Well some of my friends suggested I do a food blog so here it goes…
I am not a trained Chef by no means but I love food with flavor! I will get more into this later and also how I am teaching my son to cook..,
I am writing this at the last minute it is about 1 am in the morning of Turkey day so I hope I can help someone with their big cooking day. So please forgive my grammar and typos here.
Thanksgiving is here and everybody has a traditional way of cooking it. Me I try and change things up every year with my turkey.
But there are a couple of things that can ruin your turkey dinner.
The popup thermometer.
Almost every turkey has an embedded popup thermometer and millions of people use this method of timing to figure out when the turkey is done. This goes back to our childhood as a kid opening the door ever 10 minute to check to see if the little red top popped up.
People complaint that there turkey is dry and not moist even more so with the leftovers.
The reason that evil lying pop up thermometer!
The pop up is set to pop up at around 180-185 Once it hits those temperature’s it pops up! See that is the problem!
The correct temperature to cook a Turkey at is at 165 degrees and that is the perfect temperature!
The way to achieve that is have a real meat thermometer.
I use an electronic one you put the probe in the meat and is connected with heat resistant wires to an electronic read out that has a magnet so that you can mount it on you stove.
When you readout reads 160 degrees it is time to take the turkey out. There is a processed called carry over cooking. The turkey will continue to cook and temperature will continue to rise to about 165 degrees.
The second thing you should do to keep your turkey moist is leave it alone for 45 minutes do not cut into it let it rest!
People yell out the turkey is done! As soon as they take the turkey out of the oven they wait 5 mins and then begin to cut the turkey. And all the juices start to pour out oh what a juicy turkey! Wrong!
If you wait another 35-40 minutes more those juices would have stayed in the meat and not in the tray. It takes time to reabsorb the yummy juices.
Speaking of temperature…
My next thing on the list is stuffing…
People love to stuff there turkey with stuffing they stuff it with corn bread, season bread, rice and all sorts of mixtures and why not it is called stuffing!
or What I call it salmonella pudding…
Here is why… first the stuffing will take a lot longer to cook inside the turkey the temperature difference can be up to 20 degrees lower in the stuffing. So if you cook your turkey perfectly at 165 degrees your stuffing will not be cooked properly and will be mushy and have all uncooked turkey juices.
If you cook the stuffing up to 165 guess what? Your turkey will be over cooked and dry.
The 2nd options are cook the stuffing first then stuff the turkey with the stuffing! Problem solved right? Wrong! It will still absorb the uncooked juices, also you don’t want it to suck up all the turkey juices you will dry out your turkey.
This is how I do it. First I don’t like soft stuffing my favorite part is the golden brown toasted parts like if you make it in a pan. I like the edges not the middle. So to solve that I make my in muffin tins do everyone gets a “stuffin muffin”
You are probably saying but I want it to have that turkey flavor… Well instead of making you stuffing change the liquid you use for the stuffing to turkey broth. Also remember when I said let you turkey rest for about 40 minutes? That is about the same time it takes to make stuffing.
All that flavorful “cooked” juice which I hope you use to make the gravy with part of it can be used to flavor your stuffing. By the time your stuffing is done your turkey is well rested.
Stuff your turkey with celery lemons, onions oranges ginger and fresh sage and thyme. This will create steam on the inside of your bird the steam will make your turkey moist!
That is all I have to say about stuffing. Ah to brine or not to brine.
Did you know that brining will add about 8 percent more weight to your turkey because it will absorb water? Guess what so does the turkey industry.
So if you read the bag the turkey came in and it said “Basted” that means it has been brined or injected with liquids chances are if you have turkey you got on sale you have a basted turkey. Fresh turkey kosher turkeys are probably not basted.
I will not go in the science of brining but in simple terms the salt opens up the cells muscle fiber where then the liquid can move back and forth through the meat and water get absorbed in the meat using osmosis.
The movement of water across a semi-permeable membrane. Cell walls are designed to allow water and small molecules to move in and out of them freely, while preventing larger molecules from entering or leaving.
Can it add flavor hmm no… But the brine will add some aromatics…
So why do I brine my “basted” turkey?
2 reasons I do to help thaw out my partially frozen turkey. My thinking is also swapping out what they put in the “basted” turkey with my preferred brine. also my turkeys are about 23-25 lbs. and I don’t do the full brine which is as much salt as you can dissolve in a couple of gallons I use about ½ cup of salt with my aromatics.
And yes I do put aromatic in my brine even those it may not absorb the flavors I want it to smell like thanksgiving. I use Fresh sage, fresh thyme, maple syrup, apple cider which is considered a cooking agent which means the acidity in the apple cider might cool the turkey again I have huge turkeys I am not worried about it.
There is a new thing called dry brine you can look it up it the new way to brine a turkey I have not done it yet but will try it soon,
Dark meat or burnt meat?
Sometimes the legs come out drier then the body. Think of it like going to the beach you may slather your face with sunblock No. 50 but you may forget your legs…
I always pre-heat my oven to 450 I pop my turkey in there for about 30 mins to get it a tan and get the skin crisp. Then I lower it down to 340-350 and cover the top of the turkey with a large triangle piece of aluminum foil.
That keep the breast from burning I check it like every 30 mins and remove it may be about 1 hour before it is done if my legs are getting too dark I cover them up also.
Last 2 tips
Use a roasting rack to cook the turkey so it is not sitting on the juices and cooks evenly.
If you do not have one and must use the disposable aluminum trays Get some aluminum foil and shape it in to a large circle high enough above the bottom of the tray so it when you put you turkey on it the liquid will not touch the turkey.
And finally on the bottom of the tray add some turkey or chicken broth just enough to cover the bottom of the pan to catch the drippings add diced onions celery carrots from the turkey this will prevent smoke, burnt spots and add steam to keep everything moist.
Hope you like this let me know if it helped you send me your thoughts.
Thanks for reading my first food blog.