Let’s Talk Turkey!

Most people love Turkey and it’s one of the first things that come to mind when one speaks of Thanksgiving. I’ve read somewhere that over eighty percent of Americans eat turkey on the holiday. Some people call Thanksgiving, “Turkey Day.” It’s a cute alternative but that definition only defines one aspect of this holiday, and I believe that this day means so much more.

Anyway, my family always made turkey and my mother would make a seasoning liquid and would rub it into the bird. Then she (or my father) would cover the turkey in that oven bag that’s found in supermarkets and would keep an eye on that thermometer button that pops up when it’s done. Of course, this process usually dries the turkey because the pop up button does not take the temp of the entire bird.

Don't trust it!

My wife did the bag and button process until we saw an Alton Brown special about Thanksgiving. We learned that a brine is much better and having a meat thermometer keeps the turkey from drying out.

Totally worth the money.

A brine is a bunch of seasonings in a water mix. We let the bird soak in it overnight inside of a cooler with ice so that it doesn’t go bad. Every time we did this, the white meat came out so juicy that the liquid squirts out as if you were eating a Gushers fruit snack. It’s delicious every time.

My wife carves the turkey in the kitchen and then brings out the meat in a large plate. I don’t understand why some people opt to carve the turkey at the dinner table. It’s traditional, but that is such a time consuming task when everyone is sitting at the table, ready to eat. My mouth would be watering so much that I would need a damn spittoon next to me. Personally I think it’s best to have everything ready and then serve it up once everyone is seated.

Although I love turkey, I think it is kind of weird how much we celebrate the bird we eat in living form. The Tom Turkey float has been in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for more years than I care to count. Benjamin Franklin even wanted the turkey to be the national bird instead of the bald eagle. That is some strange dedication and simultaneous mixed messages. However, I totally participate in the irony. I would be upset if the Tom Turkey float was removed as others would be. As scary as that flapping robot is, it’s our scary flapping robot, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Classic!

Finally, my wife and I have been using a turkey recipe that we found on the Food Network. This is the recipe that uses the brine. We tried it a few years ago and we’re never looked back. It is probably the best turkey I’ve ever had. You can find the recipe here and I would recommend trying it at least once, even if it’s not Thanksgiving. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised (and pleasantly plump).

See you tomorrow!

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13 Responses to “Let’s Talk Turkey!”

  1. Sam Frank Says:

    This is our first Thanksgiving not going out of state to see relatives, so it’s our first time preparing everything ourselves! Any recommendations for a smaller-than-usual dinner crowd? My mom and I were thinking of getting just a turkey breast instead of the whole bird.

    • berdorules Says:

      Just a turkey breast is fine. I would probably do the same if I didn’t get a free turkey from the local supermarket after spending a certain amount there. Ummm, or maybe I wouldn’t. I guess it’s a symbolic thing for me. It’s like Christmas without a tree.

  2. Hoverbored Says:

    Brining is something I’ve used to prepare steaks in the past, and it turned out very well. As for Thanksgiving turkey, my sister swears by the oven bag. She bastes it with butter, coats it in flour, and puts the whole thing in the bag before putting it in the oven. She doesn’t like to brine because it’s too salty. Also, it requires more prep time and she already spends the whole day cooking (and most of the previous night).

    • berdorules Says:

      I never heard of a flour coating but that sounds interesting. Also, I never tried brine with steaks but I have to try it now. Good idea!

      • Hoverbored Says:

        Yeah, you can find the steak recipe by searching America’s Test Kitchen or Cook’s Illustrated on the web. I don’t know how long you’re supposed to soak the steaks, but I didn’t do it for very long.

        As for the turkey, whether you’re a “bagger” or a “briner”(how’s that for an internet flame war?), the key seems to be proper temperature monitoring. My sister also uses a meat thermometer (those “pop-up” thermometers just aren’t reliable) and her turkeys have always come out right. Ironically, my family switched to the bag because the method my mother’s family used made it come out too dry (according to her, they would slow-roast it in the oven all day, presumably uncovered).

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