I feel for you. Lord knows I do (In my “Color Purple” voice). But yall are making this cooking a turkey thing into it’s own anxiety disorder. I am not a fan of the holidays. I think it is over rated and over commercialized. It is a system set up for you to out do yourself year after year and have all of your love ones beg you for more. Largest ego stroke in the world. However, if I had to pick a favorite holiday, it really would be Thanksgiving.
So here you are trying to figure out whose house you are going to hit up so that you don’t have to cook. Here is your other problem. Times are tight and money is hard because these crazy ass kids want the new PS whatever and you cant buy groceries because they has to have this new game system that they got last year. Anyhow, two things tend to happen :
1.) All of the food is gone when you call yourself trying to make a “plate” to take home. First of all, that is rude. According to my finishing school and the Emily Post Etiquette Bible, you may only leave one’s house with leftovers or seconds if it is offered to you by the host or lady of the home. In addition, you are not to prepare the “to go” plate. You are suppose to allow the hostess fix this plate for you. Please start following these simple and respectful manners.
2.) You are going to wake up Friday and realize that you don’t have any of the leftovers that you were throwing down on yesterday. Now your depression has set in and the other person who asked you to come to Thanksgiving dinner, that you dissed, is getting a tired ass phone call from you asking if it is ok for you to stop by….. A damn shame!
SO this is what I am going to do for you. I need you to look yourself in the refrigerator door. Go head, take the damn look. Ask yourself if you had to make a turkey yourself, would you eat the dark meat??? Truth of the matter is that most of us just like the nice and pretty sliced turkey breast that has been placed on the pretty tray. If this is your case, then you will find that life will be easier and less expensive for you. If you are just an all out, got to feed my entire neighborhood, buy the big ass 18 pound turkey.
Either way, what I will do is help you get to where you got to go so that you at least look like you got some sense in the kitchen.
I typically just get the Turkey Breast. The one that I purchased for this year was about 7 pounds. If I am actually having other people over and we are really doing the full kit and caboodle, then I get a 15-18 pound Turkey. I buy my turkey fresh. This saves you from really making things work through a process that you didn’t even have to go through that makes you think that your turkey is fresh and it is still frozen. Thank me later. I purchase the turkey at least 3- 4 days before Thanksgiving. NOTE: Whatever you do, do not throw away the tag that has the price and the weight of the turkey away. This sounds strange, just trust me.
What you will need that is non- food…..
- I use a rack lifted pan like the one featured in this post.
- 2 boxes of Reynolds Plastic Oven bags specific to fit Turkey. Use the brand name stuff so that you don’t have any mishaps.
- Invest in one of those turkey ready popper thing
- Turkey Breast or Whole Turkey
- Turkey Brine (You will find this at any grocery store during the holiday season)
- 4 sticks of salted butter softened
- Fresh Sage
- Fresh Parsley
- Fresh Rosemary leaves (not the stem)
- Fresh Thyme
- 1 medium white onion quartered
- 3 cups of Swanson’s Chicken stock
- 1 cup of water
- Every single spice that you like that is in your spice cabinet. NO SALT, No Sweet stuff like nutmeg or sugar!!! Everything else is wide open.
1.) Take the turkey and make sure that you clean it the best way you can. Remove any additional parts that were included in the turkey cavity. ( I usually throw that stuff away, but some people choose to cook those turkey necks. I have another solution for gravy, if home-style gravy is what you need)
2.) Follow the instructions on how to prepare the turkey brine. Once the brine has cooled, placed the turkey in one of the Turkey Oven Bags. Add the turkey brine and rotate in the refrigerator overnight.
3.) I use a food processer, but you can use a mixer as well. Take the butter, sage, parsley, rosemary leaves, and thyme. Combine these ingredients. It will look like a compound butter.
4.) Preheat oven to 350
4.) Remove the Turkey from the brine and place on the baking rack or cutting board.
5.) Take the butter mixture and proceed to stuff the butter well under the entire skin of the turkey. Leave some butter mixture to place in the cavity of the turkey.
6.) Place the turkey back facing up. All of the cabinet spices we spoke about earlier, pat those spices all over the skin of the turkey. Turn turkey over and pat the additional spices over the skin of the turkey. Add the turkey ready sticker into the largest part of the turkey breast
7.) Place the new seasoned turkey into the second Reynold’s Turkey Oven Bag. Place the turkey bag on the roasting rack.
8.) Pour water and chicken stock into the bag. No fancy way of doing it. Throw the quartered onions into the bag as well.
9.) Once everything in the bag and tie a not to close it. Take either some kitchen shears and/ or a knife and cut about 4 small slits into the top of the bag. Put the bag in the oven and leave it ALONE! The bird should be ready in about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. The popper is the real indicator that the bird is ready.
The butter that was placed under the turkey’s skin will turn crispy and flavorful even in the bag you can ladle the broth on anything on your plate and it will change your life. If you have a momma’s tasting for “regular” old school gravy, use the drippings in the bag to make a gravy.
Take half a stick of butter and about 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour in a saucepan. place on medium heat and whisk until it blends and bubbles. Do not allow the roux mixture to turn anything but golden. Slowly stir the turkey broth drippings. Continue to whisk until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This seems like a lot, but you will be most wanted from here going forward.
Feedback and pictures are so appreciated. Happy Turkey!