Thursday, October 13, 2005

Tom Turkey

Tom Turkey
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Hi everyone! Meet Tom. Tom is the first of many turkeys to grace our spcae this year. I love turkey. As soon as the summer heat descends to the high eighties I usually run right out and buy a turkey. It is one of my favorite meats to use in cooking and one good sized turkey can be made into so many different meals!

I was 21 before I roasted my first turkey. I didn't seem to be afraid of the process. While growing up I didn't have the opportunity to help with the thanksgiving meal other than to cook pies. My mom was the turkey person and until I was 21 I enjoyed supping at her table for Thanksgiving.

So on my 21st Thanksgiving I decided I was grown up enough to have everyone to my place and a new tradition was born. I have hosted Thanksgiving at my place ever since. Everyone and anyone is welcome and I do not get offended if you decide to be somewhere else.

So back to the turkey. How I do it. Buy the biggest freekin' turkey you can find. Fresh is best, and it's good to be able to see hwere your turkey grows up, but if that isn't an option, buy fresh from your grocer. If by chance you buy a frozen bird, let it thaw in the refrigerator. This could take a couple of days. Then unwrap him and give it a good rinse. remove the giblets, neck and just check for random stuff that looks like it could be removed. This time the turkey I bought seemed to have an over abundance of fat near the tail. I pulled it out and discarded it before seasoning him. Then I sprinkle a good tablespoon of kosher salt in the cavity along with some good rubbed sage. Then I take some softened buter and rub the outside of the bird with the butter, add some more sage and voila!, the turkey is ready to be placed in the roaster.

There is a lot of discussion about placing the bird breast side down or roasting it the traditional method. The breast side down camp believes that the breasts retain moisture better by roasting the bird breasts down. I've tried it both ways and come out with equal results.

What I have learned through trial and error is that when I use the roasting pan to cook the bird, I must seal the edges with foil. Once the bird is in the roasting pan, I make a tent of foil and then seal it all around the edge to keep the steam from escaping. I have had many a dry turkey by not doing this. All the steam escapes and then it is dry. Ugh!

Roasting Pan

Then you set the roaster at 350 and let it cook for about two and a half to three hours. Your cooking time will vary by the size of your bird, so check on it if your house is filling with those wonderful aromas of cooked turkey!

Done Turkey

I'll post soon about all the things that accompany this turkey!