with. This extends to the person who carves it each year -- it's an honor not easily transferable to someone new.
If you're looking to take your turkey to an insane level this year, we have a recipe for a bacon-wrapped turkey that will blow your guests away... and probably really piss off your mother.
Cornbread is distinctly Southern and has to be included on Turkey Day. Most people turn it into a dressing with plenty of celery and onions. A lot of recipes will also include chopped pecans.
Is it really a gathering if there aren't several dozen deviled eggs? No. Every dinner, pig pickin', Sunday meal at church and birthday party must include deviled eggs, and Thanksgiving is no exception. Your grandmother needs a reason to use that crystal dish especially made for deviled eggs multiple times a year. But if you're on deviled egg duty and want to try something new, here are 15 different variations of the traditional recipe.
Ah, the cranberry sauce. There may only be two people that actually eat it every year, but by golly, it must be on the table. If you're lucky like I was growing up, it'll be a gelatinous, cylindrical mass plopped on some china and your grandmother will mean mug you until you put some on your plate. There is a better, tastier way to include cranberries on the holidays -- a cranberry crumble pie. You're welcome.
This is probably something the whole country does, but buttermilk biscuits are a must. What else are you going to use for the next week to make leftover turkey sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
If you're at a Southerner's house for Thanksgiving, you'll likely see okra somewhere. It'll either be pickled and set out as an appetizer, or it could be fried up and served as a side dish.
Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows
Sweet potatoes are a classic Thanksgiving dish everywhere, but you better believe that in the South they're going to be loaded with an unhealthy dose of brown sugar and marshmallows. Oh, and don't be surprised to find pecans mixed into or topping the sweet potato dish.
Whether they are braised, creamed or doused with vinegar, there will be collards. There really isn't a way to go wrong with collards and it's likely your family makes them the same way each time. There's also a 50% chance whoever makes them will throw some chopped pecans in there too.
Are you seeing a pattern here? Southerners 'go nuts' over pecans, so having a pecan pie at Thanksgiving is not an option. There's likely a designated person in the family that brings it every year (quality control). It has to be baked to perfection, warmed up and served with ice cream. The pecan pie joins the turkey as MVPs of Thanksgiving.
If you live in Texas and are trying to skip out on baking one, here are 10 of the best places to pick up a pecan pie in the state.