I guess everyone has a story about their first turkey, and most are willing to share it…. without me asking. The checkout lady at Publix cooked the giblet bag in her first turkey, my sister-in-law cooked hers upside down, as in breast side down, another friend undercooked hers and it had to go back in the oven while everyone waited.
My turkey turned out perfect. It was golden and lovely and tasted great. It was the drama BEFORE that I will always remember.
I bought it fresh because my mother said to. Her exact words, you don’t want to have to deal with all that thawing out mess.
I squished it in our top shelf in our frig out in the garage on Monday. I researched several recipes and talked to my mom and MIL about how they cook theirs. I decided I wanted to brine it. Cooks Illustrated said you should do this. Years and years ago I took a William Sonoma Cooking class for Thanksgiving with a friend and besides learning that they want you to buy all their stuff, I learned you should brine your turkey and you should cook it breast side down for 1 hour before flipping it over to bake the rest of the way, to make it moist.
Cooks Illustrated also said you should let it sit in the frig overnight after the brine to make it the skin bake crispy. After reading that I thought I better brine Wednesday. I got the brine ready and went to get the turkey out and it was frozen solid on my top shelf and I couldn’t get it out of the shelf. (Remember I squished it into the shelf.)
I pulled and tugged and tried to take the shelf out. My thoughts were, I was going to have to buy another or leave the door open to let it thaw but it was freezing outside and that is why it froze in the first place. I slid the turkey over to the side where a light bulb was out and was able to finally maneuver it out of the frig. But now I have a frozen turkey 24 hours before thanksgiving.
I called my mom.
She was getting her hair done.
My dad was helpful. You could put it in the microwave. I don’t think I want to defrost my $30 turkey in the microwave even if it could fit. His next thought was to put it over my crock pot on warm and cover in foil. I’m thinking this is an invitation to ecoli. I decide to it put in my sink in hot water and wait for mom to call me back. I text my friend Nina to tell her my predicament and she said NO to the hot water to use cold water and said to call 1-800 Butterball.
About that time my phone rang and it was Nina and she put her sweet mother on the phone. She has made many a turkey in her life. She has the sweetest southern accent saying waater and calling me darling. She talked me through thawing it safely in the sink and suggested that if the inside still needed a little more thawing that I could use my hair dryer to blow up inside the turkey.
This really caught me off guard. She told me to be sure and get the gizzards out. She reminded me again about my hair dryer before getting off the phone.
I did get to brine and set it up in the frig as planned. I ended up calling the cook of the south, Nancy, and she gave me some tips too. I called her because of the plastic trussing, whether to bake with it or not. Mom said hers was usually metal and she baked with it. Nancy also reminded me to take the gizzards out. I’m seeing a pattern here.
Who knew such things would be thrown at me in baking a turkey!!! But for goodness sake the bird came out pretty and it tasted good too.
My brother gave Kevin advise on carving it and off we went.
My spiral ham I bought and cooked with the glaze for back up was one of the best ever. I cooked it in a bag. Everyone brought food and we had a wonderful time together. We ate before noon because I have hungry people in my family and didn’t want to hear them complain about a late lunch.
Days later I gathered the remnants of the table thinking of the lovely time we had gathered around enjoying our time together.
I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful too. Oh, I have a funny to add. So on my decoration I had the things I was thankful for hanging on my chandelier. Family, Jesus, friends, forgiveness, love, beauty… Chad, my 17-year-old said, Beauty?? Mom that is being conceited! I had to laugh. Chad not MY beauty but the beauty God created. Only a boy would think that.
Have a great day I just wanted to share my adventurous turkey baking with you after your sweet messages and good wishes.