Be Prepared for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner

With Thanksgiving a little over a week away, let’s practice the Scouting motto by “being prepared” for the big day, especially if you plan to incorporate an outdoorsy twist, like cooking and eating the meal outside.

Just as you might do when making the huge annual meal indoors, recruit some help for preparing the feast. Scouts and family members can pitch in by creating table decorations, stoking the fire and cooking.

Here are a few Thanksgiving recipes to make and enjoy outside:

Dutch oven turkey

Make a showstopper main dish in your Dutch oven. You’ll need:

3 onions, one quartered, two sliced

1 apple sliced

6 sprigs rosemary

6 sprigs sage

6 sprigs thyme

2 Tbs. canola oil

1 Tbs. salt

1 Tbs. pepper

2 cups chicken stock


Stuff your turkey with your quartered onion and sliced apple. Cover the bird in canola oil. Place the sliced onion, rosemary, sage and thyme at the bottom of your Dutch oven. Placed the oiled turkey on top and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Pour the chicken stock in the oven.

Arrange the coals to bake the turkey for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove some of the coals to reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Remove the turkey when its meat temperature has reached 160 degrees.

Dutch oven stuffing

What’s turkey without stuffing? For this recipe, you’ll need:

2 Tbs. canola oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cups celery, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 loaf of day-old bread, cubed

1 cup pecans, chopped

1/2 cup raisins

2 large eggs

1 cup chicken stock

1/2 Tbs. black pepper

1 tsp. salt


Place your Dutch oven atop several lit coals. Pour in canola oil, followed by the onion, celery and bell pepper. Stir and cook before scooping the mixture into a large bowl filled with bread cubes. Mix in pecans and raisins. In a separate bowl, add eggs, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Stir well and pour over the bread cubes. Mix everything together and pour into the Dutch oven.

Bake the stuffing for 30 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees. You can accomplish this temperature by placing nine coals under a 12-inch Dutch oven while putting about 16 coals on top.

Grilled corn

Forgo the oven and just use the coals for this recipe:

Corn, unhusked





Pull back the corn husks without removing them; discard the silks. Wrap the husks around the corn and keep them in place using kitchen twine. Soak eac

h ear of corn in water for 30 minutes up to one hour. Place the corn directly on ash-covered coals. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, turning the corn every couple of minutes. Remove the corn and

brush off the ashes. Husk the corn and smother in butter and season with salt and pepper.


You can also cook your potatoes or sweet potatoes in the coals. Just wrap each one in aluminum foil and place in the embers. Cook them for about an hour.


Cranberry sauce

Break out the camp stove for this quick and easy side dish:

12 oz. cranberries

1 cup sugar

1 cup orange juice


In a saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the orange juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cranberries and cook until they pop, which takes about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; the sauce will thicken as it cools.

Cranberry apple pie

Don’t forget dessert! For this recipe, you’ll need:

Ready-to-bake pie dough

3 cups apples, sliced

1 cup cranberries, whole

2 cups cranberries, chopped

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

3 Tbs. tapioca




Grab your Dutch oven again and line it with parchment paper and the pie dough. Mix the apples, cranberries and pecans in one bowl. Then mix the cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg and tapioca together. Fold that mixture into the fruit mixture and place it all in the Dutch oven. Cover with pie dough and slice slits in the dough. Brush an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 45 minutes at 400 degrees (that’s eight coals under and 17 coals on the lid of a 10-inch oven). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then place the oven in tap water for another 10 minutes. After 10 more minutes, add ice, and chill for one hour.


As you gather with your family and friends this Thanksgiving, don’t let the fun stop at the dining table. This year, we challenge you to head outside to start a new tradition.

From Dutch oven recipes for the backcountry to crafts you can whip up in the backyard, make the most of heading outdoors and spending time with the people you love most.

Explore projects, recipes, and camping gear that will bring your family and friends together this holiday season. We have everything you need to start your adventure on this Pinterest board.

Outfit your whole family and friends for outdoor adventures year-round! Everyone is invited to take advantage of free shipping on online orders of $100 or more (pre-tax) in November at using the code CAMPSGIVING.

About Michael Freeman 438 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.