Thanksgiving 101

Wow, I now realize that last year was the 10th year I’ve cooked Thanksgiving dinner. ?It all started because in 1998 we lived in Las Vegas and the trusty family said they thought it would be fun to have Thanksgiving in Vegas. ?The trusty MIL thought we’d just go to some restaurant for dinner. ?I would have no part of that. ?Then the trusty aunts and uncles and vegetarian cousins decided they thought Thanksgiving in Vegas would be fun too and I am stupid and said SURE! come on over. ?Tracy, you can eat cranberry sauce. ?And thus my adventure with cooking Thanksgiving dinner began. ?It beats the heck out of running around from house to house eating 1400 turkey dinners.

I’ve been using the same turkey recipe for about 7 years now and I get rave reviews. ?Of course it is the same 5 people eating the turkey every year, but they wouldn’t lie to me… right? ?3 years ago I switched to buying a fresh turkey. ?It takes the pain in the ass work out of hoping your turkey is defrosted in time. ?The trick is brining the turkey. ?Evidently, this is the hot new thing (as of last year). ?Guess I’m just a trend setter. ?So here is how you go about delicious turkey.

Take 1 preferably fresh organic turkey and pull out the bits that come with it (save those). ?Rinse it off and place it in a 5 gallon bucket (that is hopefully brand new and labeled “for poultry use only”). ?Add to that the brine. ?DO NOT buy your brine. ?You don’t need to. ?Brine is simple. ?Take 1 cup of kosher salt, 1 gallon of vegetable stock, 1/2 cup brown sugar and a bunch of peppercorns and bring it to a boil. ?Then cool that down to at least room temperature (refrigerated is best). ?BRINE! ?Place turkey, brine and a gallon of heavily iced water in the bucket and snap on the lid all the way. ?If you live in a colder northern state place the bucket on the back patio the night before Thanksgiving. ?If you live in a warmer state, well… invest in a 2nd fridge.

Thanksgiving day take the turkey out of the bucket and rinse it again. ?Put it in your roasting pan, tuck the wings behind the breast so the turkey looks like it’s lounging about. ?Make a shield for the breast out of double layer aluminum foil and set that aside. ?Put a sliced apple, 1/2 and onion, 1 cinnamon stick and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe bowl and nuke it for 5 minutes. ?Put the cooked apple and onion inside the cavity of the bird. ?Add 4 sprigs of rosemary and 6 sage leaves to that and then slather the whole bird with grapeseed oil. ?Have your oven preheated to 500 degrees and open every window in your house and turn on every fan. ?It will get smoky. ?Take down your smoke alarms if you have children with sensory issues like mine. ? Throw the bird in the oven. ?Cook it at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. ?Don’t open the oven. After the 30 minutes put the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and place the previously made shield over the breast. ?Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and set the thermometer for 161 degrees. ?A 14-16 pound bird will take about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. ?Now you may have a martini. ?Let the bird rest about 15 minutes when it’s finished and reward yourself with another martini.

You have now successfully made Thanksgiving dinner. ?Who needs the rest?

1 Comment

  1. Lena says: Reply

    Well, when you write about it cooking a Turkey sounds easy enough. I may or may not want to do this one day. 🙂

    In the mean time, Happy Thanksgiving!!

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