Gina & Pat Neely Share Their Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 11/27/2013 | 11:00 AM EST

The first couple of cuisine reveals meals from cookbook

In addition to providing some very helpful tips in preparing for your holiday meal, Gina and Pat Neely have shared some of their favorite recipes with from The Neely’s Celebration Cookbook. It's never too late to incorporate the Neelys’ expertise to ensure a great Thanksgiving feast.

Cranberry Chipotle Relish

2 tablespoons butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
Kosher salt
1 cup golden raisins
12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 chipotle pepper packed in adobo, minced

Directions: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it foams. Toss in shallot, and sauté until soft, about two minutes. Season shallot with a touch of salt. Stir in the raisins, cranberries, orange juice, water, sugar and chipotle pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring on occasion, for 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until ready to serve.


Maple Glazed Carrots

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled, halved if thick, trimmed into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup real maple syrup
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions: Heat butter and olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Once butter foams, sauté carrots until they are crisp-tender, about four or five minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour broth and maple syrup into pan. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove cover, and continue to cook for another six to eight minutes over high heat, until carrots are tender and glazed with syrup. Toss with the lemon juice and parsley, and serve.




2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons ground sage
1 1/2 tablespoons thyme
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon Neelys Seasoning, recipe follows

Turkey Brine:

1 gallon water
2 cups salt
3 cups apple juice
1 cup bourbon
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 (22-pound) turkey
Olive oil
4 cups hickory wood chips, soaked in water for 60 minutes
BBQ Gravy, recipe follows
(Mix all ingredients in small bowl and reserve.)

Directions: Mix water, salt, apple juice, bourbon, peppercorn, and sugar into a 5-gallon bucket lined with a resealable bag. Stir until the salt and sugar is dissolved. Add turkey into bag with the brine. In garbage bag-lined ice chest filled with ice, place bucket in and surround with ice. Keep in cool place and let brine 6 hours or overnight. Turn the turkey after 3 hours. Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels.

Rub turkey with olive oil and massage rub onto Turkey. Soak wood chips for 1 hour prior to cooking the turkey and drain well. Fill the chimney starter with charcoal and light. Burn until they ash over. Place burned coals to 1 side of the grill. Place wood chips on top of coals. Line standard size loaf pan with aluminum foil and fill 2/3 with water. Place in the grill opposite the coals.

Take turkey and place on grill over pan of water. Insert probe thermometer in thigh to keep a check on the temperature as it cooks. Place lid on grill with vent open. Temperature should remain constant at 225 degrees F. You may need to add more coals and chips every few hours. After 1 hour check turkey, if skin is golden brown cover with foil. Continue cooking for 4 to 6 more hours or until a probe thermometer reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from oven and let rest 20 minutes before you carve. Serve with BBQ Gravy.


Neelys Seasoning

3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups paprika
3 3/4 tablespoons onion powder
(Mix ingredients together and store in an air-tight container for up to 6 months.)

BBQ Gravy:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Drumstick, from turkey
Neck, from turkey
1 large onion, sliced
8 cups turkey stock or chicken stock
1/4 cup BBQ Sauce (recommended: Neelys BBQ Sauce)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Heat vegetable oil in saucepan on medium-high heat. Add drumstick and neck and sear until brown. Remove from pan and reserve. Lower heat and saute onions. Add stock, scrapping up the fond on the bottom of the pan. Add drumstick and neck into saucepan. Cover and let simmer until it comes to a boil; about 1 hour. Sauce will reduce down greatly. Remove turkey parts. Add BBQ sauce to pan and whisk together. Gravy will thicken. Season with salt and pepper.



1 (10-pound) cooked bone in spiral ham, preferably shank end
1 cup Neelys Dry Rub seasoning, recipe follows

Sweet Holiday Glaze:

2 sticks salted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup bourbon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions: Season ham with dry rub. Place plastic wrap over ham and put in refrigerator. Allow seasoning to penetrate ham overnight to give it a fuller flavor. Using indirect heat, preheat grill to 250 degrees F. with hickory chips and charcoal. Place ham in aluminum roasting pan and place on grill grates. Let smoke for 3 hours, making sure the temperature remains at 250 degrees F; adding more hickory chips and charcoal, as necessary. Remove to a platter.

Sweet Holiday Glaze: Place all ingredients into saucepan over medium heat. Allow to simmer, cooking for 10 to 15 minutes, until the glaze is syrupy. Pour the warm glaze over the warm ham and serve immediately.


Neelys Dry Rub Seasoning

1 1/2 cups paprika
3/4 cup sugar 3 3/4 tablespoons onion powder
(Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.)



5 bundles collard greens
4 cups salted water
3 large smoked ham hocks
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions: Thoroughly wash collard greens. Be sure to pull leaves apart and remove any sand. Chop collard greens. In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of salted water to a simmer. Place smoked ham hocks in salted water and cover for about 90 minutes. Cook ham hocks until slightly tender. In the same saucepan, add remaining ingredients and collard greens.



1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Dash salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dash hot sauce
Dash 6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk, warm
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Worcestershire sauce
3 cups shredded Cheddar
1 pound cavatappi pasta, cooked al dente
1 cup crushed potato chips
5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for topping

Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in large saucepot over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in the warmed milk and bring to boil, continue to whisk constantly. The mixture will thicken as heat increases. Continue to stir while adding dry mustard, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire. Stir in the 3 cups of Cheddar until it melts. Pour cheese sauce over the noodles and add to a 3 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle chips, bacon and Parmesan on top and bake for 35 minutes. Cover and cook greens for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. *Cook's Note: Make sure at least half of ham hocks are covered with water. If not, add additional water.

(Photo: Mitchell/Mayer /Splash News)

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