My First Turkey

I don’t normally cook but this year my wife needed a break. Working in a retil store means she has to get up at 3am and drive 45 minutes out of town to her store adjust cameras and catch crooked people in the act before the crooked people get the jump on black Friday. This year it’d be a little different. The food would not taste the same, a given, because Daddy’s at the wheel. I’m not proud because I did a great job, I’m prooud because I finally overcame my fear of large poultry. The bird was a challenge but not unsurmountable. With a little more practice the bird my even be delivered to our table with flavor come next year. Who knows? I may even be brave enough to try to rub it down before I put it in the stove. (I heard some people do this but I’m not all into birds like that!) Not knowing how long to apply heat to the beast or what amount of heat to apply I consulted the Wrox Turkey Reference. According to the TurkeyDocs one must thaw in cold water for about 8-10 hours. One must also preheat the cooking device to roughly 325 degrees. The temperature should remain consistent for the entire baking duration of the feathered animal. (Feathers should be removed prior to the application of heat.) Seasoning is optional though recommended for pleasurable consumption. Fresh vegetation can also be used for both adornment and stuffing. Lesson learned, the potatoes are strictly for adornment and are not to be placed inside the bird.

My First Turkey
My First Turkey

For a cook, I’m one heck of a programmer!

7 thoughts on “My First Turkey

  1. Alton Brown has many brilliant things to say about brining and trussing a turkey, he’s definitely worth checking out. In the meantime, here’s what my mom recommends:

    Kosher turkey, because it’s been brined, which keeps it moist. If it’s not kosher, you’ll have to brine it yourself. I have no clue about this part, so I’ll mention Alton Brown again. ALTON BROWN. He is teh awesome.

    20 minutes of cooking per pound of turkey. A ten-pound turkey takes 200 mins.

    350 degrees Fahrenheit, always.

    Put a whole onion inside the turkey before cooking (peel and cut off ends of onion first, of course).

    Chop up two heads (not just two cloves, two HEADS) of garlic really finely and make ’em smearable with olive oil; put it all under the skin of the turkey, all over the turkey, without breaking the skin any more than you have to. The skin holds the garlic in.

    Tie up the turkey (hello once more, Alton Brown, we hail your genius).

    When you stick the turkey in the oven, put it upside-down in a turkey roasting pan WITH A LID. People say you shouldn’t stew a turkey, but I say forget ’em. Make sure there are a few cups of chicken broth in the bottom of the pan to keep the turkey moist. Having the turkey upside-down allows the juices to run into the breast meat. Keep the lid open a mere smidge to allow steam to escape.

    The final half hour, turn the turkey right-side up; do this in your kitchen sink, pan and all, so that the turkey doesn’t skid off the counter and fall on the floor. Leave the oven on as you’re doing this! You want it to still be at 350 when you put the turkey back in, this time with no lid on the pan so that the turkey can brown.

    The final ten minutes, baste the turkey with a mix of honey and paprika to make it extra golden/tasty.

    There you go! My mom’s amazingly juicy, tasty turkey recipe! Works every time.

  2. Wow Astrid,

    That recipe was more complicated than the traveling salesman algorithm I’d been reading up on! Let me get this straight, I want to brain a turkey that I don’t trust… the turkey goes in the pan and you place the pan upside down WITH A LID in the oven using a cup to catch the drippings? Then I’m s’posed to use TWO heads one of which belong to Alton Brown? These go under the skin but in a way as to not penetrate the skin? Then I tie up the turkey to the remains of Alton Brown to hold in the moisture of the turkey? I finally crack the door to the oven a smidge while I attempt to work a honey/paparika basting through the crack? I am no good at cooking, believe me but I’m willing to try your recipe. Not quite certain how I’ll trick Alton Brown into hanging out with me long enough to collect his head but we’ll see… Thanx for the tip!

  3. Glad you got a turkey, Cliff – I was worried! Hams are nice cuz you can just microwave them.

    And one of the best things about Alton Brown is his lessons come in easy-to-read television show form!

  4. Wow, Cliff, that was seriously the best reinterpretation of a comment ever. I had this vision of you doing battle with a turkey, with Alton’s head poking out the aforementioned turkey, and you’re waving a baster in the air as you let out a fierce, ululating war cry. That was hilarious, plus you are not allowed to ever inflict such traumatic visions upon me ever again.

    Good luck with the recipe! And as Matt says, Alton is easily downloadable, as well as exceedingly fun to view.

  5. Alton is downloadable? In which format? wmv? divx? tar.gz? If it’s tar.gz will his head be included in the archive or is it in a separate download from a mirror site? And I gotta get with this microwave ham recipe too. Sounds simple enough but I don’t think I can trust the recipe depending on which Matt made the post. (Sorry but there are two or three Matts that post here on occasion, one of which frequently tries to sell me tramadol and another that talked me into an untested deployment to a live server farm.)

  6. How to hot-deploy a ham in 7 easy steps:

    1) Disable the “kill switch” on your microwave door to allow it to operate while open
    2) Set the microwave to run for 10 minutes on high
    3) At the 5 minute mark, open up the door and throw in the ham*
    4) Did you remember to take off the foil it was wrapped in?
    5) Uh oh
    6) Run!
    7) Call the proper authorities and enjoy at a safe distance

    *may cause blindness and severe internal burning

  7. I got a verification error after step 4. While I’d like to blame rapc I believe we were ultimately missing a couple of tests.

    public void testFoilHasBeenRemoved() {
    Turkey theBird = new FoilWrappedPoultry();
    assertFalse("Should have removed aluminum", theBird.stillHasFoil());
    public void testDoorIsClosed() {
    Turkey theBird = new FoilWrappedPoultry();
    assertFalse("Should properly secure door to slightly reduce velocity on ejected poultry", microwave.doorIsOpen());

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