Did you know that there are over 35 ways to prepare and bake a turkey? Did you there are over 650 related recipes? I did not know. Rather I had no clue that to bake a turkey was such a feat requiring super strength, dexterity, skill and tones of patience. If I had known this from before, my mother’s request for me to prepare the Turkey and Ribs for Christmas lunch would have yielded a negative response. (Yeah right, like I could say no to my mother!) It would have resulted in me ordering the stuff before and laying it out nice and neat as if I had prepared it. Did you know that HiLo will prepare a turkey for you once you ask? Who knew!.
BTW, in case you haven’t caught on as yet, I am no cook/chef/wiz in the kitchen. When I tell people that my skill is ordering food, they doubt me. Give me a list of people and I can precisely determine the amount of food you will need from any particular restaurant. Chinese food restaurants are very easy for me. I don’t think it’s a gift but it just developed overtime. I of course ignore those “special needs” idiots who need “leg and thigh only” or “peas must not touch the meat”. They need to be delivered from their neuroses.
Anyway, I digress. I decided that I would bake the turkey myself and of course, being the great chef that I am, I decided to defrost the turkey on Christmas Eve day. I took the turkey out of the fridge around 8am that morning and just left it in a bucket filled with water in the sink while I ran errands and sourced the ribs for Christmas Day.
I didn’t fully understand, well comprehend that a turkey must be fully defrosted before baking otherwise all kinds of health concerns can arise and sundry baking drama. I read all of this on the internet over the days leading up to the baking moment and I just couldn’t understand why anyone would go through so much trouble for a stinking turkey when to cook/bake a chicken one does not go through all this drama.
Anyway, around 4pm, I settled down in front of the computer to decide on a final recipe for this turkey. The day before, a guy had told me that I needed to brine the turkey for like 12 hours and then stuff seasoning under the skin and everything would be ok. I had no idea what “brining” was nor was I leaving a turkey out in any kind of solution for 12 hours to achieve the moisture and taste he described.
Anyway, I settled on the recipe of an Australian Chef who simply took a big stick of butter (garlic I think) and mixed in some herbs and spices (parsley, rosemary, thyme yadda yadda yadda) into the butter and them he proceeded to put this mixture under the skin of the bird and viola, he was done. I liked it! It seemed simple enough and I would have no problem with the seasoning as I had loads of it at home. What I did not have was the type of butter he recommended. I assumed Blue Band and Flora Margarine spread would not do. So off I ran to True Value to get this special butter.
While at True Value, I kept searching for the special butter and kept getting upset as I realised that I might have to drive to Hi-Lo Alyce Glen for greater butter variety. As I was about to leave, I saw a friend named Kurt and I told him of my butter woes. He told me that I was creating work for myself. We walked me over to a section of the grocery where alot of Chinese products were and he handed me a bottle of “Chinese Chicken Marinade” and told me to bathe the turkey in that and placed it in an oven bag and all would be fine.
I was a tad confused. I asked innocently, “Umm why would I put chicken marinade on a turkey?” He stared at me as if I had donkey ears coming out of my head. Turkey is Chicken boy and it is just a sauce! I didn’t question his logic. I took the bottle of marinade and also picked up some oven bags and headed home.
I stared at the turkey for awhile when I got home.
This bugger was big! There were still a few parts of it that were cold and slightly frozen, so I knew I had at least an hour or more before I placed it in the oven. And so I began to work! I got out my seasoning and placed it under the skin of the turkey (Oh I used some lime juice before as brine solution but I think the only effect it had was…well none). I then placed the turkey in a big bowl I had (that was too small for it but it had to work) and began to pour the chicken marinade on it.
After about two or six coats of the marinade on the turkey, I covered it down for 45 minutes to let the marinade soak in. I came back to the turkey a couple times within that 45 minutes just to baste it over and over so that all the juices stayed it.
At 7:25pm, I decided it was time to place the turkey in the oven. I had set the oven a few minutes before to 425 so that it would be ready for the bird. I placed it in a tray and then proceeded to waits for the 3 hours it was estimated on the Butterball label that it would take to bake.
Somewhere in my mind and mixed up in all the info I had devoured, that oven setting of 425 made sense. It was only 40 minutes later when I decided to check the Butterball directions that I saw the setting was actually to be 325! I ran quickly to the oven and changed it. I prayed that the turkey suffered no damage.
Being in the oven bag I realised that I could not keep basting the turkey like I had read so I trusted that this bag would seal in the juices and provide a succulent bird.
At 11:15, I jumped up from in front of my computer and ran to the kitchen as I realised that the bird had been baking beyond the required time. I am ashamed to say that Angry Birds Friends Tournament on Facebook was the reason I lost track of time.
I took it out and well here is the result below:
I got scared immediately. The damn thing was burnt and it didn’t look brown and tasty like the one the Australian chef has taken out of his oven. It looked sick! I didn’t cut it or taste it that night as I feared that I might just chug the entire thing in the dustbin and order KFC chicken the next day! Thank goodness I remembered that Christmas Day is the ONLY day that KFC is closed in Trinidad. So I covered that bugger down and prayed for the best. The Ribs fared much better and I must say everyone was pleased the next day except me.
On cutting the turkey on Christmas Day I discovered that the top part of the breast area was rather dry. The other parts of the turkey were rather moist and tasty but my OCD only concentrated on the dry portion. I was disappointed.
Everything went off well on Christmas Day and I was told by everyone that they will look forward to another succulent bird for Christmas 2013.
I nodded in agreement as I knew that someone will be baking that damn thing for me next time. No headache again.
How was your Christmas?
P.S. I was “Detour” T-shirtless this Christmas. Finally, the Gods have heard my cry!!