Saturday, November 26, 2011

First Thanksgiving Do’s and Don’ts

Do brine the turkey for moist, flavorful meat.

Don’t depend on pop up timers or non-numerical thermometers which only indicates “done” or “not done”--they are worthless.  Use an oven safe, numbered one.  160 degrees throughout!

Do get a fresh bird (not frozen).

Don’t buy 10 lbs of potatoes for mashed potatoes when serving dinner for 4 adults.  Anyone want some?  We have extra.

Do use an electric knife for carving to get as much of the meat off of the carcass and to avoid carpel tunnel syndrome.  (Thanks Uncle Ed for ours!)

Don’t expect pre-made gravy to be free of chicken stock/base.  In trying to keep it simple, we bought gravy from the same butcher we got the turkey from.  Passable but disappointing.

Do employ initial hot temperature browning then reduced temperature cooking for primo outcome.

Don’t use 6-year-old pineapple juice you found in the back of the cabinet in your fancy cranberry sauce recipe.  While you will be fine, it will taste too acidic and you’ll blame yourself for days for “ruining” an otherwise perfect meal.

Do consult Alton Brown DVD for tips and assurance that helped first-timers like us cook an awesome turkey.

Don’t leave the giblet bag inside the turkey.  We ended up cooking ours inside the turkey INSIDE the plastic bag they came in.  The lesson:  if you don’t find it at first, look again--it’s in there.

Do get everyone in the family involved in the process.  Makes great memories and inspires appreciation of what it takes to make a Thanksgiving feast possible.

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