Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Turkey for Me

I've written about my German butcher before. He's awesome and has great quality meats. And for Thanksgiving he didn't let me down.
I ordered a 16-pound turkey about a week ahead of time. On Thursday morning, Kevin and picked up the fresh bird. To my surprise, the turkey was a bit larger then expected. This year's bird was nearly 20 pounds. Considering I had barley fit last year's turkey in the over, I had reservations about fitting this one, but took the bird home any way.

Once home I set up what I refer to as the poultry spa. The turkey pampering starts with a nice salt-water bath. I brined the turkey for four hours in a large cooler filled with salt water. Before roasting, I pat the turkey dry, stuffed it with a chestnut dressing, and trussed it up good and tight. (This was as much to get it into the over as to keep it moist.)

I massaged the turkey with butter, generously sprinkled it with salt and pepper, and then put it into the oven. (Actually my Mom put it in the oven -- at 32 weeks pregnant I didn't think wrestling an over-sized bird into an under-sized oven seemed like a good idea.) The "turkey sauna" consisted of 45 minutes at 375 degrees, then another 3 hours at 350 degrees.

I managed to baste it a few times, but didn't obsess about not being able to reach the back of the bird. After letting it rest of an hour, the turkey was ready to carve. Everything sliced beautifully. The meat was moist and rich and delicious. We even had plenty of drippings for plenty of gravy to ladle generously on everyone's plates.

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