While Thanksgiving may be a formal, family-packed affair, Friendsgiving is a time to kick back and celebrate with the people who know you the best. Make yours one for the ages with our guide to hosting Friendsgiving outside, complete with twinkling candles, grilled turkey, and an easy recipe for a crowd-pleasing apple galette. Read on for our best tips on how to nail this year’s gathering, from the food to the décor to the overall cozy feels.
Friendsgiving happens to fall during the last precious weeks of prime outdoor entertaining weather. For a memorable event, consider investing in one centerpiece, like a chiminea, which doubles as an outdoor hearth. Surround it with mini pumpkins, hefty and reversible outdoor blankets, and mums in every color for a fall-centric look. In case of inclement weather, pick up a pop-up tent ahead of time — you can decorate it with a few design-y extras, like LED Edison bulbs.
Speaking of lighting, soften the edges of your Friendsgiving afternoon and evening with outdoor candle holders. You can add real or battery-operated candles for a warm and inviting atmosphere.
And don’t forget about the star of the show: the food. Unlike regular Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving is all about that chill, so your menu should be as easy to execute as it is enticing to eat. Embracing the grill is one way to make dinner a more approachable affair. As the host, you won’t constantly have to excuse yourself to go inside to check temperatures. Here’s our menu:
The main: If the goal is “chill,” you might be tempted to skip the turkey. Instead of foregoing it entirely, consider a smaller, 12-pound bird, dry-brined, spatchcocked, and placed right on the grill. Start the bird — which should be patted dry and removed from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to grilling — around 450° on a moderately hot section of the grill, breast side up, for 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350° and cook until the internal temperature reads 150° in the thickest part of the breast, which should take 70 to 80 minutes.
The sides: Accompany your easygoing main with an equally breezy bread stuffing: 1 torn baguette; 1 tablespoon each of fresh rosemary and sage; ½ cup chicken stock; 1 cup each sautéed mushrooms, onions, and celery; a knob of butter. You can bake your stuffing before guests arrive and reheat it in a casserole dish on the grill at 350° while the turkey roasts.
The desserts: What would a fall-themed fête be without an ode to everyone’s favorite non-savory vegetable, the sweet potato? For this particular alfresco party, we’re grilling them (the already whipped sweet potatoes go right in a heat-proof ramekin and get baked for 30-40 minutes until hot in the center). For an interactive flourish at the end, top them with jumbo marshmallows and hand some blow-torches off to friends to see who can win at best-of-brûlée. Round it out with the showstopper: a slightly smoky grilled apple galette that is easy to make and even easier to fall in love with (we’ve included the recipe at the end).
Once dinner is over, double down on the cozy vibes, with insulated cups for hot cocoa by the fire, s’mores sticks for roasting extra marshmallows, and hand-warmers, just in case the temperatures start to dip at night’s end.
When it’s time to go, don’t simply send guests home with leftovers. Vintage containers rescued from yard sales, flea markets, and thrift stores make the perfect parting gifts. A slice of apple galette may not last a lifetime, but that funky, 1980s-era décor you salvaged from the neighbor’s front yard definitely will. It’s one way to guarantee that this Friendsgiving will be the one they never forget.
Friendsgiving Apple Galette
For the crust
1¾ cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. kosher salt
15 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
6-10 Tbsp. ice water
For the filling
4 Honeycrisp apples (about 1 ¾ lb), peeled, halved, cored, and cut into ¼-inch slices
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg
¼ cup turbinado sugar
Vanilla ice cream for serving, if desired
Start on the dough: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour and salt and pulse until just combined.
Add the butter all at once and pulse a handful of times until large pea-sized pieces form. With the motor running, gradually add the ice water through the feed tube until large moist clumps form.
Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and flatten it into a large disc. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Toss together the apples, both sugars, lemon juice, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside in the refrigerator for 15 minutes so that the flavors meld together.
Preheat a gas, charcoal, or pellet grill to medium, or, if your grill allows for a specific heat setting, to 400°.
Unwrap the dough and transfer it to a cool, floured surface. Place Silpat or a piece of parchment paper over a half-sheet tray.
Roll the dough to a ⅜-inch thick round, measuring 13 to 14 inches in diameter, and transfer to the baking sheet.
Arrange the apple mixture in an even layer in the center of the dough, about 2 inches from the edge. Fold the overhanging dough over the filling, forming pleats every few inches. Scatter the cubes of butter over the exposed apple mixture.
Assemble the galette: Whisk together the egg and one tablespoon of water and brush the top of the dough, making sure to get beneath the creases of the pleats. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the top of the dough and filling. Place the uncovered galette in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Remove the galette from the freezer. Grill for approximately one hour and 10 minutes, or until the apples are easily pierced with a sharp knife and juices are bubbling, checking the galette regularly for over-browning (if the galette appears to be taking on too much color, cover the edges with aluminum foil).
Remove the galette from the grill and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then run a small sharp or fish spatula under the edges of the Silpat to release it from the tray. Carefully transfer the galette to a cake stand and serve either warm or at room temperature, with ice cream if desired.
Photographer: Paul Quitoriano
Food Styling: Lena Abraham
Art Direction: Sarah Ceniceros Gomez