Thursday, November 18, 2010

You, Jive Turkey!

For those of you in the U.S., you know that Thanksgiving is a week away. This Thanksgiving will be the first time that I have the duties of cooking dinner. I made last year's Christmas dinner, and I think it went over well except this time things are different. Unlike Christmas, Thanksgiving is all about the food and not just one type of food...TURKEY! Granted, I'm also trying some other dishes out that I've never done before, but nothing gives me the willies like knowing that I have to provide the quintessential Thanksgiving culinary showpiece.

Yes, I have already expressed my latent anxiety about cooking a really large bird. Plus, I'm not just cooking for Husband J. I am also cooking for my mother and mother-in-law, two formidable cooks. I'm sure that my mother will be watching how I handle myself with keen interest. Ha!

The only problem with cooking a turkey is that EVERYONE has got their own way of doing it. Here are some of the techniques that I've heard so far:

Cook in a bag!
Put bacon all over it!
Rub butter on the skin!
Grill it!
Brine it!

It's like turkey information overload!

I've asked my mother-in-law and my Mom to write out how they make turkey, so I can see which technique I'm going to use. This weekend is about strategizing and getting over myself. I mean, it's just turkey, right? :)

So are any of you taking on major holiday cooking responsibilities this year? What's your approach? Also just to confuse myself, how do YOU cook your turkey?


lobster said...

I haven't ever cooked a turkey before. But I've heard brining does good things. Or injecting herbs/butter throughout w/one of those food injectors. Can't wait to see how it turns out!

BigAppleNosh said...

There was a fantastic Thanksgiving Throwdown yesterday between Bobby Flay and The Pioneer Wife. I don't know what their exact recipes were but each of their turkeys involved lots of herbs and butter rubbed on the skin!

Cathleya said...

I still experiment with turkey cooking. Brining produces juicy turkey but it's a PITA AND I never quite wash the salt off enough so it ends up very salty a lot of the time. Dry brine (basically salt crust for a day or so) is much easier but still...I can't seem to adequately wash the salt off, ever!

The method in one of my favorite cookbooks, "The New Best Recipe" has a method where you turn the turkey at intervals, so all 4 sides end up "upside" in the oven at some point. That actually is a great method for skin lovers because all the skin gets brown and crispy. It also cooks the turkey much faster than just leaving it breast side up and the breast doesn't dry out as much.

My mom actually grills her's REALLY easy and cook time is cut in half. It tastes pretty much normal to me, like an oven baked one, with no fuss. Skin is sometimes burnt off though, but mostly only on the bottom.

So many methods! But I'm an experimenter :) The one I will never do is cook the stuffing in the turkey though. I'm not a huge fan of cooking in the bag either, but only because the skin melts away/off and I love skin!

lavenderpug said...

we actually don't cook turkey because my sister is not a fan. but in the past, we have tried all sorts of things, including deep frying and brining. i agree with cathy--brining is great but it is a major pain in the ass because of space issues. i have heard of turning the turkey at intervals--that's a great idea, and if you do it, i highly recommend buying silicone gloves so you can grab and handle the turkey better. i can tell that your guests are in for a treat!

Tiffany said...

I generally brine it, rub herbed butter under the skin, and coat the top of the skin with a little olive oil. This year I think I'm going to do that same method and also try Cathleya's 360 turkey rotation. Can't wait to see how your turkey turns out!

melinda said...

I've never done a turkey myself, but my parents got an indoor fryer this year. I'm a little sad that I won't get to taste it!

Try Anything Once Terri said...

Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone! I will definitely let you know how things turned out!


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