Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Not just your average turkey

While you prep for you Thanksgiving this week remember just cause you are having turkey doesn't mean that it has to be your average turkey.  Have fun with it.  Change it up.  

That's what I did, just a little early since I wouldn't be making Thanksgiving dinner this year.  I made a peach mesquite turkey. You can make your turkey any way you want, any toppings, rubs or oils.  Just keep these keys, to make sure that however you make your turkey that it is a moist and delicious turkey:

1.  Do not stuff your turkey with any bread products, especially not stuffing.  I know it makes the stuffing all the better, but it makes your turkey dry.  Almost same taste to the stuffing pull some of the turkey dripping from the bottom of the pan.  Get the taste without the dry turkey.

2. Stuffing the turkey can be great.  I stuffed mine with peaches but other fruits and vegetables can add great flavor to the meat.

3.  Rubs can be great to keep moister in, otherwise thoroughly apply oil to the outside of your turkey.

4. Keep your turkey covered pretty tightly (Aluminum foil tight is fine enough).  Only uncover for the last 20 minutes or so.

5.  And almost most importantly:  For your best skin and moistest of turkeys insert butter tabs under the skin (I'll give instructions on what I mean exactly below).  It makes the skin crisp up a bit and look beautiful and infuses the mean with a little extra love and not too many extra calories.

Step 1: Clean your turkey.  Pull off the cover and pull out the giblets and neck.  Rinse with cold water thoroughly.  

Step 2:  Depending on the size of your turkey (mine was 13lbs) make a handful of 1.5-2" slices (I did four one for each quarter of the turkey).

Step 3:  Insert tabs of butter into the slices you made, make sure to put them under the skin fully.  (amount of butter can range but I used right around a TBSP for each slice.)

Step four: If you are going to stuff your turkey, here is where you stuff it (I got peaches for really cheap in the summer and froze a bunch and used those to stuff my turkey)

Step 5: Topping/Rub/Oil.  I used a bit of Olive oil and rubbed the skin of the turkey moist so that the rub would stick.  Then I used the spices in my cabinet to make a rub (in this particular case I was given a mesquite steak seasoning that I thought sounded pretty good.)

This is simply to give perspective on how "Stuffed" or not "Stuffed" my turkey was.  You don't need it jammed packed full to do the job.

Then bake it as per suggested on the package for weight.  I have a roasting option on my stove so I used that in my process but regular old baking works wonders too!  If your package doesn't say I would suggest 325 degrees and look online for a estimate to be sure but for my 13lbs turkey I roasted it somewhere around 4 hours.  When in doubt a meat thermometer is a life saver (you can get one pretty cheap, under 15 bucks, that will do the trick... just make sure the part that goes in the turkey doesn't get bent... doesn't work too well after that, go wonder).  

Go out and do wonders with your turkey.  You change up with shock and surprise your family in a good way!

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