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 Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes and Tips

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PostSubject: Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes and Tips   Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:35 pm



Making Thanksgiving dinner should be a lot of fun, turkey is the most important part of it. How to make a tasty, moist, juicy and delicious Turkey for Thanksgiving? Baking, grilling, deep frying, which is the best way? Hope this lens could help.

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Last edited by BOLLICINA on Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes and Tips   Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:55 pm

This is the secret that chefs never tell you about. It's very easy and economical, and requires no special cookware. Brining is like a marinade as it keeps food moist and tender. Brining or salting is a way of increasing the moisture holding capacity of meat resulting in a moister product when it is cooked.



How Long To Flavor Brine:
It is possible to end up with meat that's too salty for your taste. To avoid this, brine on the low end of the time range on your first attempt. You can always brine longer next time, but there's no way to salvage a piece of meat that's been brined too long.

Whole Chicken (4 pounds)
4 to 12 hours

Chicken Pieces
1 to 1 1/2 hours

Whole Turkey
1 to 2 days

Turkey Breast
5 to 8 hours

Cornish Game Hens
1 to 2 hours

It's very easy and economical, and requires no special cookware. Brining is like a marinade as it keeps food moist and tender. Brining or salting is a way of increasing the moisture holding capacity of meat resulting in a moister product when it is cooked. One of the great things about brining is that there are so few rules. Most brines start with water and salt — traditionally, 3/4 pound of salt per gallon of water, but since we’re not concerned with the brine as a preservative, you can cut back on the salt.

Kosher salt and table salt (without iodine) are the most common salts used in brining. Sea salt can be used, but it tends to be quite expensive. I usually use kosher salt. A cup of table salt and a cup of kosher salt are not equal. Table salt weighs approximately 10 ounces per cup and kosher salt weighs approximately 5 to 8 ounces per cup depending on the brand. If using kosher salt in a brine, you must use more than a cup to achieve the same "saltiness" you would get from a cup of table salt. To learn about different types of salt and how to use them, check out the article Salt - The Spice of Life.
This chart shows how to substitute the two most popular brands of kosher salt for ordinary table salt.

Table Salt (without iodine) - 1 cup

Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt - 2 cups

Morton Kosher Salt - 1 1/2 cups



But beyond that, you can add flavor in all sorts of forms such as herbs and spices. Use brown sugar, honey or molasses in place of the sugar (some sweetness tends to offset a saltiness the brine might otherwise impart). You can use apple juice, cider, orange juice, beer, wine, rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, stock, tea, or other liquids to replace some or all of the water. You can also put together decidedly Oriental flavorings with soy sauce or the Japanese rice wine mirin.

The amount of brining time is likewise not set in stone. Even a little brining is better than none.

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PostSubject: Re: Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes and Tips   Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:00 pm

Oven-Roasted Turkey


Turkey Roasting Hints and Tips
Do you know that a "frozen" turkey is fresher than a "fresh" turkey?

The frozen turkey have been frozen immediately upon preparation. The so called fresh turkeys can sit in your store for days. I always buy a frozen turkey because of this. Check out my article Turkey Terminology - Types of Turkeys.

It takes a full 24 hours to defrost every five pounds of frozen turkey in the refrigerator (the only safe method). A 20-pound turkey needs to defrost for a full four days. Remove the giblets and neck from the cavity as soon as they can be removed (which will be before the turkey is fully defrosted).


Use a shallow roasting pan. If you use a deep roasting pan, you wind up steaming the meat.


Do not stuff your turkey ahead of time as harmful bacteria growth could spoil the uncooked turkey. Just before roasting, stuff the body and the neck of the turkey. Do not pack in as the stuffing will expand during cooking. If packed in too tightly, it will be very dense instead of light. Sew the abdomen closed and sew the legs together close to the body so that the stuffing cooks evenly. Check out my articles Linda's Favorite Turkey Stuffing and Advice on Stuffing a Turkey Safely.


Roast your turkey breast-side down on a v-shaped rack until the last hour or so in the oven, then turn it to brown the breast. The result is a moister white meat.


To prevent the breast meat from drying out, loosely cover just the breast with a triple thick sheet of aluminum foil, butter on on the inside to prevent sticking. Remove after the first hour of roasting so the breast has time to brown.


Never rely on the little plastic thermometer in some turkeys to pop out. If you wait for it, the turkey will overcook. Instead stick an instant read thermometer several inches down through the skin between the thigh and the breast so the tip ends up about an inch above the joint. They turkey is ready when the thermometer reads 165 degrees. Check out my web page on Using A Thermometer - Take The Guesswork Out Of Cooking.


Let the cooked turkey "rest" after it have been removed from the oven. While the turkey cooks, the juices are forced away from the heat to the middle of the turkey. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes after it is removed from the oven. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the turkey. A moist turkey is easier to carve.


Baste, baste, baste.


If you need your oven to reheat or cook side dishes, it's better to serve the turkey at room temperature with hot gravy than to reheat it. Reheating dries out the meat. The interior of a large turkey will stay quite hot for at least an hour.


Using A Cooking Bag: This is an easy way to cook your turkey. It keeps all the juices and flavors in the bag and the turkey is automatically basted while it cooks. You end up with more juices than cooking the conventional way because they do not evaporate during roasting. The juices also do not burn and stick to the pan.

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Life is a wonderful gift so' do not ruin it  




Last edited by BOLLICINA on Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes and Tips   Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:07 pm

Cajun Fried Turkey








These recipes were adapted from the cookbook Roger's Cajun Cookbook by Vernon Roger, published 1987. These wonderful Cajun Fried Turkey and Chow Chow were cooked for our annual Grape Harvest Festival by our friend John Brennan of Portland, Oregon. John and his wife, Kris, used to live in Louisiana and developed a love of eating and cooking Cajun food.

This is the best way of cooking a turkey I've ever tasted. The turkey is anything but greasy as the deep-frying process seals the outside and the turkey remains incredibly juicy, while the skin gets wonderfully crispy. These fried turkeys were a big hit at our festival!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------







Cajun Fried Turkey

Equipment Needed:
40 or 60 quart pot with basket, burner, and propane gas tank
Turkey-lifting accessory
Deep-fat frying thermometer or instant-read meat thermometer
Fire extinguisher
Heavy-duty heat-resistant oven mitts
Chef or marinade injector.


Cajun Fried Turkey Recipe:
2 pints Chow Chow (see recipe below)
11 to 12 pound turkey, room temperature
1/2 cup vinegar
1 1/2 cups white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
Red pepper to taste
Black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Garlic powder
5 gallons peanut oil

Prepare Chow-Chow recipe below. To use the prepared Chow Chow for injection, place about 5 tablespoons prepared Chow Chow in a blender or food processor and pulverize thoroughly. Add vinegar, white wine, lemon juice, red pepper, black pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Blend again for 30 seconds.

Place the mixture in a large chef's syringe (available from cooking and restaurant supply stores) and inject entire amount into turkey, being sure to include breast, legs, back, and inside of turkey cavity. Place turkey in refrigerator for 3 days to marinate.

A word of caution before continuing - always do the deep frying outdoors only.
If your pot does not have oil-level indicator lines, use this method to determine the correct amount of oil: Place the turkey in the fryer basket and place in the pot. Add water until it reaches 1 to 2 inches above the turkey. Remove the turkey and note the water level, using a ruler to measure the distance from the top of the pot to the surface of the water. Pour out the water and dry the pot thoroughly. NOTE: Be sure to measure for oil before dry rubbing the turkey.



Preheat peanut oil in your outdoor deep fryer to 350 to 365 degrees F. (this usually takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour). NOTE: Use a deep-fat frying thermometer clipped onto the side of the pot. Be careful not to exceed this temperature, as the oil can begin to smoke and catch fire.

Make sure your turkey is completely dry before using - remember hot oil and water don't mix. Rub the outside of the turkey vigorously with a mixture of additional garlic powder, salt, and red pepper.

When oil is hot, carefully and slowly submerge the prepared turkey into the hot oil. Leave turkey submerged in the hot oil for 4 minutes per pound (turkey weighing under 11 pounds should cook only 3 minutes per pound). NOTE: Never completely cover the pot when frying with oil.

Remove cooked turkey from the oil carefully and check internal temperature with a meat thermometer. The temperature should reach 170 degrees F. in the breast. When the Turkey has reached the desired temperature, turn the burner OFF and use gloves to remove it from the pot. Immediately wrap the turkey with aluminum foil. Let the turkey rest approximately 30 minutes before carving.

According to the Texas Peanut Producers Board: Peanut oil may be used three or four times to fry turkeys before signs of deterioration begin. Such indications include foaming, darkening or smoking excessively, indicating the oil must be discarded. Other signs of deteriorated oil include a rancid smell and/or failure to bubble when food is added.


Chow Chow Recipe:
A relish of pickled chopped vegetables. There are probably as many varieties of Chow Chow as there are Southern cooks.

2 onions, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
5 fresh hot chile peppers (preferably cayenne)
2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Mix and grind together the onions, celery, chile pepper, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Heat on top of stove until boiling. Then turn fire down and simmer for about 2 hours.

Store Chow Chow in the refrigerator until ready to use. Many southerners make a large batch and can it.

NOTE: John says it is best to cook the Chow Chow outside on a gas burner.

Chow Chow can also be used to flavor gravies, soups, gumbo, and pasta sauce.

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PostSubject: Re: Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes and Tips   Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:10 pm

Barbecued Turkey




Barbecued or Grilled Whole Turkey

A whole 15 to 20 pound turkey may be prepared on either a gas grill or a Weber charcoal grill.

General Instructions:
Instead of using a roasting pan, it is easier to use a homemade pan from extra heavy duty foil - using three layers of foil and making it just big enough to hold the bird; the sides need to be about 2 1/2" high.
Clean turkey well, removing any bits of pin feathers and cleaning the cavity of any remaining pieces of innards.

Soften a 1/2 cup of butter to room temperature and rub the cavity with half of the butter.

Stuff with your favorite stuffing. With the remaining butter, stuff a little between the skin and the breast meat and rub some over the skin of the turkey. Stuff a little bit of the stuffing between the skin and the breast also. Skewer the cavity opening shut. Also place a little stuffing in the neck cavity, tuck the neck skin under and skewer shut. Salt and pepper the turkey and place about three pieces of bacon on top of the bird.

Place the turkey crosswise on the gas grill so that the pan is evenly distributed over the two sets of jets. Set the flame so that a temperature of 300 to 325 degrees is maintained (usually the lowest setting}. Cover with heavy duty foil for the majority of the cooking.

Estimated cooking time is approximately 20 minutes per pound at 300 degrees. Remove the foil for the last hour of cooking. Every once in while, baste the turkey with the juices (or with the basting juice recipe to follow). If you have "hot spots" in the jets of the grill, twice during the cooking turn the turkey around (and the pan, of course) so that one side is not more cooked than another.

Toward the end of the cooking time, open the grill and insert the meat thermometer into the fleshy part of the thigh and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165° F (remember that the turkey will continue to cook after it is removed from the heat of the fire). NOTE: This year, the USDA has come up with a one-temperature-suits-all for poultry safety: 165° F. For safety and doneness, the internal temperature should be checked with a meat thermometer.


Basting Juice:

1/2 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
Neck and gizzard
2 teaspoons chopped dried rosemary
3 cups chicken stock or water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sweet Marsala wine or port wine
1/2 cup vermouth
Juice from two lemons

In a heavy pot over medium-high heat, melt butter; saute onion until just translucent. Add the neck and gizzard; continue cooking for approximately 4 minutes. Add the rosemary and chicken stock or water; simmer until reduced by halve. Remove from heat and strain well.

Use the gizzard and neck in the stuffing or the gravy. For the basting juice, mix together the strained stock mixture, marsala or port wine, vermouth, and the juice of the lemons.

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PostSubject: Re: Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes and Tips   Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:15 pm

Turducken





Tur-duc-kens" - What the heck is that? Well it is a 15-16 pound de-boned turkey (except for wing bones and drumsticks), a fully hand de-boned duck, and a fully hand de-boned chicken, all rolled into one and stuffed with lots of delicious stuffing (Three kinds of stuffing are layered between the three kinds of meat). This regional delight has become one of the latest food fads. From the outside it looks like a turkey, but when you cut through it, you see a series of rings making up the three birds and stuffing.

Louisiana chef Paul Prudhomme says he is the one that developed the recipe for turducken, but other debate his claim. One possible origin dates back a bit and says the turducken is somewhat derived from the galantine, an 18th century French blend of a de-boned bird stuffed with a mixture of finely ground veal, poultry, fish, vegetables, or fruit with bread crumbs and seasonings. Since Cajuns originated from French Canada, it could be assumed that the recipe came with them and morphed into today's version.

The November 2005 issue of National Geographic magazine traced the origins of the dish in the United States to Maurice, Louisiana, and "Hebert's Specialty Meats" Herbert's has been making turduckens since 1985 when they claim a local farmer (whose name that has since been forgotten) brought in a turkey, a duck, and a chicken, and asked Hebert's to follow his directions in preparing them. Herbert's now sells around 3,300 turduckens a year. They share a friendly rivalry with famous Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme who claims to have been the first to serve turducken.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How to Cook a Turducken





Purchasing a frozen turducken: If the turducken has been purchased through mail order, make sure it arrives frozen with a cold source in an insulated carton. Transfer it immediately to the freezer. If the turducken arrives warm, notify the company. Do not use the product.







Thawing a frozen turducken: If you turducken is frozen, allow it to thaw 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. It takes a full 24 hours to defrost every five pounds of frozen turkey in the refrigerator (the only safe method). A 20-pound turducken needs to defrost for a full 4 days. Be sure the turkey is completely thawed. Times are based on fresh or completely thawed frozen birds at a refrigerator temperature of about 40° F or below.

For a quick thaw, place in cool water for 6 to 9 hours. If your turducken is partially frozen, you may need to cook it an additional 30 to 45 minutes.


Oven temperature: Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Temperature control is critical since the turducken is so massive that it has to be cooked slowly at a low temperature to prevent burning the outside of the turducken before the interior is cooked. Use an oven thermometer to obtain the correct oven temperature. Calibration of the oven's thermostat may be inaccurate.

Place the oven rack in the center position of your oven.

Roasting pan: When ready to bake, take the turducken completely out of the packaging and place turducken, breast-side up, on a flat wire rack in a large shallow roasting pan 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep. Tuck wing tips back under shoulders of bird. NOTE: Dark roasting pans cook faster than shiny metals.

Baking the turducken: Your turducken will take approximately 8 to 9 hours to bake:

Bake the turducken for 4 hours uncovered.


At the 4 hour mark, Brush the skin with oil and then cover the turducken with aluminum foil. Cook an additional 4 to 5 hours until the interior temperature read 165 degrees F. on your meat thermometer. NOTE: Use a food thermometer to ensure that all layers of the turducken and stuffing reach a minimum safe internal temperature of 165 °F. The thermometer should be placed at the center of the thickest part of the turducken to determine the safe internal temperature. Please rely on internal temperature with a meat thermometer and not time cooked for doneness. After each use, wash the stem section of the thermometer thoroughly in hot, soapy water.

This year, the USDA has come up with a one-temperature-suits-all for poultry safety: 165° F. For safety and doneness, the internal temperature should be checked with a meat thermometer. Several types of thermometers are available on the market: regular, oven-proof; instant read and digital; pop-up timers; and microwave-safe thermometers.


There will be no need to base, but accumulated drippings in the bottome of the roasting pan may need to be removed from the pan every few house. Save the pan drippings for your gravy.


Remove the turducken from the oven.


Rest Time: Once you remove the turkey from the oven, tent it with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 1 hour, so the meat can firm up and hold the juices, making it easier to carve.

Gravy: Make gravy according to your favorite recipe. Check out Making Perfect Turkey Gravy.



Carving the Turducken: Using strong spatulas inserted underneath the turducken, carefully transfer the turducken to a cutting board or a serving platter. NOTE: I found it was easier to just remove the turducken with my hands.

Be sure and present the turkducken to your guests before carving.




Remove any strings used and, using a sharp knife, cut the turducken in half lengthwise (from the neck to leg area - you will have two halves). Slice across from leg to leg, wing to wing so each slice reveals all three (3) meats and dressings.







Be sure to make your slices crosswise so that each slice contains all three dressings and all three meats. Cut each slice in half for serving.

_________________
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Life is a wonderful gift so' do not ruin it  




Last edited by BOLLICINA on Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes and Tips   Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:18 pm

Smoked Turkey




Smoked Turkey Tips


STEP ONE: The absolute first step in doing a turkey on a smoker is to pick out a bird that is not the biggest one you can find. The main reason for a smaller bird, 10 to 14 lb. maximum, is the time limitations usually involved. It takes between 6 and 8 hours to smoke a 12 pound turkey and the bigger they get, the longer they take.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

STEP TWO: Set up the smoker and toss on the bird. When using charcoal, it is best to let the flames burn out, fill the water pan with water (seasoned water is fine too), then place the lid on the smoker and wait for the temperature to reach the 'safe' zone on your smoker. Once that is accomplished, toss the turkey on there gently and cover the smoker. Start timing the turkey when the temperature returns to the save zone.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SAFETY REMINDER: Remember chickens and turkeys are prone to salmonella bacteria which can ruin your whole Thanksgiving. Cooking temperatures of 160 degrees F minimum are essential for destroying this bacteria. This temperature is not the OUTSIDE of the turkey, but the inside, so keep that in mind when you decide on a larger bird. This of course is unless you happen to be feeding the traditional army at Thanksgiving.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NOTES & TIPS: I use a water smoker which by design keeps the meat moist and prevents burning like a traditional smoker with no water in the event you forget about the turkey for an extra half hour or so.

I have used inexpensive charcoal and the good stuff, and have found the main difference being the number of times you need to add charcoal. The better the charcoal, the longer between times you need to add it. You can expect to use 10 lb. or more of charcoal for a 10-14 lb. turkey, so have some extra just in case. You will most likely not have to check the charcoal or temperature for 3 hours if you use good charcoal so this gives you time to watch a football game or two or be with the guests or just sit back and have an eggnog and brandy if you are so inclined. When you check the temperature on your smoker, just look at the gauge that is there. Most of them have a "safe" zone or a actual read out with numbers but in either case, keep that temperature above the safe" zone.

I have never had a problem smoking turkeys, chickens, meats, or fish so just make sure of your temperature. When you add charcoal to the smoker, stir the ashes around and bring up the hot coal away from the ashes. This will help start the added charcoal faster and keep the temperature correct. Add plenty of charcoal at the beginning and when you add more, add as much as you can. That way you will not have to be going back and forth and adding a few pieces here and there. Just fill the pan up when you add charcoal, it is not important how much you use, but how hot the smoker stays.

Check the water after you add charcoal each time just to keep it full and not let it run out. If you happen to run out of water in the pan, add water carefully since if you spill on the charcoal, it will put off steam and it is not a pleasant feeling on your hands, arms or face. I use an old two liter bottle filled about 3/4 full of water and hold it from the bottom when I add it. It keeps you far enough away from the smoker and charcoal and in the even you happen to spill, (which I usually do), it just sends the steam up in the air away from you.

It is also possible to use hickory chips or mesquite chips or other chips in your charcoal to flavor the bird. Soak them for at least ONE hours in water and then toss them on the charcoal and they will smoke and add that flavor to your turkey.

After about 5 hours, it is a good idea to actually take off the lid and check the condition of the turkey. Each time you remove the lid for those of you who are lookie loos, it adds between 10 and 15 minutes to the cook time, so don't take the lid off to see your prize until you absolutely have to. When checking the bird, you look for the meat to have a pink look to it. It should be moist and look cooked to the eye and it should not be raw looking. It is difficult to tell when the turkey is actually done without 'sampling' it of course, so take your big knife with you when you go and cut into the thickest part of the breast and check it there. A little deep cut into the breast will tell you if it is done there and when the breast is done, the rest of the turkey is done also. Juices are always present and should be clear when cut, but the true test is the taste test. If it seems chewy, then it is probably NOT done, but if it seems moist and tender, then your bird is ready for the table. This may sound like a lot of work, but in reality, it is very simple.

Smoking a turkey is no different from BBQing in your back yard. You follow all these rules without even noticing them in most cases so go ahead, give it a try, you will not be dissatisfied when you try a smoked turkey. Follow the safety rules without deviation and you will have the best turkey you have ever had. If you don't have time to wait for 6 to 8 hours to wait for a turkey to cook, or you have went and bought a 300 lb. turkey to impress your in-laws, just take it and cut it up like you would a chicken and it will cook twice as fast and taste just as good.

Most smokers have two racks or more so just distribute the parts evenly on each rack. I feed a small army here at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, so I generally cut it into pieces and smoke it that way, which does take about 1/2 the time. It is not as pretty when it comes off the smoker, but the taste is still the same and the effort you put into it will impress even that mother-in-law that thinks you are still a thief for taking her daughter away from her.

Now for those of you who have electric smokers and gas smokers, I am not sure of cooking times, so follow your instructions that you have with your smoker. I am certain they take less time and might be as good as a charcoal smoked turkey, but you would have to prove that to me before I would ever switch.

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