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Martha's Southern Thanksgiving Menu—with BBQ Turkey!

This Thanksgiving dinner is a barbecue starring turkey grilled outdoors.

outdoor table with thanksgiving food on display
Photography by: Christopher Baker

For most people, it isn't Thanksgiving without turkey, and Martha is no exception. But that doesn't mean she isn't open to change—she's always looking for another technique to add to her holiday repertoire. When Martha is down South, and the weather is crisp but not yet cold—perfect for an alfresco feast—she opts to put the turkey on the grill instead of roasting it indoors. After many rounds of basting, in between which Martha works on the side dishes, dinner is ready. This entire menu has an elegant Southern sensibility and is guaranteed to impress.

outdoor assorted appetizers with fall leaves decor
Photography by: Christopher Baker

The Menu

To Start: Deviled Eggs + Caramelized Onion Pizza + Shrimp and Grit Cakes

Kick off the meal with a spread of elegant finger foods that can mostly be made ahead. Store-bought pickled okra enlivens deviled eggs; pizza takes a turn for the sophisticated when topped with caramelized onions, goat cheese, and turkey sausage; and the Southern classic shrimp and grits becomes a clever hors d'oeuvre.


Get the Deviled Eggs with Pickled Okra Recipe


Get the Caramelized Onion Pizza with Goat Cheese and Turkey Sausage Recipe


Get the Shrimp and Grit Cakes with Seven-Pepper Jelly Recipe
Martha Stewart holding Grilled Turkey Platter
Photography by: Christopher Baker

Main: Barbecued Turkey

Martha begins by building a good fire using natural hardwood charcoal. She never puts the turkey on while the fire is flaming; it needs to burn down first. When the coals are ready, they’re pushed to one side of the grill, and the turkey is rotated so that it cooks evenly. The bird that results isn't traditional golden brown but rather slightly blackened and sticky—and absolutely delicious.


Get the Barbecued Turkey Recipe
chef preparing bread stuffing
Photography by: Christopher Baker

Side: Cornbread and Pumpkin Challah Stuffing

Two types of bread set this stuffing apart: cornbread and pumpkin challah (it's just as delectable made with store-bought cornbread and challah or brioche). Cubes of both are combined with a bevy of dried fruits (apricots, cranberries, cherries, and figs) and fresh herbs (sage and marjoram), while plenty of chicken stock keeps the dish perfectly moist.


Get the Cornbread and Pumpkin Challah Stuffing Recipe
man carrying plate of thanksgiving food
Photography by: Christopher Baker

Sides: Autumn Field Greens with Spicy Pecans and Pomegranate Seeds

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash

Mashed Potatoes with Golden Onions and Roquefort

Cranberry Orange Relish

Four more sides complete the feast. First up is a crisp green salad made special occasion-worthy thanks to the addition of sweet-and-spicy candied pecans and jewel-like pomegranate seeds. Next, everyone's favorite orange root vegetables are flavored with balsamic vinegar and fresh rosemary before a turn in the oven and tossed with arugula while still warm. Meanwhile, mashed russets are enriched with sauteed onions and blue cheese. A simple cranberry sauce made with oranges three ways (juiced, segmented, and zested) rounds out the plate.


Get the Autumn Field Greens with Spicy Pecans and Pomegranate Seeds Recipe


Get the Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash Recipe


Get the Mashed Potatoes with Golden Onions and Roquefort Recipe


Get the Cranberry Orange Relish Recipe
girl on picnic table holding pecan pie
Photography by: Christopher Baker

Dessert: Bourbon Pecan Pie

Bourbon adds depth of flavor to this pecan pie sweetened with a mixture of maple syrup and dark corn syrup. The alcohol in the filling burns off, so kids can definitely eat this dessert, but you can also omit the bourbon.


Get the Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipe
dessert table with pies and bread pudding
Photography by: Christopher Baker

Desserts: Sweet Potato Pie + Pumpkin Bread Pudding + Lemon Icebox Pie 

If pecan pie isn't enough to feed your crowd, set out a selection of homemade desserts on a side table. A sweet potato pie is a must for a Southern Thanksgiving—this version is spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, and sweetened mostly with condensed milk. For the pumpkin lovers, there's a bread pudding instead of pie. The same pumpkin challah that's used in the stuffing is bathed in a fragrant vanilla custard studded with golden raisins. The least traditional dessert on the table is the lemon icebox pie: whipped cream is folded into luscious lemon meringue and surrounded by a coconut crust. All of the desserts are wonderful, so it is best to have at least one piece of each.


Get the Sweet Potato Pie with Gingersnap Crust Recipe


Get the Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce Recipe


Get the Lemon Icebox Pie with Coconut Crust Recipe