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Tips for Commanders fans to enjoy the best Thanksgiving homegating celebration

Fire up the deep fryer!

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Commanders Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Less than a month ago I posted an article about homegating and wrote this about the advantages as opposed to going to the stadium:

The fan experience for the Washington Commanders has not been a good time since owner Dan Snyder bought the team, and took over operations at FedEx Field. Old time fans remember the days at RFK Stadium when the team was winning, the stands were rocking, and everyone was having a good time watching the team they love. Fans still go to FedEx Field to support the Washington franchise and players, and some of them are still having fun in the parking lots tailgating.

For fans like myself that haven’t been to FedEx Field(my last game there was the win and get in game at the end of the 2016 season against the New York Giants where Kirk Cousins threw two picks in a loss), going to away games has become a welcome option. Last year’s trip to Las Vegas to watch the Washington Football Team beat the Raiders in a basically brand new stadium was an eye-opening experience, and made me want to go to more away games at different stadiums around the league.

People that don’t want to go to any stadium, whether that be because of the always rising prices of tickets/parking/concessions, don’t want to travel, or just don’t want to leave their house, homegating has become a great option to take advantage of the fun of tailgating without dealing with the costs, price, and potential bad weather. It also allows you to spend time with your family, without having to deal with any potential bad fan behavior you can run into at any stadium in the NFL.

A LOT has changed since then, and while I plan on continuing my boycott of FedEx Field until Dan Snyder sells the team, that date seems to be closer than anyone thought was possible. I won’t be going to a game this season, but I will go to the parade in Washington, D.C. when the sale of the team is official!

I am still a big fan of homegating, especially living over three hours away from the current stadium. I also love going to games, but that fun was sucked out of me until I went to Vegas last year. One time that I never go to games is during the holidays (New Year’s Day doesn’t count, and yes, that is a rough three-hour drive to watch the team lose to the Giants, thanks Kurt).

I come from a big family, my mother is one of nine children, and my fiancée also has a large extended family. For the longest time holidays (and dinner every Sunday) were held at my grandmother’s house down on her farm. After she passed, my favorite aunt took over those hosting duties, and loved having everyone over for Easter, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. In the NFL, Thanksgiving means football on the TV all day long. You can eat early and catch the later games, watch the early game, and eat later, or just keep the TV on the whole time and ignore all forms of human interaction.

The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys play every year on Thanksgiving. One of the highlights, or lowlights if you look at Washington’s 3-8 record there, was when the Cowboys and Redskins would play on Turkey Day. During the 2012 season, RGIII’s rookie year, Washington went down to Texas to take their usual beating on Thanksgiving. They were 0-6 against the Cowboys coming into that game.

My cousin is a diehard Cowboys fan, and even wore their disgusting jersey to his mother’s house on a holiday. I respectfully waited until halftime when Washington was up 28-3 to go to my car to put on my RGIII jersey and let him know how badly his Boys were getting beaten. He quickly had something better to do, before running from his mother’s house. I swear I heard crying on the way out the door. Washington went on to win 38-31, and ended the curse of playing the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

I was fortunate enough to buy a house four years ago that is large enough to host big family holiday dinners that can easily explode to over 35 people. Luckily I’m used to cooking/grilling/smoking big meals for a family of seven, and I have plenty of help from the ladies in my life.

I’ve been perfecting the bacon-wrapped turkey for almost a decade, and I make one in the oven every year. It’s super easy to make, and looks a lot better when someone besides me does the wrapping. The “bacon cage” makes some of the tastiest skin on a turkey you’ll ever have, and keeps the bird juicier in my opinion. Standard stuffing applies, but this is a staple for any Thanksgiving, and an instant party pleaser.

Since buying my home four years ago, I decided to immediately put it in danger of being featured on a TikTok video of it catching on fire by buying a deep fryer and making a turkey in it every year. Follow all common sense and instructions before attempting this miracle bird.

A few tips from a three-time pro: Inject the bird with some flavored butter, you’ll thank me later. Dry that damn turkey off! DO NOT DEEP FRY a bacon-wrapped bird! Use any leftover bacon you have after you pull the turkey in the deep fryer. It cooks in a minute, and has amazing flavor.

Those are just a few of the traditions my family and I have picked up along the way, along with the obligatory passing out on the couch shortly after dinner. I know turkey is not on everyone’s menu for Thanksgiving, but I’ll put mine on anyone’s table before watching the game.