Friday, November 25, 2011

Fridays are Golden

"Best turkey I ever ate," said my husband.  And these words cannot be taken lightly since there are few people on our planet who love turkey more than he does.  Several readers were interested in the outcome of my first brined turkey.  By his statement you already know that my husband thought it was most delicious.

He has a wonderfully short memory of the Desi/Lucy circumstances the day before.  Typical for us, we had a few miss-steps along the way.  The first thing I did was to allow my husband to order and pick up the turkey.  Remember I told you how much he loves turkey.  He came home with a sixteen-pound bird.  For the two of us.

It all started out so well.  I made the brine and then put the turkey inside a special brining bag.  I got out the roasting pan.  I'm usually a very perceptive person, but it never once occurred to me that the turkey/brine-filled bag would not exactly fit in the roasting pan.  So I'm standing there with six inches of fluid hanging over all sides of the roaster.  Fearing that the bag might break, I called my husband to help.  "Get out the pasta pot,"  I said, "we can't use the roaster because it isn't deep enough to hold it all."  (I don't know if it's really a pasta pot, but it's that large pot you use to make tons of soup or to boil pasta.)  Just a quick eyeballing of the pot next to the now mammoth bag informed us the turkey was not going to fit.  And that is the biggest deep pot we have.  What to do?  In order to shorten this episode, I will tell you that we finally found success with a utility pail.

The pail has never been used except to hold the instructions and supplies needed to de-skunk dogs.  For many reasons I was glad we had not needed to use any.  So we decided that we would put the turkey in the pail.  Now, we did not come to his conclusion quickly.  We took turns holding the bag that was overflowing the sides of the roaster.  I would go through the house trying to find something useful.  Then I would come back to turkey sentry duty while my husband searched for something useful.  I'm not sure which one of us finally came up with the utility pail.  We both thought it weird putting the Thanksgiving turkey in a utility pail.  But, we reasoned, it was clean and had not been used.  So we took out the peroxide, soap, and other de-skunking supplies and washed the pail.  Regardless of our feelings about the pail, we had no other options.

We plopped the brining bag filled with solution and turkey into the clean 12-liter (3.17 gallon) pail.  Perfect!  Then we looked at each other and laughed.  We both said it at the same time. "How are we going to get this thing in the fridge?"  After removing and re-arranging some shelves, we put the pail in the fridge and were actually able to close the door.

The Golden Girls were quite confused despite the fact that they are familiar with our Desi/Lucy predicaments.  They didn't know whether to stay by the one guarding the turkey or to run up and down the stairs with the one trying to find a suitable receptacle.  They were quite happy when the turkey was finally in the fridge and the kitchen was back to normal.

The Thanksgiving Bird in a Bucket.

I've already told you my husband's reaction to the finished product.  As for me?  We always have a fresh turkey and I always put herbed butter between the skin and the meat.  So our turkeys are always quite moist and tender.  I have to admit that this one was more tender and wonderfully flavorful.  But I have to wonder just how tender the turkey needs to be.  Isn't a nine almost as good as a ten?

Will we do it again?  ABSOLUTELY!  After we went through that big learning curve, we aren't about to make this a one-shot deal.  Truthfully, we will purchase all the supplies we need.  The next time won't be nearly as funny, but will run quite smoothly.  Like so many other things, once you know how it is easy.  I hope.

You no doubt came to this post to see the Golden Girls.  They did not get any special treatment on Thanksgiving Day.  No turkey, no dressing, no gravy or potatoes.  Just the constant attention to which they feel entitled.

 You can't blame tryptophan for this nap.

 Lucy still using Ellie for a pillow.

 And two dogs stretched out on one bed.

I do hope Thanksgiving Day went smoothly for everyone.  And that you have leftovers to enjoy.  The weather here has been perfect these past few days and now we are looking forward to the Christmas season.  Which will be here about the time we finish eating the rest of the turkey.

Our quote today comes from John Fitzgerald Kennedy:
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.



dr momi said...

Can't blame that nap on
tryptophan--too funny, I laughed out loud. Glad your turkey was so good! I'll have to try that brining next year. Totally enjoyed your post.

Taradharma said...

fantastic quote.

I want to plop down in the middle of those golden girls and take a nap!

Your turkey prep scene reminded me of the lobster scene in Annie Hall -- I know, different animal, different circumstances, but still. Two people freaking out in the kitchen, trying to problem solve, is usually a great recipe for comedy!

Good to hear the finished product was worth the effort. My sis purchased a brined turkey this year and it was indeed very good. I say, for myself, let THEM do all the work!

The Bug said...

I was reading on a blog the other day about someone who always brines her turkey - she just puts everything in a garbage bag (double bagged) & puts it in the fridge like that. But your tale is a lot funnier :)

Rudee said...

After cooking all day yesterday (herbed butter method which resulted in a "best turkey I ever ate comment, too), I worked a twelve hour shift. It's 5PM on Friday and I'm still in my jammies and was feeling short on humor... until I came here. Oh, what a great story! Enjoy those leftovers, friend. You've certainly earned them!

Ms. A said...

There's that dreaded other holiday... Christmas! I can hardly wait. Not.

I didn't do one lick of cooking for the first time in decades. My kids did it and I didn't bring home any leftovers. I hope they will handle the "other" holiday, too, only a little closer to home. I didn't enjoy driving home on a full gut. Would rather have taken a nap, like your girls!

D.K. Wall said...

Thank goodness for the lack of deskunking. Sounds like you will have enough turkey to last until the Christmas dinner.

Arkansas Patti said...

That is too funny and I admire your perserverance. Thank goodness the dogs hadn't had any skunk encounters.
Think I will try brining next time--only with a smaller turkey.
Can't believe the girls didn't even get a taste. Come on.
Great quote.

Carolina Linthead said...

LOL! Thanks for making me smile...a lot. I am sure that the turkey was/is delicious! It is no doubt the gift that keeps on giving. I am very thankful for you, my bloggy friend, your wit and wisdom and of course your beautiful, sweet girls.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I had a good laugh at your expense...I could see us doing this same thing!! So is brining just a fancy word for marinating??? You still cook it in the oven???
I've never made a bad turkey either, not sure how one could mess up; perhaps overcooking???
Glad you had a great day and the girls too....they look so shiny and healthy~so glad the skunks didn't get to them this week since you supplies were not where you stashed them!!!!
enjoy your weekend.

NanaNor's said...

Yummm. I've never tasted a turkey that was put in brine before but it sure sounds good. We got a 15 lb turkey for 17 people-of course 9 were little ones. We did get leftovers because our daughter cooked a second turkey for everyone. Today we finished all of our Christmas decorations; we don't put up lights-it is just too hard for hubby these days but the inside of the house looks great.
Have a wonderful weekend. Love your girls.
Hugs, Noreen

KGMom said...

16 lbs.?! For you two. OK--hope you have lots of recipes for using turkey leftovers.

Dawn Fine said...

That brined turkey sounds interesting..someone else mentioned it recently as being a great way to make a tender Turkey. Must try it sometime. Your pups are a cute as ever.

Vicki Lane said...

Funny post! Yep, brining is the way to go. And I love your wreath in a previous post!

troutbirder said...

Well Lucy nice post! Is deskunking a common problem with the girls? I've only had to do it once with the big guy. Left over yummy. Around here I'm known as the guy who boils up the turkey carcass and makes turkey noodle soup. :)

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

To everyone - Yes, the brining does make even a tender turkey even more tender.

Tara - We saw brined fresh tukey in our fresh market but decided to do it ourselves.

Rudee - Hope you got a chance to rest up. We have several herb butter recipes that we use both on turkey and chicken.

Ms A - If we had no leftovers I'm sure my husband would have bought a turkey for us to fix later. The man just loves turkey. One of these days you are going to have to explain your aversion to the "other" holiday.

Herd - So far we have escaped a meeting with a skunk. But we have seen them in our woods and rooting in the yard for grubs.

Linthead - Thanks and right back at you.

Suz - Yes, you can cook the turkey in the oven or on the grill (if it's not over 12 pounds). And you can use any recipe you might have. We don't put the dressing in the bird but if you did you would need to eliminate the salt in it.

Donna - My husband will eat turkey without complaint until it is gone. Our last dish is usually turkey tetrazzini.

Troutbirder - We have escaped so far but often at night we will smell the odor. Obviously we keep the dogs on a short leash when they go out at night.

KB said...

Ha!!!! Your description would have made a great I Love Lucy episode. I was giggling and giggling, visualizing you two and that turkey!

Caddie said...

Soaking in saltwater, hmm? Had my first meal of turkey prepared this way. Such a wonderful surprising delight. And to think I'd sworn off turkey forever - foundered and sick of that dry meat. An aunt does her chicken this way too. I'm going to the grocery store right now! I'm starving!

Just found you from over at Golden Daze. Be assured I will be back. Gorgeous dogs there

Cicero Sings said...

D and I brined our turkeys. We have a cooler that would fit them nicely AND keep them cold with ice added and kept in the garage where the temperature is kept just above freezing in winter. Worked for us.