As Thanksgiving nears it's time to start thinking about what to put on the menu. Thanksgiving can be a little tricky in West Texas because many of us like smoked turkeys and/or deep-fried turkeys.

For the last couple decades, I have been serving Thanksgiving dinner to those who are otherwise by themselves on Thanksgiving Day. As I prepare my menu, I make sure to have a handful of my favorite side dishes to share with those who come to partake.

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What is Thanksgiving without turkey? When I prepare the meal at a local church that is served out to others, it must include turkey. Since I'm cooking in large quantities, they've got to taste good and cook fast.

That's why I love my deep-fried turkey. I can fry a 14-pound bird in about 35 minutes, and it's moist and delicious. While I'm deep-frying turkeys, my smoker is busy putting the final touches on some fully-cooked honey-glazed hams using local honey.

The other dishes in my Fearless Fave Five Thanksgiving dinner lineup are prepared by family members who are experts in their specialty. For example my wife and daughter both are responsible for preparing the dressing. My wife prepares her family's cornbread dressing, and my daughter prepares my mother's cornbread dressing.

It wouldn't be the holidays if I didn't fix my children's favorite sweet potato casserole, prepared with Vermont maple syrup that I order in advance. My wife adds the finishing touches to the meal by assembling Grandma Allison's homemade pecan pie.

The Fearless Fave Five: Thanksgiving Dinner Dishes

  1.  Deep-fried turkey
  2.  Smoked glazed ham
  3.  Mom's & Grandma's recipes for cornbread dressing
  4.  Dad's famous sweet potato casserole
  5.  Grandma Allison's homemade pecan pie (pumpkin pie is also a Thanksgiving must-have, it's tied with pecan pie)

There are other dishes we prepare from time to time. Foods like smoked brisket, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and every child's favorite - Mom's homemade mashed potatoes. What are your Thanksgiving dinner dish favorites? Let us know - and have a happy Thanksgiving dinner.

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