I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.
I had a comedy of errors for mine and even took a picture for you.
My son loves watching the food channels and announced that he wanted to brine the turkey this year. He also wanted to deep fry it but that wasn’t something I was willing to do nor let him try on his own. We also don’t have a turkey deep fryer or 5 gallons of oil so it was never really considered, at least on my part. He continued to beg.
We did brine the turkey.
I used a recipe my son found from Alton Brown‘s website which involved a pound of salt, 6 quarts of water, five lbs of ice and a bunch of seasonings. The turkey was to go into a five gallon cooler, which we had.
The problem was the recipe called for a 12-14 lb turkey and I had bought a 24 lb turkey because they were 40 cents a pound at Wal*Mart.
It was just the three of us for Thanksgiving but I figured we’d be able to enjoy the leftovers for a while.
I’m already incredibly sick of turkey leftovers.
Anyway, we prepared the brine and unwrapped the turkey, which was not entirely thawed out even though I had taken it out of the freezer the week before.
Son and I lowered the turkey into the cooler carefully so we didn’t splash out all of the brine mixture. We got the turkey about half way into the cooler (we were using an upright drinking cooler) and the turkey was stuck.
24 lb turkeys are big ass birds that were probably never meant to fit into a 5 gallon Igloo cooler.
Daughter was employed to sit on the turkey to get it in the cooler.
I wish I had taken pictures of this part but I was too busy laughing to think about the camera.
Meanwhile the dog is licking the part of the turkey that had not yet been forced into the cooler.
It briefly occurred to me that we might not be able to get the turkey out but we were committed at this point and pressed on.
I couldn’t fit five pound of ice into the cooler but did manage to fit a couple of trays of ice in there. I figured since the turkey wasn’t completely thawed and I was leaving the cooler outside over night it would be fine. Besides I was going to cook the damn thing so any bacteria that managed to grow would be killed.
We left the turkey outside overnight and Thursday morning I retrieved it to start the cooking process. The bird would take at least 5 hours to cook so I wanted to get it in the oven by 9 so we could eat by 2:30.
I had the oven set and the roasting pan ready to accept the bird when I wedged it out of the cooler.
My roasting pan was not meant for a 24lb bird but I had no other pans that would it would fit into so again I pressed on hoping for the best.
I couldn’t fit the lid on the pan but covered it in tin foil. For reasons I don’t fully understand the bird was finished cooking, indicated by the button that popped up as well as an internal temperature of 165 degrees, after only 2 hours of cooking.
No one was ready to eat at 11 am so I left the bird in the oven on 200 degrees for another three hours.
So we were going to have a dried out bird. I hadn’t cooked the stuffing or mashed potatoes yet. We just weren’t ready for the bird yet.
I had my first glass of wine by noon.
By the time I finished all the other cooking, set the table, showered and dressed it was 2pm. The bird was a little over done since only half of it came out of the pan when I transfered it from the roasting pan to the platter. The drumsticks and wings and whatever part of the bird that is attached to both of those appendages was left in the pan. My son pulled them out and tried his best to arrange the pieces so they looked like a whole bird. He did a pretty good job too.
Surprisingly the bird was not dried out and it tasted wonderful.
There was no arguing at the table for once and daughter spontaneously announced what she was thankful for and even more surprisingly my son followed her lead and listed the things he was thankful for. Both of them were thankful for our little family.
It couldn’t have been a nicer Thanksgiving.
I hope everyone had as nice of a holiday as we did.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Brine Your Thanksgiving Turkey for Juicier Results [Food] (lifehacker.com)
- What Is the Best Way To: Cook a Turkey? (thekitchn.com)
I’ve never heard of a brine turkey before. Did it taste a lot different than an average turkey? I’m glad you had a fun and thankful holiday!
.-= Surfie´s last blog ..I Love the Smell of Sawdust in the Morning! =-.
I love that your daughter sat on the turkey and the dog was licking it. Sounds like my house!!
.-= Lee the Hot Flash Queen´s last blog ..I Drank The Koolaid =-.
I am imaging the picture of your daughter sitting on the turkey! It sounds like everything turned out perfectly! Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?
Sounds exactly like Thanksgiving is supposed to be I’ll be at your place next year.
I have been roasting turkeys for the past 35 years and I had never heard of brine turkey until this year. It was all over the food channel and Martha Stewart’s show. Upon your recommendation, I’m cooking the turkey the brine way next year.
Surfie: We tried it last year too but the turkey was smaller and my ex husband did all the work so this was new to me. It didn’t taste different except it was very moist. I’m surprised it didn’t taste different because I used tons of garlic and cayenne pepper. But then I always stuff it with garlic and other spices anyway.
Lee: I was afraid I might gross out some readers with the sitting on the turkey and the dog licking thing but it was cooked. Thankfully it was just us, though I would have served it to guests as well I just wouldn’t have told them any of that part.
Buggys: I couldn’t have planned it any better than this. It really was a nice thanksgiving which is nice because the holidays usually suck.
Jayne: I’ll set a place for you.
Margo: Don’t forget to have a dog around and a small child, if you like I can send her your way to squash it into the cooler. She is just the right size.
Ooh! Send those turkey leftovers my way! We only had a 16 pound bird and we’ve only got scraps left. I cooked it in my Nesco Roaster and it turned out nice and moist. When I tried to cook the tray of stuffing and green bean casserole I found out my oven stopped working. It lights, but doesn’t regulate the temperature anymore. Quick thinking saved the day and I put the stuffing and casserole in the gas grill on the patio.
Lola: How did that work on the grill? My neighbor makes pizza on the grill and it is wonderful but I would imagine cooking other stuff might be challenging.
Oh, what a nice story with a happy ending! I was so afraid as I was reading it was going to somehow end in disaster! 😀 Glad it turned out great in the end – you deserve it!
Carole: For some people it might have been a disaster but it’s all in the perspective. My kids and I had a blast cooking and brining the bird so the holiday had not possibility of going bad. I suppose the house could have caught fire but then one of the kids would have grabbed the marshmallows and it would have worked out.
I never heard of brine before. I bet that Turkey you stuffed into that cooler was hilarious! I started laughing as I read it! At least it will be a Thanksgiving that you can’t forget. LOL
Brining the bird does magical things. PB and I have tried Alton Brown’s recipe several times! Good for your son for wanting to try new things, and for forging ahead into the kitchen. Glad to hear that it was a good Thanksgiving, too.
That is one big bird!
So did the brining make a difference? I don’t even know what it means, but if Alton Brown endorses it, I’m all for it.
Our family usually has those rotisserie chicken breasts. Not nearly as dramatic.
OHMYGOD! This story is hysterical! I could just picture you and son physically forcing this turkey into the igloo…with daughter pushing and stamping it….all the while, the dog’s licking it! Hilarious!
Oh, you are SO LUCKY you got that thing cooked! 2 hours?!?! I wud’ve been dying…and I definitely wud’ve been drinking by 10…the latest!!
Stacie: I think brining the turkey is like fondue of the 70’s. Just a passing fad. It does make the bird taste good and it gives everyone something to do and talk about.
Mama Badger: My son is willing to try anything regarding food. This is the kid who like to dip his bacon in chocolate and put it between two slices of bread. He is turning into a very good cook.
JD: Chicken on Thanksgiving? That is breaking some kind of rule I am sure. We do chicken at least four times a week so a turkey is a must at least once a year. We all kept calling it a chicken, and hell, they look the same so I guess it’s all the same.
Kathryn: The 2 hours still has me a bit worried, though I did keep it in the oven for the full five. It shouldn’t have been ready except I stuffed it with apples and onions and not stuffing so that probably made the difference. I forgot to mention the cat hair from my daughters butt. We all wear cat and dog hair in this house.
Ahhh… every once in awhile everything comes together in perfect harmony. I love when that happens. (Even if the dog does lick the turkey.)
OMG…what a FAAAABULOUS story!
I laughed my butt off at… Meanwhile the dog is licking the part of the turkey that had not yet been forced into the cooler.
My mother has two dogs, so this is something I can see happening at her house on Thanksgiving!
So glad to hear everything turned out wonderful. And I bet your whole meal was delicious!
*especially the wine!
Cheers from a wine lover!
Cat Lady: The dog is part of the family so a few doggy kisses don’t bother us too much. My father was probably rolling over in his grave however. It was a very nice, no stress, holiday. I hope Christmas is as much fun.
Ron: if your mother has two dogs I bet you have had dog licked turkey too, you just don’t know it. It was delicious, if I do say so myself, and will continue to be until I force everyone to eat the leftovers til they are gone. Breakfast was mashed potatoes and stuffing today. Yum!
I am hysterical. I can picture you daughter sitting on the turkey and the dog licking the bird. OMG
Thank you for the laugh.
I’m waiting for the movie to come out on DVD. This so funny. How you got that big ol’ bird done in two hours is a marvel of science. Maybe the brining somehow makes it cook faster. I heard that some local fire departments were conducting classes in how to deep fry those birds because they were getting so many calls on fires and injuries. Not worth the mess and hazards to me.
P.S. Thanks for stopping by my blog today.
Pricilla: It’s really just another normal day here, but then you know that already. I’m sure the goats would have loved to get in on the action.
Ronda: Thanks for stopping by my blog. You had me in tears with your sister’s post. I heard a lot of sirens going off on Thanksgiving and I bet it was due to all the fried birds.
Glad the Bird turned out so good.I was worried for awhile.We could use some leftovers.We went to my wife’s parents.I want some more Turkey.
Brine must work some kind of magic to have the turkey done so quickly. I loved the story, particularly the part where your daughter sat on the turkey! Too, too funny!
That was great Jen! Can we come over next year???
.-= mrsblogalot´s last blog ..The Douche Movement =-.
Every year I say I want to deep fry the turkey…but then I chicken out. I’ve heard great things about fried turkeys. I put my turkey (20 lbs) in at 5am thinking it would be done around 10 and the pop up timer was up at 7:30. I let it continue cooking anyway. I added cranberries in and around the bird along with random seasonings and althought it really idi nothing to the taste it smelled great:)
Glad you had a memorable day.
Grampy: A lot of people seemed to be worried that it would turn into a disaster, obviously people who have been reading my blog for a while and who are used to the regularly scheduled disasters around here. It was wonderful. If I had some dry ice I’d send you some leftover turkey.
PJ: There is an awful lot of salt in the brine so I suspect it is like curing the meat. I also used a bottle of molasses so the sugar would also act as a preservative. It certainly made it tasty.
MrsBlogalot: You certainly can come next year. Wouldn’t that be great to have a gathering of the bloggers who could meet in real life?
Rachele: We deep fried a turkey years ago and several people lost some eyebrows and facial hair. There was alcohol involved which might have played a part in the mishap but they can be tricky. The bird we cooked that year was black on the outside but remarkably tender and moist on the inside. It was a hell of a mess however and something I wouldn’t want to attempt again.
I’m wondering why yours was done early too. Maybe the buttons are defective? No, because I checked the bird with a thermometer and it was cooked thoroughly. Hmmm.
I may actualy want to try your way of cooking a turkey :)! Ours turned out good, but we have no idea why. Internal temp was 185! And way before we expected… Somehow it was GOOD??? We were only going for 165. Great post and glad it all went well after all!
Crazy as it sounds, a friend of ours cooked a turkey in a small garbage can (clean! never used!) in my backyard. He stood the turkey up on a slab, placed the can upside down over the top of it, and surrounded the base with charcoal briquets. It was a large turky and done in 45 minutes. (!!)
Our guests looked a little freaked out, but it was damn good. 🙂
Sounds like Thanksgiving was fun at your house!!
I have always wanted to try brining a turkey…. I just might have to do it now 🙂
20+ pounds of turkey is ridiculous isn’t it!? I’ve done it before and that is just silliness.
So glad you had a lovely day.
Mere: You are the third person to say your turkey was done early. What’s up with that? I would definitely do the brine again. I didn’t baste the turkey because there was no room to get a spoon into the bottom of the pan. I did have to drain off quiet a bit of juices that were dribbling out. Basting wasn’t needed.
Crazy People: We cooked a pig that way several years ago and it was fantastic. I had nothing to do with the project, the guys were in charge of that, but it was fun to hang around all day waiting for it to cook.
Stephanie: by all means give it a try. If you are nervous about doing a huge turkey try it with a roasting chicken first. In fact I think I might try it with a roasting chicken next week.
Becky: 24 lbs of turkey is a ridiculous amount but I have a boy/man who can eat his weight in food each day so we should be done with the leftovers in a couple more days. He has lots of big friends too and they all raid my fridge so it was worth it to me to have that big of a turkey. That way they won’t eat all the other food.
This is such a touching post. Nice blog too.
You CRACK ME UP. I would have loved to see a picture of your daughter sitting on the turkey… would have been even better with YOU doing it LOL! Really funny post – can’t wait to see what happens to you guys at Christmas!
Myne: Thank you, I just stopped by your blog and the story was so heartbreaking. I can’t wait to read what happens next.
Katherine: Happy Birthday girl! If I had been sitting on the turkey it wouldn’t have been visible. You should have been here last Christmas it was a complete and total disaster. This year I am only expecting my roof to cave in.
Cheers for a great time. BTW, happy New Year to everyone. Hope we will have a good year this year.
.-= MRE meals´s last blog ..MRE Meals: Made to Feel Like Home =-.