As avid lovers of both camping and Thanksgiving, we find it difficult to choose between spending the Thanksgiving holiday doing some gorgeous fall camping, or diving head first into turkey, stuffing, and pie.
Well, we are here with good news: we have found a way that you can do both!
Yes, it is possible to have a Thanksgiving dinner in your RV, and we are going to spill the secrets on how you can do that.
Plus, you’ll love that our version of an RV Thanksgiving mixes in with it a bit of physical activity so that you don’t feel too guilty about serving yourself up that second (or third) helping of turkey dinner.
The turkey is the heart and soul of Thanksgiving. Without the turkey, it’s just not Thanksgiving.
However, chances are good you’re thinking: “How in the heck am I ever going to fit a whole, big Thanksgiving turkey in my tiny RV oven?”
The answer: You’re not.
We aren’t pretending that you can bend the laws of physics, or use some high-tech gadgets to shrink your turkey while you cook it.
However, we do offer up a fabulous plan b: buy a smaller turkey.
If you’re spending Thanksgiving in your RV, you’ve likely got a smaller guest list than you may have if you’re at home. That means you don’t have as many mouths to feed, which negates the need for a colossal bird that ensures everyone gets their fill.
If you are inviting friends, family, or people from your neighboring park site to your Thanksgiving dinner and are in need of a big turkey, no problem. You can cook two smaller turkeys, or cut up a bigger bird into smaller, easier to manage sections that will allow the turkey to fit in your small RV oven, and will also allow your turkey to cook thoroughly.
For those of you who have an RV sans an oven entirely, don’t worry — there are options!
If you’re feeling adventurous (and ambitious), you could certainly cook your turkey in a dutch oven over a campfire and make this a really different Thanksgiving! It will take some time and some work to keep the fire burning for the 3-5 hours necessary for the turkey to cook through, but it will be well worth it!
Or, you could always opt for a store-bought turkey. Many restaurants and stores will offer up pre-cooked turkeys that will taste just as delicious as the ones you make at home.
Serving a turkey without mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving is considered blasphemous to most people.
In order to keep your Thanksgiving meal traditional and not skip out on everyone’s favorite sides, there are tricks you can put into action.
One great option is to cook some of the side dishes ahead of time at home, and store them in your fridge or freezer. Once you head out on the road, pop those dishes in a cooler, and when Thanksgiving day arrives, you simply have to warm them up on the stove or in the oven, and they’re ready to serve!
Crockpot to the rescue
Crockpots are great to use at home, but they are also fabulous to use for an RV Thanksgiving. Bring along the ingredients you need to whip up your favorite sides, and stick them in the crockpot to cook and stay warm throughout the day. Crockpots are perfect for oh-so-fluffy and tasty mashed potatoes.
If you have a grill, or access to one, that is a great option to create some tasty sides. Rather than crowding your kitchen and oven space by baking sweet potatoes, opt for grilling them. Grilling your sweet potatoes will give them fabulous flavor, and will also keep your space and time available for other dishes that require the oven.
Instant may be best
We know — instant potatoes just aren’t quite the same as the real thing. However, when you’re limited on cooking space, ingredients, and extra cooks in the kitchen, instant sides may quickly become your best friend. Did we also mention the benefit of the “instant” part of this? Rather than standing over the hot stovetop for hours, you can have your mashed potatoes ready in just a few minutes.
Thanksgiving anywhere wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without at least one dessert, and pie is usually what first comes to mind. However, anyone who has ever made a pie knows that it is a labor of love. There is a great deal of time and effort that goes into crafting this perfectly crumbly, warm and delicious dessert.
When you’re prepping for Thanksgiving in an RV, Martha Stewart herself may even be challenged to bake up an award-winning pie.
Thankfully, we’ve put together a couple of options for you.
Because pies take a lot of kitchen space to roll out the dough, put the pie together, and bake, it will be much easier for your RV Thanksgiving if you prep the pie ahead of time and freeze it. Set it out to thaw when you begin cooking your turkey, and stick it in the oven once your turkey is done cooking.
Use a dutch oven
Though this means you won’t be baking a traditional Thanksgiving pie, let’s be honest: you’ve already thrown tradition out the window by spending your Thanksgiving in an RV.
There are other great dessert options that are similar to a pie that you can put together in your dutch oven and cook outside over a campfire, such as dutch oven apple crisps. This is a quick and easy recipe that will taste pretty darn close to an apple pie.
Dutch Oven Apple Crisps
Simply mix the flour, sugar, oats, and cinnamon in a bowl until combined well. Then, add in the butter. Drop the apple slices into the dutch oven, spread your flour mix over the top, and cook over the campfire for 45 minutes.
Easy and guaranteed to be delicious!
There is no denying that RV tables are much smaller than your average dinner table, especially your average Thanksgiving dinner table, where hauling out all the table leaves and extra chairs is a necessity.
If you’re keeping your RV Thanksgiving dinner small, you may be able to get away with having it at your small RV table. You can utilize the counter space to set up a buffet-style dinner where people serve themselves.
If the weather is nice enough (or you bundle up enough), you can step outside and spread your Thanksgiving dinner out on a picnic table (or two). When packing for your camping trip, simply throw in a cute festive tablecloth and a decorative gourd or two to add just a touch of festivity to your meal.
Plus, you never know — bringing the element of the outdoors into your dinner may become a new family favorite tradition!
Being outside for your meal also makes it much easier, and more tempting, to hop up and take a walk around. We all know how much a post-dinner walk is needed after some serious Thanksgiving dinner indulging.
Leslie, a.k.a. Copy Girl, is a copywriter who gets butterflies from telling stories through words.
Her voice comes from a place filled with passion, dreams, and lots of sugar. “Cake over steak” is her go-to motto.
With over 10 years of experience in crafting words, and years of embarking on travels that have taken this Montana girl to some incredible places, Leslie love the adventures of both body and mind her writing takes her on.
Everywhere she goes, she takes this advice with her:
“Hold on to your divine blush, your innate rosy magic, or end up brown.” – Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume
To see what Leslie’s up to in the writing world, visit her website here.