Christmas Recipes | Texas-Style Turkey, Dr Pepper Glazed Ham and Spokane

Christmas Dinner:  Texas-Style Turkey

The dinner for 30 I cooked on Thanksgiving came off without a hitch so I thought I might post this for everyone getting ready for Christmas.

Everything I did for Thanksgiving can also be done for Christmas and New Year’s Day.  I cooked plenty of mesquite smoked turkey; Dr Pepper glazed ham, both dressing and stuffing, green beans, baked rolls, mashed potatoes, egg noodles and two different versions of mac and cheese.  While I cooked almost everything according to tradition, I decided to alter the way I normally cook turkey.  After much research, I decided to brine the turkey breasts overnight.

Here is the recipe for the brine and how I prepared the bird.

Turkey/Chicken Brine

  • 1 Gallon Water
  • 1  Cup Kosher Salt
  • 1  Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1  Pint Apple Juice

Combine all ingredients and make sure salt and sugar are dissolved.  Soak the turkey 12-24 hours in refrigerator or in the garage if you almost live in Canada like I do.  Next, remove from brine and rinse turkeys and pat dry.

Cooking Instructions

Take the brined breasts and place each of them in a large Ziploc bag. Pour ¼ cup oil and two tablespoons Dixie Dust or you favorite BBQ rub in the bag with the breasts and shake.  While I will never post the Dixie Dust recipe, below is a simple all-purpose BBQ rub that works for all types of meat.

#12 BBQ Seasoning & Rub

  • 1  Cup Brown Sugar
  • ½  Cup Seasoning Salt
  • 2  Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1  Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1  Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1  Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • ½ Teaspoon Cumin

Combine all ingredients. Store in air-tight container for up to six months.

Once you have a good coating, remove from bag and place on smoker.  I smoked the turkey breasts over mesquite woods chips in my propane smoker for 90 minutes at 200 degrees.  Remove the breasts and placed them in an oven bag.  Cook at 325 degrees for 3 hours or until the little genius plastic cooking thermometer pops out.

These were the best turkeys I have ever cooked.  They were incredibly moist and juicy.  There were also plenty of pan drippings for gravy.

Also, I did a quick Dr Pepper glaze for the ham.  This is a very simple trick that will help add that little something extra to a precooked ham.

Dr Pepper Glazedr_pepper_cap

  • 1  Can Dr Pepper
  • 6  Ounces Orange Juice
  • 3  Tablespoons Brown Sugar

Combine all ingredients in sauce pan and bring to boil.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat.

All you do is take the glaze and pour it over your ham.  Cover with foil and heat at 350 degrees.  Baste the ham with glaze every 15 minutes until ham reaches proper temperature.

Now you have a couple of tried and true recipes for Christmas.  Both work great for large or small holiday crowds


One of the things that I really enjoy about travel is finding “off the beaten path” restaurants. Of course, the internet and all of the shows on cable have made these gastronomic gems easier to locate, it has taken some of the fun out of the search.

DavenportLobbyDuring the Thanksgiving holidays, I traveled with my wife’s basketball team to Spokane, Washington.  While it was not my first time through the city, it was my first time to actually stay there.  We stayed at The Davenport downtown and I have to say that it is one fine hotel.  It is a smaller version of the The Drake in Chicago.  Built in 1914, The Davenport has been restored to its original glory in 2002 and it is like walking back in time and seeing it decorated for the holidays was an amazing site.

On Friday, I decided to take my “walk about” downtown looking for a quality local spot for lunch.  When I am in a new city, I do not research these places on the web beforehand.  I like taking my time and finding the place on my own.  It always amazes me when people travel to a new town or area and the first thing they do is go eat at a chain restaurant that they could easily have eaten at Park River Square in their hometown or nearby city.  In fact, it has become common practice for friends and acquaintances ask me for food recommendations since they know that finding these types of places is a hobby of mine.

I walked by the always to be expected Olive Garden, Chili’s, PF Chang’s and the food court at the mall.  Just a block or so from the hotel and the Bing Crosby Theatre…Bing was from Spokane…I sashayed by a small place called Domini Sandwiches on West Sprague Avenue and decided that this was the place to try.BingChristmas

Once I walked through the door, I realized that my choice was the right one.  The sandwiches were prepared behind a long bar/counter.  There were meat slicers and rows of fresh baked bread.  There are no menus…just cards on the counter and tables.  You can only get sandwiches and they come in three sizes…small, large and tiny.  Lay’s Potato Chips…no fries.  RC Cola and Dr Pepper are the only soft drinks.  I felt at home immediately.

Domini’s makes their roast beef in house.  On the table/counter is homemade honey mustard.  I chose a small roast beef on French bread.  The roast beef is sliced per order and the bread was sliced…not a roll.  When I asked my waitress to hold the tomato, I was informed very quickly that Domini’s does not put “vegetables” on their sandwiches…they are meat and bread…period.

domini-sandwichesAfter I absolutely destroyed my sandwich, owner Tom came over and asked me how it was and we began to talk about the place.  Tom’s father opened the place over 50 years ago and they have been making the roast beef that same way since that day.  He knows almost all of his regulars by name.  The rich and famous come into Domini’s when they are through Spokane but it is not hard to tell that this is a place for the everyday people.  It is those people that keep these types of places alive.

Over the years, I have had some great sandwiches:  Manny’s corned beef in Chicago…Primanti Brothers sandwich with its signature fries and slaw in Pittsburgh…Mike’s Famous Ham Place in Detroit…Pat’s cheesesteak in Philadelphia.  Domini’s makes one of the best roast beef sandwiches I have ever eaten.


Posted on December 15, 2013, in Buffalo, Cajun, Chicken Fried Buffalo, Christmas, Comfort Food, Food, Recipes, Texas Food, Texpatriate, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. If I may be so bold, if you’re in Spokane and want a great breakfast try The old European Restaurant. Great atmosphere and splendid jams and jellies. On a snowy morning a while back it made for a great start to the day. Here’s a quick write-up from the folks at A-list Spokane.

  2. If I may be so bold, if you’re looking for a great breakfast in Spokane try the Old European Breakfast House. Great jams and jellies. You’ll want to take some home. Ate there on a snowy morning a while back and it was a great start to the day. Unique menu. Here’s a quick write-up from the folks at Spokane A-List.

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