Our Non-Traditional 4Th Of July Traditon - We live for this stuff. Blog at Allrecipes.com - 308958

We live for this stuff.

Our non-traditional 4th of July traditon 
Aug. 18, 2013 11:34 am 
Updated: Aug. 21, 2013 4:27 am
Every year for the last 4 years we have been celebrating our 4th of July in August sometime.   Whenever we can schedule it to fit everyone's schedule.   That's the date.   This tradition came about because Adam, who dates my daughter Alexis, runs a fireworks stand with his brother and sister.   Each year they set aside a bunch of fireworks and light them off, previewing them for the next season.   They don't have to do a fireworks stand as they all have very decent jobs, but this is something their parents set up for them years ago to pay for their college, and it has.   I think they plan on using it for their own kids colleges.   Usually we do this at the lake.    Adam lights them off at the end of the dock and explode them over the water.   Simply beautiful.   This year was a little different as Adam's Mom is fighting a courageous battle with cancer and we thought the short drive to our house would be easier for her.

On Friday morning, I put together the salads, beans and got my turkey brining.   The turkey brine I used is my Universal Brining Formula.   When I brine turkeys, I use a turkey oven bag to hold the turkey and the brine.   I suppose you could use a garbage bag, but I know the turkey bags are food safe.   Believe it or not, these bags hold a 15 or 20 pound bird and two gallons of brine just fine.   I then put the bag in a cooler and fill the cooler with water and ice.

With this solution, the turkey will brine for at least 4 hours, but as many as 8 hours.   Other brines require different times.   The longer it brines, the juicier the bird will be, but you don't want to go too long or they can get a little salty tasting.

While I had this brining, I started on my salads and beans.   After all, everyone knows that salads and beans are always better the next day, so on Saturday, they should be fantastic.   I had already hard boiled my eggs for my Mom's famous potato salad.   I've tried some very high rated potato salads from allrecipes.com and I always get the same response, "It's not as good as your Mom's".   I give up.   From now on, it's only that recipe. 

Then I started on a fantastic angel hair pasta salad that  we first  had at our daughters' graduation.    It is our most requested salad and we make it frequently.   When home for the weekend, my girls will actually make a batch to bring back to college with them. 

Then on to the beans.   This is super easy because other than cooking the bacon and onions, it's mostly opening cans.  I customized a 4 bean baked bean recipe from allrecipes.com.   I cut back on the vinegar and added Jim Beam bourbon.   I absolutely love Jim Beam in any barbecue-type sauces and it works great in these beans.

In the afternoon, I removed my turkey from the brine and rinsed it under cold water.   Then I put it in the fridge on a wire rack over a tray to catch the juice.   This step is essential if you want a crispy skin.   I like to let it sit in the fridge like this for 24 hours, but 12 hours is absolutely the minimum.    All the hard work is done.   Saturday will be a snap.

Saturday is supposed to be into the 90s and humid as well as very windy, so we decide to set up in my garage.   I cranked the air conditioning on in the house and have fans blowing into the garage to keep it cool.  I borrowed some tables from the museum next door and we are ready.

All we need now is meat and guests.   I am using Alton Brown's roast turkey technique.   Basically, this calls for high heat for 30 minutes, and then adding a tinfoil cover to the breast for the rest of the cooking time.  It was so danged windy that I couldn't get a picture of the turkey on the grill with the tinfoil, but here is what it looks like:

You actually pre-form this before you put the turkey on, so when you need it, you won't be burning your hands trying to get it to fit.   To the grill!   500 degrees for 30 minutes and this is what it looks like after that:

Wing tips a little charred, but I can live with that.   This is my first attempt doing a turkey on the grill so nothing will surprise me.   At this point, I put on the tinfoil armor and insert my thermometer into the breast, and reduce the heat to 325.   The trick at this point is to not peek.   Never.   Not until it's done.   The thermometer will tell me when it's done.   I'm shooting for 161 degrees.   I also put my ham on at this time.

161 I'm done!   Wow.   This is going to be gooooooood!

After some rest time and a little electric knife action, we can start the meal!

That lovely lady at the end of the table is my bride.   She would kill me if she knew that her picture was here.   She's finishing the final details.    We served about 15 and one of our guests brought a fantastic fruit pizza for dessert.   I must get that recipe!   Now I must admit, that I didn't get a picture of the dessert, or anything from this point on.   Once the guests started arriving, I got too busy visiting.  After supper, while we were waiting for the evening to get dark enough, we moved outside and had a few beers.   Some of us went on a walking tour of the museum next door.  

The evening progressed really nice and several more people joined us for the fireworks.   The wind never did go down, so we ended up back in my garage with the door open while Adam set up a few hundred feet down the driveway.   Both my dog Jake and Adam's dog Arthur are skittish with fireworks.   Jake is pretty used to it because I shoot around him quite a bit, but Arthur, who is a very big pup, is not.   About halfway through the show, Arthur got loose and ran off.   I thought he was gone for good.   We formed a search party and went looking for him.   I brought Jake with me as he and Arthur are great buddies.   Arthur was hiding a block away and wouldn't come out to anyone calling his name, but as soon as he saw Jake, he came out.    He was actually hiding under the caboose at the museum.    At this point, Alexis took Arthur to the basement and sat with him the rest of the show.    It was a LOT of fun and really good company.   I wish we could do this every weekend.

Here is a final picture for you.   This is Jake on the left.   He's about 8 and  half border collie and half yellow lab and very much a country dog.   Arthur on the right is 8 months and is black lab, golden retriever and pit bull.   A really nice pup that listens well for his age.

Aug. 18, 2013 12:10 pm
love it!!!!!!!!! so glad all turned out so well- i will be there next august-lol- sounds like a great time :-)
Aug. 18, 2013 12:10 pm
p.s.- and of course i KNOW the food was great
Aug. 18, 2013 12:17 pm
Looks like a whole- lotta love in that food
Aug. 18, 2013 12:36 pm
Really enjoyed reading this. Sounds like a good time with great food. Glad you found Arthur.
Aug. 18, 2013 12:41 pm
great job! that bird looks awesome!
Aug. 18, 2013 1:20 pm
Your bird looks great! Made me hungry for turkey.
Aug. 18, 2013 1:31 pm
I think you have the cleanest garage I have ever seen! Your food looks great too.
Aug. 18, 2013 2:06 pm
Everything looks so good, sounds like a nice family tradition, glad the pooch was found too. Reminds me I still have a turkey in the freezer...hmmmm.
Aug. 18, 2013 2:45 pm
Great job, I felt as though I was there. So glad you found Arthur, I also have a fur baby that does not like fire-works, thunder or any loud noise for that matter. I saved your potato salad recipe, it looks wonderful. I wish I was brave enough to grill a turkey.
Aug. 18, 2013 3:54 pm
I would not call it a 4th of July celebration. Maybe mid=summer celebration? You must have a great time, no matter what name it goes by!
Aug. 18, 2013 4:21 pm
Thank you all! Nanny, ok, but next time you have to bring the buns. I ran out of time, so we bought these at the bakery ;) CG, I would love to try it out. The one we tried had a very thin crust and a slightly milky clear sauce. I'm unsure what it was, but it was GOOD with a capital G. Bambam TY. My plan this winter is to do the rest in knotty pine and to put in some cabinets to hide a little more of my junk. The place would be a disaster, but my missus keeps me on my toes. Patty, so are we. Arthur is a lover and we would sure hate to lose him. I really hope you enjoy my Mom's potato salad as much as we do. Sue, you are absolutely right. As much as we are all patriots, we don't really do anything to commemorate the meaning of the 4th. The lighting of the fireworks is akin to opening presents at Christmas; neither of them have anything to do with the actual meaning of the day.
Aug. 18, 2013 5:17 pm
Emeralds, the museum is literally next door. I should blog about it! Did you follow the link to the museum? It's a museum not like most you've seen. First off, it's very hands on and secondly, we do it mostly with volunteer help and donations. I'm kind of a slob - German and French - but my better half likes things cleaner than I'm capable of. My other salad I posted calls for mayo, so I'm calling the mayo/Miracle whip debate a tie.
Aug. 18, 2013 6:19 pm
What a great blog and photos! duboo you are a pro at this. Now I've got to make a turkey duboo style.
Aug. 18, 2013 6:39 pm
Whoo, hoo! Next time you throw a party, I'm in! Just tell me what to bring. Great blog!
Aug. 18, 2013 7:54 pm
Great blog duboo, love your photos esp. the dogs. What a wonderful time you all must have had. I love family dinners. My sisters and a niece came out to visit from Alberta and we had some wonderful family dinners this week.
Aug. 19, 2013 6:49 am
Brian, TY for your help. It turns out I was already registered at blogger for whatever reason. A MUCH better way to go than allrecipes. Emeralds, put this into google earth: 48°49'30.93"N 98°28'53.66"W **** That is the Church I was baptized in and is the main building of the museum. The two buildings with the white roofs are also part of the museum along with a couple of smaller buildings and a house down the street a bit. To the west of the Church, with the angled addition is my house. In the winter, there are 3 people that live in this town. Now zoom out, no paperboy in miles. You can see why we get by with lighting off fireworks in August. Bibi and manella, we had so much fun. It is great when everything turns out good like it did, but even if it wouldn't have, we would have laughed it off and lived on the dessert pizza and still had fun. In a couple of weeks the museum is having a flea market and I will have to make a couple of pies for that, so I will probably blog the museum at that time.
Aug. 19, 2013 7:03 am
Great informative blog duboo-what a great feast. I love your idea of brining in an ice chest. There is nothing like your mom's potato salad. I love my mom's potato salad. It makes a huge amount. It is the only AR published recipe I have. I make it every year for the Fourth of July. I have tried others and I just keep going back to my mom's recipe.
Aug. 20, 2013 7:27 am
Lela, I did your potato salad for the 4th of July supper that I put on for my parents, brothers, families, etc. My family said, it's not as good as Mom's. No offense. Just different tastes. Now I liked it, but I'm a pickle fanatic.
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About Me
I am Stacy's husband, the lady that saved my life, and I am Alexis' and Alison's father, the girls that make me smile every day.
My favorite things to cook
I like Italian and Mexican. I enjoy a challenge and tend to move on once I have it mastered.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Mom taught all of us boys (and girls) to cook. It's always nice when Mom has us over and I get to carve the meat for her.
My cooking triumphs
My favorite triumphs are cooking twice for my daughters and their friends proms. Both years I served about 15 and stuck with my own Italian recipes. The kids all loved the meals. Now the girls (in college) and their friends try to make a point to come out for my cooking, which usually turns out! I love having them here and the cooking helps! Also once a year I have to make pies for a local fundraiser and last year, the old ladies thought I had bought the cheesecake with the pretty swirls and passed it off as my own. Nope. Sorry ladies!
My cooking tragedies
Yep, I've left the giblets in the bird once. I also believed the pop-up thermometer one time when I shouldn't have. Yea, and I did a rotisserie chicken in 7 minutes flat. Forgot to turn the grill down from preheating. That wasn't pretty.
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