Thanksgiving Dinner

This year, Jake and I are opting outside for Thanksgiving. We leave tomorrow for a week long backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon with our family. One major goal for the trip… recreate Thanksgiving dinner on the trail.


  • 2 backpacking stoves
  • 2 lightweight cooking pots
  • fuel
  • dehydrator
  • eating utensils
  • small paper plates for the trail (1 for each person)

Thanksgiving Dinner (feeds 5 people):

  • 5 cups stuffing mix + 2/3-3/4 cups water on the trail
  • 1.5 lb ground turkey + enough water to rehydrate
  • 2-3 packages Idahoan Potatoes
  • 1 bag of Craisins
  • 4-5 stalks of dehydrated celery (optional)
  • 1/3 cup dehydrated carrots (optional)
  • 1-2 Tbs onion flakes
  • 1-2 tsp dehydrated garlic

Dessert: Pumpkin Pie Crumble (feeds 5 people):

Pumpkin Pie Bark:

  • 2 cans (30oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice

Cookie Crumble:

  • 2 cups almond meal flour
  • 3 Tbs honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda

Step 1: Prepping the Turkey

This was my first attempt EVER dehydrating meat. I found a great recipe for ground beef gravel in “Lipsmackin’ Backpackin'” by Christine Conners (love this book by the way). But of course, instead of using beef, I used turkey and followed the same prep instructions.

Dehydrating Ground Turkey:

  1. Choose extra-lean turkey. Cook ground turkey with no added fat or seasonings until completely cooked.
  2. Drain excess fat and pat ground turkey completely dry to remove any excess moisture (Removing all fat is key for safely dehydrating meats. The fat will spoil and grow bacteria – yuck).
  3. Place ground turkey evenly on dehydrator trays. It is easiest to use the fruit leather sheets or line trays with parchment paper to avoid the small pieces of turkey from falling through the dehydrator screens.
  4. Dehydrate until completely dried, inside and out. They will resemble small pebbles. This may take 8-12 hours, depending on your dehydrator.
  5. Let your turkey gravel cool completely.
  6. Store in a seal-able container in a dark, cool, dry place, away from heat, extreme cold, moisture or light until ready to use for your trip.
  7. Add dehydrated veggies and spices to mix in with turkey gravel.

1 cup of turkey gravel =  1 lb of turkey re-hydrated

Step 2: Prepping the Stuffing

Cut your fresh celery stalks and carrots into 1/2cm thick pieces and blanch for 1 minute. After blanching, plunge into cold water and lay evenly on dehydrator trays. Dehydrate for 8-9 hours at 135 degrees.


Mix turkey gravel, dehydrated celery, onion flakes, stuffing mix and Craisins in one giant freezer bag.

Step 3: Prepping the Pumpkin Pie Crumble

Pumpkin Pie Bark:

  1. First step is to make pumpkin pie bark. Mix the pumpkin puree, maple syrup and pumpkin spice until fully combined.
  2. Spread thinly (about eighth inch) on dehydrator trays covered with Excalibur Paraflexx® sheets, parchment paper, or fruit leather inserts that go with your dehydrator.
  3. Dehydrate at 135° for eight hours until brittle. After about five hours, flip the bark by taking a spare dehydrator tray and flipping the two trays over so that the bottom side of the bark is now facing up. This will ensure complete drying.



Almond Cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Use a food processor or mixer to combine almond flour, coconut oil, vanilla, baking soda and honey.
  3. Once combined, transfer the cookie dough to a sprayed pie dish. Because these cookies will be broken up on the trail, they don’t need to look pretty. Lightly press dough evenly in the pie dish (much like you’re making an actual pie crust!)
  4. Cook at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes until golden with brown on top.
  5. Allow cookies to fully cool.
  6. Break cookies into big chucks for the crumble and place in a zip-lock bag for the trail.
Pressing the cookie dough into pie dish (doesn’t need to look pretty).
Pumpkin Pie Bark & Almond Cookie Crumble ready for the trail!

Step 4: Assembling on the Trail

Thanksgiving Dinner:

  1. In one pot, re-hydrate the turkey gravel and veggies by filling the pot with water until the turkey is just covered. Bring water to boil and simmer for 1 minute before reducing heat and letting it steam for 5 minutes.
  2. After the turkey is re-hydrated, add the stuffing mixture to the pot with 2/3-3/4 water. Simmer everything for 5-10 minutes until everything is fully re-hydrated.
  3.  While the stuffing is cooking, prepare the mashed potatoes in the other pot according to the directions on the package.
  4. Scoop mashed potatoes and stuffing mixture separately onto plates and enjoy!



  1. Clean one of the pots and add equal parts water to pumpkin bark. Bring water to a boil and add in pumpkin pie bark  mixing continuously until it has a pudding-like thickness. Plop the pumpkin pie pudding evenly onto plates and and garnish with your almond cookies for the crust. Yum!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Rose’s!!

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