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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by shegirl, Nov 19, 2013.
Food, recipes, stories of horrific family blowouts, ect. You guys know the drill.
I'll get in before the Thanksgiving love fest begins. I like Thanksgiving, I like what it stands for, and I like that its a holiday that is still not completely commercially driven.
That being said, I am not much of a fan of Thanksgiving food. Turkey probably ranks last in terms of my favorite poultry, much less proteins. I don't really care for stuffing. As much as I love cranberry juice, I don't like cranberry sauce or the disgusting slices out of a can, and I prefer my mashed potatoes made with garlic or skin on, not the traditional kind. I'm far from a picky eater, but its just the perfect storm of food items that just don't find a ton of favor with my palate. I have a second Thanksgiving on Saturday with my dad's side of the family that is more diverse foodwise that I enjoy more, but the actual Thursday meal is just ok.
I enjoy me some turkey if its done right. The problem is, people don't know how to make turkey worth a shit, so its always dry and tough. You brine that shit. You brine it for at least 24 hours. Then, you deep fry it with cajun seasonings. If you don't deep fry it, still brine and then roast as normal.
And the ONLY cranberry sauce is the one that comes from a can, with absolutely NOTHING in it. And must have the can ridges on the outside circumference to be legit. None of this shit with other fruit and nuts inside. Don't try to doctor up perfection.
Exactly. Turkey fucking sucks unless you inject it with enough flavor to turn it into something entirely different. I will be brining mine in beer, salt, garlic, pepper, brown sugar, thyme, blackening season, and have a voodoo priestess bless it just to be safe. Then I'm going to fry that fucker. As disgusting as it sounds, frying it is the only preparation that retains moisture. The breast actually drips juice.
My stuffing is made with green pepper, celery, onion, garlic, cajun seasoning, and a rich broth. It gets cooked in the oven separate. Whoever likes stuffing in the turkey's ass where it turns into mush with no texture is a sick, sick person. Probably also a pedophile.
However, the disgustingness that is green bean casserole is amazing. It's a nasty, gloopy mess and every bite is white trashy goodness. Same for the jellied cranberry sauce. Which I'm convinced doesn't actually come into contact with a single real cranberry in it's creation.
No, what I look forward to are the leftovers. I mentioned this in another thread. Sandwiches, Tetrazzini, gumbo, dumpling soup. That's what I look forward to.
Frying turkeys is great, but the only problem is the oil. If you have a bunch of friends and neighbors you can invite them over and fry theirs, too. Otherwise you're left with $100 of barely used peanut oil that you have to hope no one sees you pour down a storm drain.
Grab a few Cornish hens while you're at it. Those little fuckers are awesome fried.
Also a great way to burn down your house. My dad and I tried it last year and thank god I looked up instructions and found out that you cannot fry them frozen. Holy shit those videos on youtube are scary.
Way ahead of you. I skim that stuff off and re-bottle it. Use it on potatoes, other stuff. My plan is to to get some hamhocks (already purchased at $1 a piece), simmer them in a court boullion of beer, garlic, herbs, mustard seeds, onions for 2 hours, then fry them in the turkey fryer. The skin *should* turn into pork crackling while the middle is like butter.
Costco is selling a 15 gallon jug of peanut oil for $45. I highly suggest you folks get a membership there if possible. The meat is good quality and sold in bulk. Get some freezer bags, fill your freezer cheap.
Did you poop yourself?
Folks, if it wasn't obvious, use the propane, 10,000 btu heating element outdoors.
Like Black Jesus, I too cannot stress how important brining is to having a moist, delicious bird. Not only that but it actually does help enhance the overall flavor as well. The best tip I've learned over the years is if you're going to do whole spices, like peppercorns, juniper berries, coriander seeds, etc. give them a quick dry roast in a pan first to help bring out the natural oils. It only takes 5 minutes, but it makes a whole world of difference.
Now, that being said, I don't agree that frying is the only way to retain moisture. Like I already wrote in The Cooking Thread vertical roasting/smoking, in my opinon actually makes for a better bird than frying does. Granted, it does take longer, but that extra crispy skin over top that dripping wet breast meat is almost better than porn. Just make sure you slather on a real nice layer of some garlic herb butter both on top and underneath the skin of the bird. Mix in a some paprika to give it that really dark brown caramel coloring and thank me later.
As far as the dressing (and yes, if it's not actually in the bird, it's dressing, not stuffing), the past few years I've started making individual muffins instead of a whole pan. The basic concept is the same, make your regular dressing however you normally do, but then scoop into a regular muffin pan and bake. Just make sure you either really grease up your pan, or use the little cupcake wrappers so they don't stick. Then you end up with a really nice moist center and a nice crispy top.
The only other thing I'll be in charge of is my homemade wedding soup. My grandmother would always make it for the holiday dinners and it's just a tradition I've carried on since I've moved away. It's actually become my most requested item that I make for dinner. Now unlike most traditional wedding soups, I don't use pasta in mine. Instead I make what we always just call 'wheels'. You mix eggs and seasoned bread crumbs until you have a consistency with which you can roll the 'dough' into a cigar shape, deep fry it for a couple of minutes, then chop into 1/8" segments. You then add these at the very end of the preparation and go to town.
For the past few years (decade) my family has some foreign exchange students join us for Thanksgiving. This year it's a couple of Australians and a Nepalese girl in addition to a Somali family my parents are friends with. A couple of years ago they invited us to their place for a holiday meal and I almost exploded after eating stews and sambusas. I hope they bring sambusas- I love them.
Last year I prepared and grilled a fresh venison loin, wrapped in bacon. I'm going to do another venison loin this year but am undecided whether or not to do the tried and true bacon wrap or try something else.
Oh, and turkeys? Grill them! For years my dad has just slathered them inside and out with mayonnaise (real stuff), seasoned with salt and pepper, and put them in a roasting pan with an inch of water seasoned with chicken buillion. No brine. Then you put the pan on a charcoal grill with the coals stacked around the edge of the kettle (like stadium seating), with a pie tin filled with water in the middle of the coals- indirect heat and moisture for a "smoke line". Roast the bird with the pan uncovered (but keep the grill covered) at 250 degrees until the internal temp reaches 165. Add a handful of damp wood chips to the hot coals every time you check on the bird for smoke flavor- he likes hickory but I prefer cherry. If you like crispy brown skin and juicy, slightly smoky meat... it is the way to go.
I'll be drinking whiskey and frying our family's turkey as I do every year. Pro tip for the oil: Drop some halved potatoes into the oil after you are finished frying. Just take them out whenever the oil cools and you can pour it right back into the container it came in. The potatoes soak up almost all of the junk that stays in the oil from the turkey.
I've never tried deep fried turkey but I do have a question, how do you make delicious gravy with no drippings?
I cook and do everything the traditional way, not trying to fancy anything up. Great food and football, all day, topped off with 4 days off. Glorious.
Re: Re: 2013 Thanksgiving Thread
I make gravy every year, now my gravy technically has drippings in it but you can make it without.
I cube up potatoes/onions/carrots/mushrooms and whatever else sounds good in a big disposable pan with 3-4 cans of chicken stock.
Then I put this pan on the lower grate of my smoker and cook the turkey on the top grate and let the drippings fall into the pan.
When the turkey is done I take the pan and blend all the contents up in a regular blender and heat it up in a pot on the stove.
You can make this in an oven if your comfortable cooking the turkey directly on the rack.
Check the pan after an hour or so, you don't want all the stock to boil off, although I haven't ever had that happen.
You can thicken the gravy after its blended and warming in a pot using some a bit of flour.
Also for us brining fans, I highly recommend getting one of these.
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.thebriner.com/#2860" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.thebriner.com/#2860</a>
Being Italian we do thanksgiving a little different. In my family the turkey is more of a side dish that is just there because "it is thanksgiving there should be turkey."
The bulk of our meal is the antepaste with all its goodness of cured meats and cheese. Followed usually by a meatball soup, stuffed artichokes (that everyone forgets about and is served at the last minute) and followed by some sort of pasta, usually lasagna. After that we are so stuffed no one really has any room for the turkey and the traditional sides.
Also, a main feature in my family is my parents always reading me the riot act prior to any party on what conversational topics I am and am not allowed to bring up. I have a habit of offending people in casual conversation.
For the first time in a long time, maybe ever, I'm really excited about Thanksgiving this year. It has always been the holiday that has given me the most Feelings. I think my dad and I have officially given up on the holiday and I decided to not go home for the first time. A couple of my friends and I were casually talking about a Friendsgiving thing one day and that very quickly ballooned up to me hosting a dinner/drinking/gathering of 16 friends and friends-of-friends. Everyone's really looking forward to it and I've been getting the warm fuzzies about it for weeks now. Also, Nom's coming.
I'm in charge of the turkey (and, yes, I'm fucking brining it because I'm not a hillperson) and am a little nervous about it but I have faith in myself. I'm also making an apple pie, mashed yams, and since Hanukkah starts the day before Thanksgiving this year I'm also making a gigantic pile of latkes. Probably cranberry sauce too since it's so easy. Then everyone else is bringing something too so we'll have a feast. Someone's bringing mulled wine, and I basically got drunk just listening to her describe how she makes it. So, I'm assuming the day will consist of us all eating until we throw up, then drinking until we throw up, and then maybe having an orgy. Fun!
Then my dad's coming into the city that Saturday so I'll still be able to acknowledge the whole family side of the holiday. It'll be a nice balance. There's still a small part of me that is kind of sad or feels strange about not going home and/or spending the actual day with my dad - and oddly enough a bunch of people from home are kind of upset with/weirded out by me not coming home - but it feels awesome to finally have had Thanksgiving plans for more than a few days prior to the day and to be genuinely excited about them instead of just kind of resigned to accepting them. And the whole thing fits in nicely with this feeling I've been having this year of finally building a little life of my own.
YOU WILL GET CANNED CRANBERRY SAUCE OR I WILL TELL EVERYONE YOUR THANKSGIVING IS CANCELLED.
American Girl dolls and the cardboard cutouts of Freddie Prinze Jr. (or whomever the kids are into these days) that you're going place in chairs around your table don't count as "a gathering of 16 friends."
Re: Re: 2013 Thanksgiving Thread
While I am normally in favor of wild spending on kitchen gear, this piece of "equipment" is a complete waste of time and money. What would've boosted the efficiency of this item up to useful standards would've been a spigot with a filter so you can drain the brine from the pail without having to pour it into a sink or toilet, but sadly the designers focused on shit that I can accomplish with a mayo pail, and a small stack of old plates that haven't sold at any of my garage sales in ten years.
Reduce, re-use, recycle, my friends.
Okay, okay, FINE. You caught me. I was counting my cat 15 times.
I don't get how people have so much trouble cooking a turkey properly.
Roasting pan. Onions and a liquid on the bottom. Turkey on a rack above that. Cover with foil. Cook slowly so you don't overcook any part of the bird. Last 30 minutes uncover and turn on the broiler to crisp the skin. Eat delicious turkey.
I had a fried turkey once. I wasn't a fan. I like juicy turkey, but that shit was juicy to the point of being kind of gross. If you didn't get a bite with skin in it to give it a little crunch, it had the consistency of a wet dinner roll.
Thanksgiving really is about side dishes. Sausage stuffing. Grilled asparagus. Grilled corn on the cob. Salted meat and cheese platter. Garlic smashed potatoes. Yum.Fucking.Yum.
I'm solidly against the school-taught idea of "Thanksgiving" with the whole "Columbus found America and let's celebrate like the Americans and colonists did." Yeah, no, Columbus didn't find America, but he did found the slave trade; while he may have eaten with the Indians, he only ate with what was left of them because the vast majority of them were killed off by white man disease prior to his actual arrival. So when he got around to the whole conquering thing, it was a bit easier. Oh, and did I mention one of the biggest struggles he faced was actually colonists defecting to Native American tribes because their way of life was actually better than what they faced in the colonies?
But I digress.
I do like the idea of everyone getting together and celebrating family and all that cool crap. For me, it's just an excuse to let someone else cook (for once) and get drunk. By virtue of no one else having the culinary balls, I'm the go-to cook for all the more casual stuff like Superbowl, NBA finals, Valentines day (against my will), birthdays, easter, 4th of july, new years, blah blah blah at least they pitch in for food and don't mind if I'm blackout drunk when I'm finally finished cooking.
So on Thanksgiving, I get to sit back, let someone else cook, and eat cranberry sauce out of the jar with a plate full of stuffing slathered in gravy. Because those are the only two delicious foods modern America actually serves at Thanksgiving. Turkey can go fuck itself.