Not only does he host the upcoming holiday at his house, he has also developed his own recipe that is now an ongoing tradition for his family.
The actor, who calls himself a “big stuffing head,” tells PEOPLE dressing is one of his favorite Thanksgiving sides. But he follows very strict rules—it must have meat and dried fruit should be left out of it.
“I’ve been served stuffing that has raisins in it before, and it made me have to kind of think in my mind if I’ve ever offended this person in my life,” he says.
Although his family normally ate the traditional stuffing with sausage, sourdough, celery and sage, Barinholtz says he was inspired by a classic deli staple to try something new.
“I remembered that pastrami is a very American thing, because while it comes from one culture—it comes from my people, the —it’s kind of loved by everyone,” he says. “There’s never been anyone that’s eaten a pastrami sandwich, and been like, ‘This is not for me.’”
“So I just thought, ‘What if I got some pastrami, and I used that as kind of the meat?’” he adds.
Barinholtz decided to sauté the pastrami with mustard and then use stale rye bread, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese to make a new kind of stuffing—and it was an instant winner.
“The best thing you can hear when you’ve made a dish for the first time, is silence. Because that means everybody’s just going to town on it,” he says.
Cooking the big meal is a family affair for the comedian. Together, his brother, mom and dad all have different responsibilities in order to get the meal on the table.
Thanksgiving dinner is also what inspired his new film The Oath.
“After Thanksgiving dinner in 2016, we were getting pretty heated, and then I just kind of stepped back, and remembered that we were all on the same side,” he says. “I just knew that if a family that was pretty much aligned could get into a big argument about politics, then what’s going on in the rest of the country? And I wanted to take that kind of feeling of the stress of the holiday week, amid a political crisis, and kind of blow it all up.”
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Barinholtz not only wrote, produced, directed and starred in the film, which costars Tiffany Haddish, he also worked closely with a prop designer to make the food that was shown in the movie.
“I always get frustrated in movies when food doesn’t look perfect, and especially Thanksgiving is so evocative, and we all have this image of what Thanksgiving should look like in our minds, and so I worked with my prop master John Gold, and we were up very early that morning, making a glaze, and chopping a chervil. I was very, very hands on,” he says.
To recreate his famous stuffing at home, follow the recipe below.
Ike Barinholtz’s Pastrami Stuffing
5 lbs. of good pastrami, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 to 2 jars of sauerkraut, strained
2 cups mustard
1 loaf stale rye bread, cut into cubes
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
1. Sauté pastrami, onion, sauerkraut and mustard in a skillet or dutch oven for five minutes.
2. Mix in cubes of bread.
3. Scramble eggs in a bowl and add to bread mixture with chicken stock.
4. Bake at 350 degrees, covered for 30 to 40 minutes.
5. Take out of oven and add shredded swiss cheese on top. Cook uncovered for ten more minutes until cheese is melted.
6. TRY TO NOT EAT THE WHOLE THING.