Trisha Yearwood reveals the one Thanksgiving tradition she'll never change: it's 'just unbelievable'

Country music icon Trisha Yearwood is big on keeping family traditions alive around the holidays. Yearwood, who hosts Trisha's Southern Kitchen on the Food Network, says food traditions are especially important to her. "The reason that I cook is because I grew up on with a great cook," she explains, noting that both her parents were "fantastic" in the kitchen.

Yearwood loves to host a "misfit Thanksgiving," where they invite people who don't have a place to go for the holiday to their home. "We didn't get to do that last year because of the pandemic," she says. "So we're really excited about that this year."

Yearwood, who is married to fellow country music star Garth Brooks, says that Thanksgiving "is probably a bigger holiday at my house than Christmas" because her family loves the traditional meal. Yearwood says that Brooks loves to tell stories about how his mother used to stay up all night to baste the turkey before Thanksgiving. But she's discovered a hack to get a moist bird without all the hassle: She leaves it covered in a pan of water in the oven overnight.

Video transcript

TRISHA YEARWOOD: The holidays are all about tradition for our family, and I'm excited to share some of my Thanksgiving traditions with you.

For me, tradition is what carries us to the next generation. It's what helps us remember people that we love that we've lost. So if you have something that you've done with your family or your grandparents, you don't realize it in the moment when they're there, but when they're gone, they become so important because you continue to make the food your grandmother made. You continue to set the table the way your mother did. Those traditions are really the reason that I cook.

Grannie's teacakes are always on my Thanksgiving table because there's such a history going back with my whole family. When my mom and dad first married, they lived in an apartment, and their landlady-- her name was Mary, but we called her Mammie. She was family. You know, she became like a grandmother to us, and she made these soft teacakes that were just unbelievable. So it will forever be on our Thanksgiving table.

When I first went to Oklahoma and made my first Thanksgiving for Garth, it was for, like, 13 people, including his dad, his cousins. And I'm like, why is my first-- and I've never made the full meal by myself. My mom, who was a schoolteacher, had a teacher friend who gave her a no baste, no bother turkey.

This was a turkey that you prepared and put a lid on with some hot water as to help with the broth and steaming the turkey and keeping it moist. Put it in a super-hot oven for an hour. Turn off the oven. Go to bed. Do not open. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Do not open the door. And when you get up in the morning, the oven's still hot. The turkey is cooked. And I said, this is the turkey.

And he's like, I don't believe it. I don't believe it. You're going to have to make me one. You're going to have to prove it. So he made me cook a stunt turkey a couple days before because he just couldn't wrap his head around it, you know? And it turned out perfectly, and he loved it. And now I just think he wanted double turkey. That's what I think.

For dessert, there's always options, and that's what I like about Thanksgiving too. Dessert is always pies, cakes, cookies. There's always room, right, for something else on the table. So we have pecan pie, we have pumpkin pie, and we have grannie's teacakes.

Typically I will put the turkey in at midnight because we usually have our Thanksgiving meal around 1 o'clock. It's like a late lunch, which allows for napping and football and seconds. We love football too, but if you ask who's napping, it's Garth. Garth will come in and say, how can I help? Then I see that he's just asleep somewhere. You know, that's kind of what he does, but that's kind of what Thanksgiving Day is about.

Save yourself a little bit of flour and put it directly onto your countertop. My favorite Thanksgiving disaster really throws my sister Beth under the bus. I had a gig the night before Thanksgiving, and our turkey goes into the oven at midnight. And I took my mom with me.

Beth's job, my sister, was to put the turkey in at midnight. She puts the turkey in. She thinks she's turned on the oven, and she didn't. And so when my mom and I got home in the wee hours expecting to smell that incredible turkey, we smell nothing. It's definitely a family story Beth will never live down. I love you, Beth.

Traditions really are important, and it's never too late to start, and that's been really my greatest joy in writing books and doing the cooking show has been to make sure all of those family recipes are written down, passed down to the next generation.

Grannie would put a little bit of sugar over the top, a little bit of hard sugar, like heavy sugar. But I'm going to do a glaze, and this is just powdered sugar. And you can use any kind of liquid. You could even use water. You can use milk. I'm using buttermilk.

What I love about the way I cook at Thanksgiving, it's about being together. And so I hope you take that spirit into your holiday this season, and I just want to say happy Thanksgiving from my house to yours. Cheers.