Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 - Turkey in the Straw, Turkey in the Hay

This is the first Thanksgiving that I am home for in four years! I am really glad to be here with my family, and my friends are stuck in traffic currently, but they are making their way here.

Last year, my sister came to visit me with her dog, Mr. Brown, up at my law school in the mountains. We made a ton of food and had a really good time. This year, I am really only in charge of the turkeys. Yes, plural. I bought a turkey the other day for my mom at the store, then today when we were getting all the rest of the goods, we picked up another turkey. It's safe to have enough meat, right? 

Before I get to our brining experimentation, I want to say that this is the first Thanksgiving without my Mommom around. She passed peacefully a few days ago, but she will be very missed. We are planning on serving a lot of her favorites, as well as keeping her traditions. 

Brine Time. 

Oven Roasted Turkey Brine Shine
Ingredients for the brine: 
1 gallon of veggie or chicken stock (or a mix of both, it is about four boxes)
1 cup of kosher salt 
1/2 cup of packed dark brown sugar 
1 bay leaf
1-2 teaspoons of allspice (ground powder)
1-2 teaspoons of ground ginger 
1 tablespoon of fresh zested ginger 
1 tablespoon of fresh whole pepper corns
1 gallon of water (cooled)

Directions: Bring everything except the water to a boil in a big stock pan. Let it cool to room temperature (patience, patience). Then, add your cold gallon of water to the stock pot. Give it a stir. We are putting our turkey in an oven bag with the brine (less to clean) and putting it in a cooler with ice. This should sit for about 12 hours, but flip the bird over half way through. 



Lawd, Smoked Turkey Brine
Ingredients for the brine:
1 12oz can of regular Budweiser 
3 boxes of chicken or turkey broth/stock (32 oz each)
1 cup of kosher salt
3 cloves of minced garlic 
1 tablespoon of whole pepper corn
1.5 - 2 cups of honey 
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar 
1 gallon of water (cooled)

Directions: See above. Bring everything except the water to a boil in a big stock pan. Let it cool to room temperature (patience, patience). Then, add your cold gallon of water to the stock pot. Give it a stir. We are putting our turkey in an oven bag with the brine (less to clean) and putting it in a cooler with ice. This should sit for about 12 hours, but flip the bird over half way through. 



Turkey in a bag, in the brine. We then put it in the fridge and turned it over every few hours. 


The Smoker - getting it ready!


We let each of the turkeys air dry before adding anything else and before cooking it. 


Go on girl, just air dry. 


Taking a peek at the smoker doing it's thing. Beautiful. 



The oven roasted turkey - looking beautiful. 


Oh girl you like a profile shot? Got it. 


TA-DA, smoked turkey mmmk. 



The colors of fall include that of smoked-brined turkey. 

Hello. 




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