Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Post #166: Gobble It Up!

rom theturkey

Let's face it. No matter what dishes you slave over or buy last minute from the store to adorn your Thanksgiving table, the turkey will always be the main attraction.

Maybe it is best put this way:

From theturkey

So unless you want to be the "soda" and "dinner rolls" person and not the "Amazing Diva of Delectable Delights", then maybe Maxine's way is the way to go. However, if you would like to be the center of attention (as you all know, I shun away from the spotlight), here is the way we do our turkey around these parts.

First, be sure your turkey is defrosted and all the innards are out. Check the body and neck cavity for bags of tasty treats! These would be the heart, liver, and neck. Cook these for your giblet gravy or a snack. I love them! My husband thinks they are gross. What does he know? If these bags come out easily, then more than likely your turkey is good to go. If not, you may need to whip out a hair dryer to help you defrost that baby. Now, a turkey typically takes 3-5 days to defrost, depending on its size. Since, I do not have the refrigerator space, I defrost mine the good ole fashioned way, my grandma's way, which I will not share with you in order to protect myself from potential lawsuits that may arise should you decide to break with the health department recommendations as I do every year and for some quirky reason get food poisoning that ruins your Thanksgiving holiday and makes you hate me so much that you proceed with legal action unprecedented in food blog history. How is that for a run-on sentence?

So I will start here:
  1. Defrost your turkey!
  2. Preheat your oven to 425F and remove top rack. Yes, the temperature is right-for now. Trust me. This is a slow-baking method.
  3. Place turkey in roasting pan. Then, rub the turkey with olive oil to massage the skin loose. We are generous with our thinner olive oil. I highly recommend with a more viscous oil to add less.  An even and mild coating will deliver a crisp skin. Over-oiling makes for a soggy skin!
  4. Add fresh herbs (or dried herbs if that is all you have). Combine Rosemary and Thyme together. Mix them by taking the leaves off the sprig. I also add granulated garlic to the mix. Then, apply evenly underneath the turkey's skin. Be careful not to tear skin or over stretch it. Be gentle and rub smoothly. Move your hands (underneath) all over rubbing the herbs everywhere, including the legs. If you have never done this, it may take you aback a little when you feel the skin breaking away as you rub.
  5. Next add sprigs of fresh herbs to the big cavity of turkey for good measure. I also added one big sliced apple for extra moisture.
  6. Loosely cover the entire pan with aluminum foil.
  7. Then, place turkey on bottom rack and commence baking for 20 minutes at 425F. This is referred to as "sealing" the turkey.
  8. After baking for 20 minutes, REDUCE heat to 250F. Continue to bake the turkey 20 minutes per pound (for a ten pound turkey this would be 200 minutes or 3 hours and 20 minute) or until a meat thermometer inserted into the deep middle of turkey breast reads 180F. If the turkey bleeds while you insert the thermometer, chances are the turkey is not done!
  9. Please make sure the turkey is done. Remember crown of glory or dunce cap? Which one do you want?

From theturkey
Thanks to my lovely assistant, Savannah (my daughter), for getting her hands dirty for me. For some odd reason, she loves doing this part every year!

From theturkey
See the herbs underneath the skin of our blurred turkey?

From theturkey

Why this method you ask? Well, it can take up some oven time, but it is a 100% sure way to guarantee that your turkey will not be dry OR bland. It is a really tender and juicy turkey. Notice that I did not ask you to baste the turkey once. There is absolutely no need. You will find you have almost a pitcher of turkey juice. That is a lot of gravy! You also do not need to remove the foil to "brown" the turkey. The olive oil not only gives the turkey moisture and adds a healthier version of fat than butter, it also gives you a nice crispy skin, if you have not over-oiled it. However, if you need to tan it a little more, then whip off the foil and let it bask in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

This method is easy. Really. In fact the hardest part of T-Day Cooking is planning. If you only have one oven (like me), you really have to plan, military style. If you have two, I am jealous!!!

Wish me luck. Today I start my pies! All from scratch. Even the fillings. I must be crazy.

Visualize "the crown"!



Barbara Bakes said...

rotfl - If the turkey bleeds while you insert the thermometer, chances are the turkey is not done! Great tip! Have a great Thanksgiving!

Dragana said...

Great tips! How lucky that you have Savannah to do all your dirty work!!!

Cheryl said...

I like how you roll sista, my 20 lb turkey is swimming in a sink of cold water as we speak, LOL, no way in hell will it thaw by tday!

Jennifer said...


I have decided to make a turkey breast in the slow cooker.

Christine aka Mistress of Cakes said...

lol...great post..tasty bird!

My turkey is sitting in a apple cider cajun spice brine. Tomorrow I will marinaade it. A 21 pounder! I love the herbs under the skin...I will have to try that for Christmas.

Christine aka Mistress of Cakes said...

by the way mine was solid as a rock when I put the turkey in the brine lol.

Gabe's Girl said...

Mine was 20lbs. The biggest I have ever baked was 23 lbs and some change. That was crazy! I was so clueless. Almost as clueless as when I baked one that was barely 15 lbs for a whole room of people! Ah, live and learn to cook.
CaMOC- That cider concoction sounds great! Way to treat a 21-lber.
Sista Cheryl-I think it will be defrosted by then. At least, enough. If it doesn't work out-PIZZA!
Jennifer-awesome way to treat a breast :-)

Life with Kaishon said...

I am the soda and dinner person and I am just fine with that : )

Ingrid said...

SOunds like a tasty bird. We had a fried one...........I'm not crazy about fried foods but its darn good and sooooo juicy.

Hope you had a wonderful and delicious one! :)