Author Topic: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?  (Read 14114 times)

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sparksals

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #75 on: November 06, 2013, 05:21:42 AM »
I cook my turkey breast down for the first 3-4 hours then flip it over for the last hour to dry out and brown.  I also stuff my turkey loosely with aromatics and vegetables to add flavor to the drippings. I have a special pair of oven gloves just for this.


I was thinking, "That's crazy! How would you even do that--flipping the bird while it's hot!"

Then I saw the bolded. Phew!

Though, my hat is still off you to--because it's still hot and heavy and slippery. Even with gloves.

I was reading that Alton Brown recipe w/ the brining, and wondering if I could even fit a 5-gallon bucket in my fridge.

Since you're in NY, would your garage be cold enough?  I'm in MN so my garage acts as a 2nd fridge and my car hood storage for all the prepped plates.  I can do that in MN but not when we lived in AZ.  This past Canadian T giving was too warm and I had to rely on my fridge downstairs which got quite tight bc I do almost everything ahead, except the turkey.   

sparksals

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #76 on: November 06, 2013, 05:29:43 AM »

For brining, no need to put it in your fridge if you have outside space or a garage.  We brined 2 years ago and used huge cooler we kept full of ice.  That was a pain in the patootie, so no more brining until we can figure out a way to secure our outdoor space.


Unfortunately, I don't have an
 space. Well, not one that's only mine. But the big http://www.food.com/recipe/french-green-beans-in-cream-488815 is an interesting idea.

I keep adding side dishes to the list as I go along. "Brussels sprouts, shredded or whole? Oh, and gotta have green beans. Roast potatoes, of course, and probably some sort of sweet potatoes too. Probably need some fresh crunchy vegetables. Corn--canned corn is easy, and if you put a lot of butter on it, people like it. Salad--DH says we probably should have a salad. Oooh, this roasted cauliflower recipe would be good."

See what I mean? I'm going to have to stop myself at some point.

I learned my lesson about the dining room table--we tried to set it up the day-of and that was a total disaster. So we'll set it the day before, and iron napkins, tablecloths, etc., a week before.

I found a great recipe for garlic cream cream green beans from Good Housekeeping UK.  It is absolutely delicious and a nice departure if you don't care for the tradition green bean casserole.    Ugh for some reason I cannot post the link from my phone.  It keeps jumping up to another part of your post for some reason.   See just after your statement about not having outdoor space.  That is where the link to to the recipe is.  Can't figure out why it keeping hopping to that location. 



« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 05:32:47 AM by sparksals »

sparksals

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sparksals

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #78 on: November 06, 2013, 05:38:16 AM »
I know many people dismiss these because they claim it steams the turkey instead of roasting it, but I always use Reynolds Turkey size Oven Bags. I've never had a bad turkey out of one of those. They come out moist with plenty of drippings for gravy. The guide lines on how long to cook according to the weight of the turkey are spot on. And the skin is always beautifully browned.

I only tried one time to roast a turkey in the oven without the bag and it didn't come out well, plus there was hardly any drippings. I think they evaporated?

Went back to using the bags and haven't looked back. It's the easiest way I know of and the results are almost guaranteed.

As far as doing it the day before, I see no reason not to. The weekend before, even. I cook a large brisket for Passover every year and always cook it in advance. I refrigerate (or freeze) it and then just throw it into the oven on low for a bit before dinner. I know it's a brisket, not a turkey, but I see no reason this wouldn't work. I do it with leftover turkey all the time as well.

Regarding the shredded brussels sprouts, my advice is to keep everything as simple as possible, especially the more sides you have. Believe me, no one is going to say, Ugh, she didn't shred the sprouts! Go the easy route on all these recipes because it's already complicated due to the number of dishes you're serving.

Good luck!!

To prevent dripping evaporation, add chicken stock to the pan.  When the turkey goes in the oven there should be some fluid in the pan as well.  I pour it over the turkey to help baste it. 

PastryGoddess

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #79 on: November 06, 2013, 09:17:07 AM »
I'm pretty sure toots lives in the city in an apartment.  But I could be wrong

lowspark

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #80 on: November 06, 2013, 09:40:06 AM »
I know many people dismiss these because they claim it steams the turkey instead of roasting it, but I always use Reynolds Turkey size Oven Bags. I've never had a bad turkey out of one of those. They come out moist with plenty of drippings for gravy. The guide lines on how long to cook according to the weight of the turkey are spot on. And the skin is always beautifully browned.

I only tried one time to roast a turkey in the oven without the bag and it didn't come out well, plus there was hardly any drippings. I think they evaporated?

Went back to using the bags and haven't looked back. It's the easiest way I know of and the results are almost guaranteed.

As far as doing it the day before, I see no reason not to. The weekend before, even. I cook a large brisket for Passover every year and always cook it in advance. I refrigerate (or freeze) it and then just throw it into the oven on low for a bit before dinner. I know it's a brisket, not a turkey, but I see no reason this wouldn't work. I do it with leftover turkey all the time as well.

Regarding the shredded brussels sprouts, my advice is to keep everything as simple as possible, especially the more sides you have. Believe me, no one is going to say, Ugh, she didn't shred the sprouts! Go the easy route on all these recipes because it's already complicated due to the number of dishes you're serving.

Good luck!!

To prevent dripping evaporation, add chicken stock to the pan.  When the turkey goes in the oven there should be some fluid in the pan as well.  I pour it over the turkey to help baste it.

Thanks, good to know. I'll probably never drift away from using those cooking bags though. In my experience, they are foolproof.

laceandbits

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #81 on: November 06, 2013, 09:40:29 AM »
Add at least an hour onto the turkey cooking time, but don't assume you'll need it.  Once the bird is cooked (thermometer if you have one, I don't but a skewer poked into the thick bit inside the thigh, and juices run clear is reliable, and I've never had an under done turkey), take it out of the oven, cover it (in the pan) with poil if it's not already, then with several layers of towels.  It will stay hot until you need it.  The only thing that is spoilt is that the skin goes soggy.  As we shouldn't really eat that anyway as that's where the fat is in poultry, you may not mind but if you want it to eat, as you carve strip off some of the skin and pop it back in the oven for just a few minutes and it will crisp up a treat.

I do this waiting period for half an hour or so anyway as it allows the meat to settle, and the moisture to equalise, and makes carving much easier.  But if you are caught out and it's not quite cooked you have a useful back up of time.

Granny was in the catering trade in the 1930s when every penny counted and by doing this to all her meat, could cut it wafer thin so the customers thought they had loads but didn't.  This is one of her tips but I've read it in other places too.

For the rest of the meal, prepare as much as you can the day before and practise cooking timings.  Make sure you have big enough pans to cook the bigger quantities or everything will boil over or go off the boil.  Some veggies like carrots are quite happy to be reheated and potatoes can be par- boiled the day before ready to roast on the day.  But green veggies need to be cooked right at the last minute.  Gravy you could also make well before the day and just reheat when needed.

laceandbits

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #82 on: November 06, 2013, 09:49:53 AM »
Of course I meant cover with *foil* not poil. 

And to the other poster who said that without bags her turkey had no juice, for something that needs to cook for as long as a turkey it does need covering in some way, but foil is easier to find, and to use and has other kitchen uses as well, but will stop the juices from evaporating just as well as a bag.  But it does mean that you can just lift the foil off to turn the bird halfway through, or baste if you want to, or even just to test for doneness. 

I usually cut a piece of foil plenty large enough, put it loosely over the bird and turn it under the rim of the pan, then gently push a little dip all around inside the rim so the foil moat is just below the pan rim. Takes only a minute or two but it means the moisture inside the foil tent drips back into the pan and can't escape over the edge.

TootsNYC

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #83 on: November 06, 2013, 01:44:53 PM »
Alton Brown's video shows the "duh!" trick of shaping the foil before you start roasting, while everything is cold.

thanks for the green beans recipe!

sparksals

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #84 on: November 07, 2013, 11:09:45 AM »
I know many people dismiss these because they claim it steams the turkey instead of roasting it, but I always use Reynolds Turkey size Oven Bags. I've never had a bad turkey out of one of those. They come out moist with plenty of drippings for gravy. The guide lines on how long to cook according to the weight of the turkey are spot on. And the skin is always beautifully browned.

I only tried one time to roast a turkey in the oven without the bag and it didn't come out well, plus there was hardly any drippings. I think they evaporated?

Went back to using the bags and haven't looked back. It's the easiest way I know of and the results are almost guaranteed.

As far as doing it the day before, I see no reason not to. The weekend before, even. I cook a large brisket for Passover every year and always cook it in advance. I refrigerate (or freeze) it and then just throw it into the oven on low for a bit before dinner. I know it's a brisket, not a turkey, but I see no reason this wouldn't work. I do it with leftover turkey all the time as well.

Regarding the shredded brussels sprouts, my advice is to keep everything as simple as possible, especially the more sides you have. Believe me, no one is going to say, Ugh, she didn't shred the sprouts! Go the easy route on all these recipes because it's already complicated due to the number of dishes you're serving.

Good luck!!

To prevent dripping evaporation, add chicken stock to the pan.  When the turkey goes in the oven there should be some fluid in the pan as well.  I pour it over the turkey to help baste it.

Thanks, good to know. I'll probably never drift away from using those cooking bags though. In my experience, they are foolproof.


I heard they were much like using a roaster.. that they don't brown.  Glad to hear they do in those bags.  Although, I really enjoy basting with the juices from the turkey and stock I add throughout hte cooking process.

sparksals

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #85 on: November 07, 2013, 11:10:01 AM »
I'm pretty sure toots lives in the city in an apartment.  But I could be wrong


You're right.  Completely forgot about that. 

sparksals

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #86 on: November 07, 2013, 11:12:41 AM »
Of course I meant cover with *foil* not poil. 

And to the other poster who said that without bags her turkey had no juice, for something that needs to cook for as long as a turkey it does need covering in some way, but foil is easier to find, and to use and has other kitchen uses as well, but will stop the juices from evaporating just as well as a bag.  But it does mean that you can just lift the foil off to turn the bird halfway through, or baste if you want to, or even just to test for doneness. 

I usually cut a piece of foil plenty large enough, put it loosely over the bird and turn it under the rim of the pan, then gently push a little dip all around inside the rim so the foil moat is just below the pan rim. Takes only a minute or two but it means the moisture inside the foil tent drips back into the pan and can't escape over the edge.


I agree about the foil... the foil also prevents the skin from burning and the breasts from drying out too much.  Since the breasts are first to cook and they are white meat, they are also first to get dry.  That is why I baste so much and cover with foil.  It only takes my bird an hour or so to get brown on the top of the skin.


The skin is my FAVE part.  Not great for us, but for a holiday, I'm going to imbibe.  lol

lowspark

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #87 on: November 07, 2013, 11:15:09 AM »
Yeah, I've read that too, that they don't brown. But they do. At least, all the turkeys I've cooked in those bags over the past ~30 years have.

I think that there's a lot of good ways to cook a turkey, as opposed to only one good way. I've never tried brining, or high heat or low heat or basting or or or.... etc. I'm sure they are all good methods though.

I have done the bag, plain ol' roasting in the oven with no bag, and grilling with indirect heat. Of those three, I liked the bag the best because it comes out moist, it browns and it produces a ton of drippings.

Grilling with indirect heat is my second favorite -- the bird comes out delicious. But alas, no drippings.

TootsNYC

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #88 on: November 07, 2013, 11:33:24 AM »
I'm pretty sure toots lives in the city in an apartment.  But I could be wrong


You're right.  Completely forgot about that.

Yep, no garage or backyard. *some* basement area, perhaps, but not sure about that. And steam heat, so the ambient temperature around the cooler won't be as cold as it might be for other people.

But all those tips about garage, flour, etc., may be useful for someone else!
And they could inspire me to think a little bit about how I could incorporate the *spirit* of the suggestion--like, I don't have a garage; but maybe I could use a cooler in the stall shower for a day or two, leaving that bathroom's window open to keep the room cool  and just make everybody shower in the other bathroom....

sparksals

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Re: How sensible is it to practice for Thanksgiving?
« Reply #89 on: November 07, 2013, 12:02:44 PM »
Yeah, I've read that too, that they don't brown. But they do. At least, all the turkeys I've cooked in those bags over the past ~30 years have.

I think that there's a lot of good ways to cook a turkey, as opposed to only one good way. I've never tried brining, or high heat or low heat or basting or or or.... etc. I'm sure they are all good methods though.

I have done the bag, plain ol' roasting in the oven with no bag, and grilling with indirect heat. Of those three, I liked the bag the best because it comes out moist, it browns and it produces a ton of drippings.

Grilling with indirect heat is my second favorite -- the bird comes out delicious. But alas, no drippings.


Yes, what works for one, may not for another.   Once I find something that works for me, I stick with that.


At TG last month, I did my regular turkey in the oven and then as an experiment, a 12 pounder in our newish smoker.  Everyone much preferred the smoked turkey, so much so, that my friend who came for my Cdn TG asked me to bring a smoked turkey to her TG this month.   I anticipated it not turning out well since it was my first time, but it turned out a million times better than I ever expected.  I just wish my smoker was bigger so I could do my main turkey in it every year.