Houseboat Thanksgiving Turkey

rock on dockMost of what you’ll need you’ll find on your houseboat. But there are some things you will need to bring and a few things you may want to bring. (Download a checklist)

What you need to bring:

  • Toiletries/soap
  • Towels and facecloths,  etc.
  • Food and beverages

What you might want to bring:

  • Flashlight (strong recommend)
  • Cooler or ice chest (we supply one but you may want an extra)
  • Battery-operated radio/music player
  • Binoculars
  • Fishing gear
  • Scuba/snorkel gear
  • Canoe/kayak/zodiac (great for exploring when you anchor or tie up to a mooring can)
  • Inverter (plugs into on board cigarette lighter. Useful if you need to charge cell phones and other electronic devices)
  • A passport if you’re planning to enter the U.S. ?(Check U.S. custom’s website for up-to-date requirements

How to cook a houseboat Thanksgiving turkey

What you will need to bring:

Roasting pan

Meat thermometer

Carving fork and knife

Potato masher



Pre-made pumpkin pie

Cranberry sauce

Brussel sprouts



The trick to a successful Thanksgiving dinner is timing. For this houseboat Thanksgiving dinner  we want to keep it simple so everything will be table ready when the turkey is fully cooked and ready for serving. Here are some suggestions.

The turkey

Butterball (our recommend) has several options for those wanting a Thanksgiving dinner on the St. Lawrence River. Your choice will depend on many factors, not the least of which is the number of people you will be serving.

We LOVE our festive turkeys and ALWAYS buy the Butterball, cook-from-frozen bird. How do you keep it frozen on a houseboat? Use the supplied cooler and put three blocks of ice ON TOP of the bird and keep the cooler closed. When it’s time to start preparing your meal, remove the turkey and it’s wrapping and follow the instructions.

Here are Butterball’s suggestions: (We contacted them and asked specifically for the purpose of a houseboat holiday thanksgiving.)

1)     Boneless Turkey Breast Roast

A frozen product that is much smaller than a whole turkey. It is not a stuffed product, so that would have to be done separately

The advantage is that thawing is not a problem. Add canned gravy for added moisture. It will be fine to eat provided it is stored below refrigerator temperature (4°F) and cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.

It cooks in approximately 4 hours (shorter if thawed), and so would need to be stored for a longer time period.

Serves approximately 8-10 with no leftovers

2).    Boneless Stuffed Turkey Breast Roast

Another frozen product, very similar to the Breast Roast.

This product is stuffed however, and must remain frozen prior to cooking.

It cooks in approximately 4 hours (shorter if thawed), and so would need to be stored for a longer time period.

Serves approximately 6-8 with no leftovers

3)      Frozen Butterball Whole Stuffed Turkey

The classic Butterball turkey that would re-create the Thanksgiving at home experience

In this case you will have a longer cook time (greater than 4 hours) so temperature stability in the oven would be ideal, but frozen storage time would be a few hours less (size dependent)

4)   Frozen Butterball Whole Turkey (Unstuffed)

This product must be thawed prior to cooking, either in a refrigerator for a few days or in cold water for a few hours (both are size dependent).

Stuffing must be made separately, but the feel of a home-Thanksgiving would be present.

The other dinner ingredients

An hour before your turkey is cooked, peel and cut up potatoes and put in a pot and bring to a boil on the stove.

Half an hour before the turkey is done, boil Brussel sprouts.

Grate the cheese and put in pot, add milk and bring to a slow heat to create a cheese sauce for the Brussel Sprouts .

Remove the turkey and let stand for 15 minutes  before carving.

Add little milk and mash the boiled potatoes

Carve turkey

Add cheese sauce to Brussel sprouts and serve.

And for the quintessential Thanksgiving dinner, a pumpkin pie is a must. A pre-made one is a strong suggestion.

Have a Thanksgiving dinner experience you will never forget. Want to invite guests who won’t be staying overnight? Ask us about helping to arrange a water taxi service to where you plan to dock.

And Happy Thanksgiving.