The big one

Here we go.

I actually starting prepping and cooking things on Thursday for Saturday’s gathering. The turkey and the pork butts both went into the brine on Thursday. Both were drained and rinsed on Friday, then went onward to their next destination. For the turkey, into the oven, accompanied by some beef tips that would serve as dinner Friday evening for the hordes descending on the place.

Turkey in the oven

The butts received a rubdown.

Rub ingredients

And then 14 pounds of pork went into the smoker.

Butts in the seats

With those things out of the way, I moved on. Mom had made some cakes for her Hawaiian dessert.


Those were topped with a combination of vanilla pudding, coconut flakes that I toasted for her, crushed pineapple, and frosting. People love it. I also made a couple batches of strawberry ice cream to go with the vanilla ice cream I’d made previously.

Strawberry ice cream

We also boiled some eggs…


…and some shrimp.


Potato salad, shrimp salad. Yummy. We were running low on barbeque sauce, so I decided to whip up another batch.

BBQ sauce

Between doing all this and working the “real” job, it was starting to get late. There was still quite a lot to do, though. Like pull the turkey out.

Turkey's done

Nothing quite like the smell of roasted turkey. In the wee hours of Saturday morning – about 1 AM, I suppose – I had made four batches of dough for sandwich rolls.


At 2:30 AM, I pulled the butts from the smoker. Fourteen hours of smoketime.

Butts done

I made a funny face at the butts and they started to fall apart right before my eyes.


Just kidding. I actually pulled them both by hand. They melted like butter, though.

Fully pulled

I’d also shaped the rolls from the dough.

Rolls shaped

While those were undergoing their final proofing, I carved the turkey. White meat and wings/thighs…

Turkey sliced

…and dark meat.

Turkey dark meat

The rolls went into the oven and the gravy train started while those were baking.


The batches of rolls were finished…

Rolls done

…and by this time, it was approaching 5 AM, so a nap was in order. Just after 6 AM, I got back up and started up again. T-7 hours to the arrivals.

First up, getting the crabcakes formed.


As usual, lots of crab, very little cake.

Crabby closeup

The day before, I’d sliced some cucumbers and onions on the mandoline.


These were combined with sour cream, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and dill to make a cuke salad of sorts. One of my sisters’ favorites. Aubrey had picked up the flowers and started arranging them.


I got the spinach-artichoke dip started.

Spinach artichoke dip

This went into the fridge to wait until it was time to heat it through. We also roasted some beef to slice for sandwiches.


Another batch of crabmeat, to mix with a few things to stuff mushrooms.

Crabmeat stuffed mushrooms

A little onion, red and green peppers, Old Bay, pepper, butter, and the crabmeat went into mushrooms caps and was topped off with provolone.


We steamed some broccoli for the gratin.


Publix made the cake.

Publix cake

Mom also contributed a sweet potato souffle (great, by the way). We put it all together, got everything for the main meal on the table (the appetizers having been put out some time before, with people snacking away), and forced everyone to back off while we got a final picture.


Let the games begin.

Feeding frenzy

Later that evening, since apparently I’d not had enough cooking for the past couple of days, and since someone had mentioned it, I decided to whip up some focaccia.


Two batches, actually: the second batch I formed into doughballs for pizza (or mini focaccias).


The cheese was added to the bread about halfway through the baking time.

Bread's done

In retrospect, I probably should have made two focaccias.

Another shot

Because eight minutes and forty seconds after taking the above pictures and pulling the bread out, this was left.

All gone

Tasty stuff, I guess.

Eventually, almost everyone left except those enjoying the hospitality at the estate. Those who were left crashed where they could find space. Based on the lack of leftovers to pack up, I’m guessing that everyone enjoyed their meal. That’s always a good thing.