Happy Thanksgiving week everybody.
Chances are, if your new neighbor across the street has one thumb and third degree burn marks on his forearms, he really gets into Fourth of July or he does a deep-fried turkey for Thanksgiving or both.
Holiday accidents now involve not only falling off the ladder while putting up lights, but fireworks mishaps and the dreaded deep-fried turkey in the backyard.
A few years back Tur-Duck-In was the big fad for Thanksgiving, but it was short lived. Deep-fried turkey mania came on the scene and all hell broke loose. Hot oil, partially frozen turkey and a few beers are all recipes for disaster. Hospital emergency rooms have to add more staff during Thanksgiving weekend and with this deep-fried turkey craze, I can only think of one word. Structural fire. Okay, that’s two words, but you get my gist.
To begin with, logistical problems come up when you go out and buy the bird in the first place. It is frozen, and it needs to be thawed for a few days before the big event. Unless you have a refrigerator the size of a Buick, this presents a problem. Up North, if you are absolutely positively sure that your back porch or your garage is a constant 35-45 degrees for 48 hours, problem solved. Down South, you are sentenced to an entire bottom shelf in the fridge for thawing turkey. I hate it when I have to reach around behind a turkey to get at the milk.
Now that the bird is thawed, it is time to brine the turkey. Count on another 10-12 hours for this process. Brining adds flavor to the meat and whether you smoke it, roast it or deep-fry it, it may be worth the time and effort. Again, refrigerator space is at a premium here. The turkey must be fully submerged in a large stockpot to ensure optimum brinefulness. (I just made that word up).
Here is a simple brine recipe.
1 Cup Pickling salt
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbs. Smoked Paprika
½ Gal. Apple Cider
2 Tbs. Mixed Peppercorns
2 Bay Leaves
6 Garlic Cloves, Smashed
1 Gal Water, more if needed.
Combine all ingredients in a very large stockpot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat and let it cool.
When brine is completely cooled, carefully add turkey and cover with ice until pot is almost full and/or turkey is submerged. Refrigerate for at least 10 hours.
Now that the turkey is taking up space in the fridge, you’re pretty much ready to go, right? Wrong!
The deep-fried turkey mavens now want you to inject the turkey for even more layers of flavor.
When your turkey has reached optimal brinefulness, I’ll tell you about injecting, a turkey rub and actually cooking the bird.
Use this cooling off period to make your stuffing, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and green bean casserole ahead of time and hopefully you will have space in the fridge to store them until the big day comes around.
See you in 24 hours.