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Friend Thanksgiving “Friendgiving” Part 1, the Turkey

November 21, 2010

On its fourth year, Friend Thanksgiving returned this year even bigger and better than ever! 13 people in our house! Eating! Drinking! Being Merry! Friend Thanksgiving began just a mere four years ago, when I first experienced the frightening realization that with every Turkey comes an orifice and usually that orifice is stuffed with a treat bag of organs.

Every year we celebrate Friend Thanksgiving, a festivity of food, friends, booze and joy, usually right before real Thanksgiving, it gives you a warm up to Thursday Thanksgiving, and gives you a chance to get all of the inappropriate turkey orifice jokes out of the way and have some fun with your friends before you head to your various hometowns. I highly recommend starting the tradition, because well honestly who needs an excuse to eat turkey and drink on a Sunday, but nonetheless if you call it Friend Thanksgiving you have the excuse.

This year was the biggest and the best so far! 13 people in our living room!

Until making my first Turkey four years ago I never realized that Turkeys have such large caverns, but in the subsequent four years their caverns have lead to many an inappropriate joke and many a delicious meal. So before I get down to the deets of this years bird, a trip down memory lane, starting with Gene, because yes, like everything in my life (TV’s named Larz, Cars named Stella and Pearl, iPhones named Penelope), I name all my Turkeys, write songs about them, play with their orifi, their wings….

Gene, 2007

Jean Claude, also 2007

Wade, 2008

Larz, 2009

AND a gender shift for 2010, Yolanda

I tried something new this year with the Turkey (Aside from just generous butter, salt, pepper and italian seasoning) and BRINED THE TURKEY! I have heard tell of this art and decided to give it a go, turning of course to the internet for guidance and then kind of making it up as I went along.

It all started with a 17 pound butter ball turkey (on sale at Stop’n’Shop!), that Grill Boy kindly bathed for me:

Then into a giant container with:

1 large carrot, diced

1 large onion, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

3-4 sprigs of rosemary

5 fresh bay leaves

8 fresh sage leaves

3/4 cup of salt

1/3 cup of ground pepper

a little pepper

An entire garlic bulb sliced in half horizontally

Enough water to cover the turkey

And since we didn’t have any apple cider we threw in some apple pie liquor

Look an entire garlic bulb (who even knew it was called a bulb)

Then into the fridge for anywhere between 24 hours and 3 days (We did 24 hours)

Then I took the Turkey out of the Brining solution, rinsed it off a bit and patted it dry. Then into the bottom of the roasting pan:

1 Onion, diced

3 Garlic cloves, smashed

A bunch of Thyme, 1 Cinnamon Stick and 2 Bay Leaves

1 large carrot, diced

1 apple, diced

And about 1/4 of a cup of salt to top it off

Then I made an herb butter, 2 sticks of butter mixed with about 1/4 cup of chopped rosemary

and 1/4 cup of chopped sage leaves

And mixed together using a hand mixer

Then I massaged (and I really did massage for a good 10 minutes) the herb butter under the skin of the turkey, on the breasts, and the two legs

Yeah I got quite intimate with Yolanda, this was of course after she punched me in the boob with her wing while I was bathing her post-brine (Yes I got punched in the boob by a dead turkey). After massaging the butter under the skin I massaged it on the outside too

Next using a trussing kit from the grocery store I shoved some sharp metal stick things into Yolanda’s skin in order to make the skin cover her orifice. Then I laced her up pulling the wings into her body with some twine and tying it off near the bottom of her legs

It was a tough task, especially given the level of buttered up-ness she was, but basically you want to close off the orifice using the skin, and bring the legs and wings close into the body, not flapping at the side

Then into the fridge overnight to dry out and toughen up the skin and into the oven about 5 hours before people were set to arrive (usually its about 17 minutes per pound at 350 degrees). We started Yolanda at 450 degrees for 40 minutes to brown up the skin

After 40 minutes

Since she was nicely browned at this point, we turned the temperature down to 350 and covered her with a foil tent, and then basted every half hour until the meat thermometer read 171.5 degrees (this happened after about 4 hours).

1 Hour in

2 Hours in

3 Hours in

4 hours and done!

The only task left, carving the beast. First you need to sharpen the knives

Attacking

And the end result, absolutely delicious, the most succulent turkey I have ever had. Brine or Bust for me from now on! Although it was a lot of work it was totally worth it for the juicy meat it produced! I highly recommend!

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