Monday, November 17, 2008

How To Cook A Turkey

Since this is the week before Thanksgiving, and I always get one free bird as a frequent shopper at certain supermarkets (I won't name them for fear of free publicity,) you're wondering "How does one cook a bird?" Well, faithful readers, I took the Alton Brown approach a couple years ago, and it has worked to perfection. Here's the steps that are used to do so.

STEP ONE. Before you cook your turkey, give it a good brining to allow the flavor to come out. Go down to a reliable home improvement store, buy a five gallon bucket used for mixing huge amounts of paint and a lid, and clearly mark this as a "Turkey Brining Only" bucket. In the spirit of Mr. Brown's multitasking stuff (the sole unitasker being a fire extinguisher), you can also use this as a seat by adding a pillow on top. Then, get a gallon of hot H2O, a pound of ice, a cup of salt (Kosher will do, but sea salt is also good) and a cup of something sweet (sugar, brown sugar or even honey) and place your turkey with the giblets and neck removed from the cavity into the briney waters - Arrrrrrr! Sorry, my inner Pirate Rupert Murdoch - clamp on the lid and set for at least a day or two.

STEP TWO. Get yourself some alumimum foil, about a six inch by six inch square, and make a breast plate by forming it on the front of the bird upon it. Also, to make the skin brown, use olive oil (extra virgin is okay, but any type olive oil will work.) Heat at 500 degrees for the first half hour, then turn it down to 350 for fifteen minutes per pound thereafter. (A 12-pound bird will take three hours as an example, adjust accordingly.) Remember, don't trust that pop-up timer on your bird, it pops at a certain time, but it contains a ceramic substance and the rest of the bird won't be cooked well.

There you have it. Just an advance way of saying "Happy Thanksgiving" a week early. If it were Ben Franklin's perogotive, the turkey would have been the national bird (and the Philadelphia NFL team would have been called the Turkeys) and we'd be eating eagles for Thanksgiving. Thankfully, it didn't turn out that way...unless you were the NFL team and you've been playing like turkeys.

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