Monday, November 29, 2010

Gobble Gobble

The most daunting part of hosting Thanksgiving dinner was probably making the turkey. I've been told that "you can't mess up a turkey," you just stick it in the oven and "let it cook."

I disagree. It is very possible to:

a) overcook it and end up with gross, dry turkey meat
b) undercook it and poison all your guests

I did not intend to do either, so I did a fair amount of research online, and was helped greatly by Alton Brown and my dad, who served as my Butterball hotline for the day.



In short, I defrosted the turkey in a 4 gallon tub of water, in the fridge, for 24 hours. Wednesday night, I dumped the water and replaced it with brine: 2 gallons water, 1/2 gallon white wine, 9 oz Kosher salt, and about 1/2 cup of sugar. After 12 hours in the brine, it was ready to go into the oven on Thanksgiving morning.

Before cooking, I fashioned an aluminum foil breast plate (see above) that would be used later. First I cooked the (bare-breasted) turkey for 30 minutes at 500 degrees to brown the breast. Then I fastened its turkey bra on and cooked for another 2 1/2 hours at 350 degrees (this was a 15 1/2 pound bird).



After it cooled for about half an hour, the carving began. Turns out, none of us had any experience carving a turkey, and I have no decent knives for this purpose. A fair amount of turkey shredding ensued. It was still moist and delicious. And so far, no food poisoning related deaths.

The whole shebang:



Stay tuned for side dishes later this week.

3 comments:

  1. where's the picture of you with the turkey neck?? ps that squash & spinach stuff looks AMAZING, what gourmet chef made THAT

    ReplyDelete
  2. Whoa, look at that ENTIRE BIRD in the second picture!

    ReplyDelete

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