Turkey Means You Can’t Cook

Let’s face it… you’ve screwed up cooking turkey more times than you can count. And if you’re just now getting around to thinking about how you’re going to prepare the bird that you have not bought for tomorrow’s feast, you’re screwed. The only thing left at the store are frozen 20+ pounders that might thaw by next year. Realistically, most people mess up cooking the large bird by over cooking. And they always err on the side of over cooking because of the very real fear of handing out a food borne illness to their guests. Nothin’ say luvin’ like runnin’ for the runnin’… This is part of the reason why Cajun fried turkey has become so popular.

You heat up a vat of peanut oil to around 375, dunk your smallish bird (seasoned or not) into the oil, and less than an hour later you have a succulent holiday treat. Of course, this assumes that you are not completely snockered while frying the bird and have not burned your house down or gotten yourself a trip to the hospital for third degree burns. Or you season the bird with a regular or dry brine, smear it with honey, and slow smoke the thing over fragrant wood for about 8 hours. Yummy and tasty. No? You’d rather oven roast the thing? A brown paper bag is not going to help. The bird is too big and you’re going to have to cook that thing until it is the consistency of a chamois cloth. Blah! Don’t try to grill it, either. You’ll waste so much time and energy checking on it that it will never really get done (although some parts will be scorched to kingdom come).

Let’s be objective about this. If you want a tasty bird, get a small one. And if you have a ravenous hoard, get several small ones. With a small bird (or bird portions), you can cook the bird the right amount of time and come up with something juicy and flavorful.  You can use just salt and pepper, inject it, marinate it, brine it, dry brine it, rub it, or baste it. Small bird=good because it will cook evenly. Just remember to take the stuff out of both cavaties, please.

FWIW, I know that we are heading toward a big bird festival on tomorrow. It’s unavoidable. But I have been in the mood for some tasty turkey. So I dry brined a small bird this weekend, bathed it in honey, and smoked it over mesquite on Sunday. We’ve been nibbling and picking at it since then. And so have the cats. Cats snore when stuffed with turkey.


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