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Turkey Recipe's

DeetwoodDeetwood Posts: 70
edited 5:19AM in EggHead Forum
Anyone have a good turkey recipe? Seems I remember someone putting ice on the Turkey breasts before smoking.

Comments

  • Deetwood,
    here it is again:[p]Mad Max’s Thanksgiving Turkey and Gravy[p]Ok, here’s how I do it, but first a couple of disclaimers. One, I don’t brine my turkey. As I’ve state before, there is no particularly good reason for this other than I’m too lazy to do it, or I don’t think about it in advance. Plus, I’m not sure I could find the refrigerator space for the container it would take. However, this should have no impact on if you want to brine and still follow the rest of my method/recipe. Second, while this method will usually result in fairly crisp skin, it is not my focus. Because of the herb treatment, the skin isn’t necessarily that tasty anyway (pretty strong on the herbs), however, it will look great as far as the final presentation. My goal is a turkey where the breast is done at the same time as the legs (more on that later), the meat has a great flavor, and there are drippings that will make for the best gravy you ever ate (after all, how many times have you had good turkey but crummy or pedestrian gravy?). And, when the gravy is really good, you will make a really memorable impression on your guests. This is a very traditional turkey that benefits from the magic of the egg. All of this in my most humble of opinions of course.[p]THE BIRD[p]I typically start with a fresh killed bird from the grocery, not necessarily organic or free range, but one which hasn’t been frozen like a rock for a year. [p] First step in preparing the bird is to set up a large stock pot of water on simmer on the stove. Remove the neck, gizzards, liver, heart and the big chunk of fat from bird. Throw them in the stock pot along with a whole onion halved, a few stalks of celery, a carrot or two, and a bouquet of fresh herbs (I use primarily rosemary, sage and thyme. Let this simmer all day long, adding water occasionally to keep the level up. This will do two things; 1. make your house smell great all day long, and 2. create a wonderful rich stock for the gravy (which will be described later).[p]Back to the bird. Pat it dry, salt and pepper the cavity fairly liberally. Into the cavity stick one small onion (halved), one apple (quartered), one lemon (quartered) and a big bouquet of herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme, and whatever else you like. If you are a garlic person, it’s a good place to stick some of that as well). Take two sticks of butter, softened. Chop up more fresh herbs and mix it into the butter till you have a nice paste. Put the bird in a roasting pan, breast up, elevated either on a v-rack or in my case I have a trivet like metal piece that raises the bird about 1 inch above the pan. Quarter another apple and throw it directly in the roasting pan around the bird. Take your butter paste and liberally apply it all over the bird. You can work some under the skin if you want to, but its not necessary. [p]TWO VERY IMPORTANT STEPS[p]One. 20 minutes before you put it in the egg (or oven), take a one gallon zip lock bag full of ice cubes and lay it over the breasts for the 20 minutes. What this does is lower the breast temps sufficiently that over the course of the roasting, the breast and thighs will be done at the same time. Over the years (and I’ve been doing the thanksgiving turkey now for over 23 years), I’ve tried every trick in the book (paper bags, breast side down, terry cloth towels over the breast, etc.) and the ice bag absolutely works. I’ve been doing this now for about 10 years, and I’ve consistently had perfectly done, moist breasts finished right along with well cooked thighs. If you don’t do anything else, try this. Remove the bag of ice just before putting it in the egg.[p]Two. Last step prior to putting the bird in the egg (or oven), open a bottle of white wine (most any good white will do), and pour half the bottle all over the bird and in the cavity. DON’T drink the rest of the bottle, you will need it for the gravy.[p]THE EGG SET-UP.[p]Sometime before thanksgiving, test out your setup. Last year I found that my roasting pan would not work out with grid on top of inverted plate setter, it was just too high into the dome. I ended up borrowing a rig from Nature Boy that consisted of two metal bars and a pie plate that fit under the grid in its normal place on the fire ring. I kept the pie plate filled with water all day so as to create a good indirect heat barrier from my roasting pan, thereby avoiding any scorching of my drippings (this is key to having the good drippings for gravy). This year I will probably take a throw-away metal pan and lash it to the bottom of the grid for the same purpose. I have an 80 year old aluminum oval turkey roasting pan that fits perfectly in a large egg. This time of year, the grocery stores sell all kinds and sizes of metal pans. Figure out what you need to fit in the egg.[p]THE FIRE[p]I set up as full a load of lump as I could (almost to the top of the fire ring, there was maybe a ½ gap between the lump and the bottom of my ‘pie pan’). I added one good chunk of apple wood. I didn’t want a ‘smoked’ turkey. When it was done, the turkey had a nice hint of smoke. Its your call as to how smokey you want yours to taste. I got a good established fire going at 325 degrees. I let it burn for about 45 minutes prior to putting the turkey in. I found that a full load of lump at 325 degrees lasts only about 8 hours, so for a 20 pound bird, it gets a little close.[p]THE COOK[p]My turkey weighed in at around 20 pounds. At 325 degrees it took a good 6 ½ - 7 hours to be done. During the cook I regularly basted it with a bulb baster (about once every 20 minutes after the first hour). I also regularly checked the water pan underneath the roasting pan to insure it stayed full of water. When the skin started browning, I tented it loosely with aluminum foil until about the last hour, when I removed the foil to let the skin crisp up and come up to the color I wanted (a nice deep golden brown). I didn’t check temps. I pulled it when two things happened. First, when a deep poke in the thigh and breast resulted in clear juices running, and second, when the drumstick rotated freely at the joint (hey, this is how my mom and Aunt Elsie taught me to do it. [p]
    VERY IMPORTANT[p]When you pull the roasting pan and turkey from the egg and you’re removing the turkey from the roasting pan, first tilt the bird up so that all the juices in the cavity pour out into the pan (you do NOT want to lose this). Put you bird aside on a cutting board or platter and cover in foil until ready to carve. [p]THE GRAVY[p]So, how do you make great gravy? Its really pretty easy, particularly at this point because you have created all wonderful ingredients that you really need to do it. [p]First, all that crud and juice in your roasting pan? Carefully pour it into a large bowl or pitcher, removing and discarding the quartered apple that’s still in there. Let it set for a little while so that the fat rises to the top. This will probably constitute about 1/3 to ½ of the total volume in the bowl. Carefully ladle off this fat and discard. What you should have left is a beautiful dark richly colored liquid. Have it at the ready as you’ll need it in a few minutes.[p]Take your now empty roasting pan (it will still have some crud in the bottom) and put it directly on the stove top on a high flame. Add two sticks of butter, and approximately ½ a cup of flour. As this heats up, whisk it continuously, scraping up any scraps of crud on the pan. Continue whisking until you have a nice smooth roux working in the pan (add a little extra flour if you need to). It will start to brown a little, that’s ok.[p]Now, remember that ½ a bottle of wine you were saving (you did save it didn’t you?)? Add the wine to the roux in the roasting pan. You should still have it on a high flame, so the alcohol will boil off quickly. Keep whisking (the key to a nice smooth lump free gravy is to whisk the roux till its lump free and then keep whisking the other ingredients in so that it stays nice and smooth. Because of the high heat, it will be constantly bubbling, this is why you have to keep whisking, so it doesn’t scorch or burn.[p]Next step, remember that bowl of crud/liquid you saved from the pan? Once the wine has been mixed in, and reduced about ¼ to 1/3, add in this liquid. This is the true key to the gravy, it imparts so much great flavor. One year, I had the bowl of crud in my sink, and while I was doing other stuff, some do-gooder (my sister in law I think, although no one ever fessed up) threw it down the sink thinking they had done me a favor. I almost killed somebody. [p]Now that you’ve mixed in the crud, remember that stock you’ve been cooking all day? Start ladling that into the pan, one ladle at a time, continuing to whisk it in. Keep the heat on, bring it all to a boil. Keep adding stock till you have it where you want it.[p]THE BIG FINISH[p]First, take the neck, giblets, heart and liver from the stock pot. Remove the meat from the neck (you’ll be amazed how much meat there is). Chop it all up (meat, giblets, heart and liver) very finely and add it to the gravy (its ok to feed a little of this to the dog(s), they love it). [p]Second, in a small bowl, mix some of the stock with some flour to create a thickening agent. By doing this in a separate bowl, you avoid the problem of adding flour directly to the gravy with the intention of thickening it but in reality, you’ll be creating lumps. If the gravy is too thin for your tastes, you can stir in some of this thickening agent till you get the gravy you want. Too thick? Simply add some more stock. [p]Finish up your gravy by adding some salt and pepper to taste (or as my mom would suggest, some worscteshire sauce). Final note, this gravy will not look like the creamy stuff from a jar, nor is it intended to, but I’ll bet it’s the best you ever had.[p]THE END[p]Ok, that’s how I do it. You are now serving a beautiful, moist, delicious turkey, with the best gravy you ever made. If not, don’t blame me, You obviously screwed up (little grinning thingy here). Seriously, I hope that whatever method you try, it comes out great and you have a fantastic thanksgiving.[p]max

  • J AppledogJ Appledog Posts: 1,046
    May I come to your house, mad max beyond eggdome? Julie

  • J Appledog,
    anytime you're in northern virginia. ..you are more than welcome. . .including this thursday. ..

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