Christmas Feast 2010 Part 2 Turkey

This is part 2 of  Christmas Feast 2010. To see part 1 go to www.stevenshomler.com/2011/01/10/christmas-feast-2010-part-1-intro-menu-appetizers

This was our menu for  Christmas Feast 2010 –

Appetizers

Turkey

Turkey Gravy

Sourdough stuffing

Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes with Hazelnut Butter

Departure Style Brussels Sprouts

Sesame Soy Christmas Slaw

Sweet & Tangy Cranberry Almond Yams with Lemon Zested Marshmallow Crust

Orange Spike Cranberry Sauce

Hand Torn Rustic Sourdough Bread

Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Zest Whipped Cream

Turkey

I make awesome turkey!  My turkey browns nicely and it is always moist and tender and delicious!

I do NOT ever baste my turkey.

#1 That is too much work. #2 Turkey basting reminds me of too many inappropriate jokes I learned as a child.

So how do I make my awesome turkey and avoid the misery that is turkey basting?

I will tell you my turkey secrets! Forthwith!

My first secret is that I use a Flavor Injectorwww.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-flavor-injector.htm)

A Flavor Injector is a wonderful cooking tool. It is a syringe with a long metal needle that you can use to inject melted butter directly into your turkey. Let me say that again – you can inject melted butter directly into your turkey. Is that fantastic or what!

Here is how you go about making Awesome Turkey.


Get your turkey out on a large cookie sheet.

Take one or 2 cubes of butter and put the butter on the stove in  small pan on med low heat to melt. Add 1/8 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper per cube to your melting butter. Yes, I said Cayenne pepper! It will give your bird a wonderful flavor.

Run a glass 1 cup measuring cup under hot water.

Get out a small bowl and fill it with ice cubes.

Once your butter melts and starts to brown, pour it into the warmed measuring cup.

The reason you use a 1 cup measuring cup is because it is narrow enough to allow you to easily get the butter into the syringe and sturdy enough to work with. Do not use a plastic measuring cup. Bad things can happen when you put hot butter into a plastic container.

Time to shoot up the turkey!

Load the syringe up with the melted cayenne butter and start injecting the bird. Point the syringe straight down and carefully pull out the needle. Often when I do that, the butter starts running out of the hole I just made into my bird. That is what the bowl of ice is for. Apply an ice cube to the hole and the butter bleed will stop as the butter chills and hardens. Inject the bird all over.  Just go for it.

If you are going to stuff the bird, now is the time. Don’t be shy – cram your stuffing in.

To see my stuffing recipe go to www.stevenshomler.com/2011/01/20/christmas-feast-2010-part-3-sourdough-stuffing-am-yukon-gold-mashed-potatoes-with-hazelnut-butter

Put your turkey in a bag!

My final turkey secret is that is really easy and convenient to use an oven bag for a turkey.

If you use a Reynolds oven bag, you do not have to baste your bird, and it will be moist and delicious. www.reynoldsovenbags.com. Why Reynolds? Heck – they make a plastic bag that you put a turkey in and put into the oven. That technology amazes me! Why doesn’t the bag melt? or explode? I don’t know, they probably use special gamma ray irradiated polymers in it. If the Reynolds people want to fly me out to to learn more about their amazing bag, I would be delighted to go!

I have found that it can be tough to get the bird into the bag. While your turkey is still on the cookie sheet , open up your bag, and slide it under and over the bird. I advise against picking up the bird and trying to put it into the bag. Speaking from ugly experience you might drop the bird.

Getting the bird into the bag always reminds me of Jack Daughery’s line – “watching certain women put on panty hose can like be watching someone stuff a marshmallow into a piggy bank.”

While the amazing plastic oven bag does not melt, you want to take out the racks in the oven above the bird and make sure that your turkey is on a lower rack. When heated the bag does inflate, and you do not want the bag to hit the top of the oven while it is cooking. The 4 pics immediately  above show my turkey as it first goes into the oven, after about 1 hour in the oven, after about 2 hours, and just before I took it out of the oven.

Let me close with this – In the past I have received grief  from “real” cooks about using a cooking bag for a turkey. It used to bother me. I have since learned to let it go. I love the Food Network, and Throwdown with Bobby Flay and Iron Chef America are two of my favortite shows. I recently watched a Thanksgiving Throwdown that had Bobby Flay vs Ree Drummond.  www.foodnetwork.com/throwdown-with-bobby-flay/thanksgiving-feast www.thepioneerwoman.com.

I loved that Throwdown episode, however, I felt sorry for both of them as they kept having to baste thier turkeys. I like how I do it. It works for me and my turkey always is moist and delicious. What more could you want?

However…I do hope that my turkey bag confession does not prevent me from being a judge on Iron Chef some day… Chairman -Please consider a turkey bag a poor man’s Sous Vide / Immersion Circulator.

Steven Shomler

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