Thanksgiving on the Road

Let’s talk turkey.

So, you have to work Thanksgiving Day. You’ll be out on the road and you won’t get to enjoy that big Thanksgiving Day feast at home, eating obscene amounts of food, enough to stuff a horse, really. After loosening the top button on the old pair of Carhartts, you won’t get the pleasure of plopping yourself down on the recliner, for a post-meal, l-tryptophan-enduced coma in front of your big screen TV with the Lions versus Vikings, Redskins versus Cowboys, or Steelers versus Colts game blaring.

OK, but you still want to enjoy some turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce or jelly. Well, if you’re in the state of Idaho near Boise on Thursday, Nov. 24, consider making a bee-line for the Boise Stage Stop. It will be offering all professional drivers a free meal, according to this post on Overdrive magazine, which promises to update this information with more free offerings as the staff receives them.

You may also want to check with your favorite truck stop, or look up a truck stop where you think you’ll be on Thursday –  and give them a call or visit their web site to see what’s cookin’. Area churches or ministries like Transport for Christ – may also be a good place to break bread and enjoy some fellowship.

If you don’t want to take your chances with truck stop fare and would prefer a DIY meal, we have a few suggestions – time saving tips; instructions on how to cook your entire Thanksgiving dinner in one large crock pot (see below); instructions for cooking a juicy turkey in a crock pot (by the time it’s done, your truck will definitely smell like Thanksgiving); and some recipes we found to make your Thanksgiving a little more enjoyable.

First, making a Thanksgiving Day meal with a hotplate, microwave and crock pot is certainly doable, with a bit of planning. But always keep in mind proper food handling techniques and the need for the right equipment – starting with an inverter that can handle surge power. Induction appliances like microwave ovens or appliances that use magnets or transformers need a kick-start to get going. They can draw up to double the amount of power before dropping to a lower level of continuous power. If your inverter isn’t up to the task or you don’t have one with surge power capacity, consider plugging into truck stop electrification power service at more than 1,800 parking spots at about 60 locations in the United States.

Of course, there’s always the “Gonzo Trucker” method of using the heat of your truck engine to do the major lifting of cooking your holiday meal. Cecil Jorgensen and Kathleen Szalay offer some been-there, done-that wisdom with the book “Diesel Dining: The Art of Manifold Cooking.” But unless you have an older truck, we’re talking pre-SCR emission reduction technology, and without prior experience doing this, we can’t recommend this course. Given the recent changes in engine emission technology, the amount of heat generated in the engine compartment has significantly increased while the space to fit a turkey and stuffing has decreased.

Prep Work

Consider doing most of your prep work at home the day before you head out on the road on Thanksgiving week. Slice all of your vegetables – onions, carrots and celery and place them in resealable bags. If you have a vacuum sealer, that’s even better. You could also bake your sweet potatoes and your stuffing and boil your gold or red potatoes ahead of time. Just be sure to let them cool down before placing them in your home refrigerator to thoroughly chill. You could also freeze your stuffing, again after it cools down.

Then you can heat all of that up in the microwave or toaster oven (if it’s big enough) on Thanksgiving.



Whatever you decide to do this Thanksgiving holiday, stay safe, stay warm and keep it between the lines. If you have some sage advice or some funny moments to share regarding Thanksgiving on the road, drop us a line.

Happy Thanksgiving!