Sunday, November 20, 2011

Have you not heard?

Well uh bird bird bird. Bird is the the word.

I changed plans today and picked up the turkey. I thought I'd give a Fresh Market turkey a try this year. While the turkey looks great, smells great and will hopefully taste great, I am glad I got it today for two reasons. The first is a change in my pre-cooking method. I have brined birds and also skipped brining in favor of a kosher turkey (both fresh and frozen). Earlier today I remembered that last year I read about a dry rub combination of salt and sugar. You can also read about the method at the LA Times and probably a few other places as well. Takes a few days though and I would needed to start tonight to be ready for Thursday.

The second reason I'm glad I got the turkey today is that the giblets and neck were frozen solid. It took a little bit of work to get them out as well as some ice stuck to the ribs. So much for fresh. According to a Good Eats episode I saw awhile ago, fresh turkeys can be stored at temperatures below freezing. For the center of the turkey to be this solid, this turkey had to be frozen solid. I dodged a bullet here. I doubt the center would have completely thawed in the cold storage at the store by Wednesday and if I had first seen this ice at 9 AM Thursday morning, I would have freaked. Shame on you, Fresh Market. I think I'm going to call and complain tomorrow.

Back to more fun Thanksgiving stuff. Based on some of the discussion over at the Hunger Artist, I stuck to the ratios per 1000 grams of turkey - 14 grams of salt and 7 grams of sugar. The sticker on the turkey said 19.25 pounds. I weighed what I took out of the turkey: giblets, neck, some fat, plastic pop up timer, plastic thing holding the legs and some ice. This brought my weight down to 18 pounds or about 8200 grams. So I weighed out 115 grams (8.2x14) of salt. There was some discussion on fine salt versus kosher salt. I split the difference and used half kosher and half fine sea salt. Then I added 57 grams of sugar (8.2*7). Here's the bird washed and dried.

I covered it inside and out with the salt/sugar mixture.

This turkey wasn't going to fit in any bag I had, so I covered my new super awesome huge stainless steel bowl with plastic wrap. Put the turkey in the bowl and finish the see through mummification with a little more wrap. That should do it. 

If I have some time tomorrow, I might make something charcutepalooza-ish. Most of the Thanksgiving shopping is done. House is mostly clean. Very much on pace. Still in "piece of cake" mode.

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