Hello there people of the web! Are we all out of our food coma now? I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I gotta say this year was the best year ever as far as my cooking went. I certainly believe in giving credit where credit is due. I surely didn’t do this all on my own. Over the years I have watched and learned from other people. I have “borrowed” (okay there was that one time I saw Diane’s bread pudding recipe sitting on the counter and with permission was allowed to take it) others recipes or techniques and improved over the years to where I can pull off a huge meal and say “That was awesome!” This year was really good. That is why cooking is so fun for me. You grow with it over time. You find out what works and you stick with it.
Like this upside down turkey for instance. I will mention my dear cousins wife and my oldest son’s Godmother here, Diane, who has done this for years. She is a fantastic cook! Plus she sets the vibe with beautiful tablescapes and little details that have earned her the nickname of Martha Jr. I adore this woman on so many levels! She is her own domestic goddess as well and I have been inspired by her for years.
So when she made this upside down turkey I thought she was a little crazy at first but it made sense. All the juice drips down to the breast meat. It also has to be done in an oven bag. I am telling you it is a game changer. I will probably never go back to the old way of roasting turkey.
The other thing that makes a huge difference is brining your turkey. The first time I ever brined a turkey, I thought you just soaked it in a huge pot overnight with some apples, oranges or lemons, peppercorns, salt, fresh herbs, and water. Clueless! Last year I found out (from Diane) that you actually have to cook the brine. What?? I researched and confirmed that this is in fact true. Last year I did it this new way and I agree, it was better.
This year however, I was in Bed, Bath and Beyond buying a cleaner kit for my Keurig, and was drawn to the display of brine kits right there in front of the store. I thought it would be a time saver to just use this type of brine where everything you need is in this little box. Perfect! I must say I had no idea just how good it would be. No idea that a little $9.99 investment would create the best turkey I have ever made in my entire life of making turkeys and trust me I have been making them for over 20 years.
The aroma was to die for. I am a total sensory kind of person. If it doesn’t smell good, it isn’t going to taste good. This here is what Thanksgiving should smell like. I want people to walk into my house and be welcomed and enamored by what is cooking. I remember walking into my grandmothers house and the first thing that hit me was the food smells.
This Fire & Flavor kit even gives you a nice big body bag for your bird. No mess!!! It said to brine a full 24 hours. I got a late start and only brined for 18 hours but it was plenty of time. That flavor got in there.
In a bag, the bird cooks way faster. A 20 lb. turkey went for 3 1/2 hours. Not too bad! I never stuff my turkey. The thought of the raw juices on the stuffing grosses us out. So I make my stuffing separate. I think this helps in keeping the bird juicy as well.
My husband is an awesome carver. My mom used to “ooooh and ahhhh” over his knife skills. She used to say “Rob you should have been a surgeon!” Now that she’s gone, we have to “oooh and ahhhh” in her place.
Now my father in law is not a huge turkey fan, but he even liked this turkey since it was so juicy. I couldn’t get over it. It was seriously perfect and the best turkey I have ever tasted. It wasn’t even salty! We had a cold piece yesterday and it was still juicy!!!
Whatever magic that is in that little box, it is worth every single penny. I can’t wait to do it again at Christmas.
The gravy was even fantastic. I made a quick rue using 1/2 cup of flour and 1 stick of unsalted butter. Then I poured the juice from the cooking bag into my gravy separator and then that new juice into the rue whisking constantly. I have a little mini crock pot that I use for gravy to keep it nice and warm. It was awesome! I tossed a few quartered oranges into the birds cavity prior to closing the bag that gave it a great flavor. I rubbed the bird with olive oil, a light dusting of fresh ground black pepper, rubbed sage, garlic powder, and onion powder. No additional salt! Tasty, tasty, tasty! The only thing I miss with cooking it in the bag is that good crispy skin. But that’s ok. I would rather have super juicy turkey!
Well, it’s time to run. Have to take my CoCo girl to the vet for her check up and then all that other fun Saturday stuff. Later on I will post about my sides.
Have a great day!!! xoxo