Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thanksgiving @ Home

I gotta have something to drink while I cook all day long, right?   

Well, I didn't actually cook all day long, but it was a long process.

See, I didn't want to cook a whole bird for a party of 6 and I also didn't want to roast a turkey [in the oven] again.  So, I decided to hack apart a turkey for a "roast" of different sorts.

I removed the entire skin from the breast in one piece and I butchered the bird into breast halves...

...drumsticks, thighs and wings (not shown).  But what I really wanted for my feast were...

...the breasts [Insert joke here].  I made a simple dry rub of smoked paprika, salt and pepper.


I stacked the breasts over each other and used the skin that I had set aside to wrap around the "roast."  I used butchers twine to keep the breast taut [insert joke here] and then popped the thing in the fridge to allow the spice mixture to flavor the meat.

For the hour or so that the "roast" was marinating, I soaked some hickory wood chips in water.  See where this is going now? 

The grill - to smoke the "roast" of course!  I don't have a charcoal grill to drop the wood chips directly over the briquets, so I made a pouch (with vents) using aluminum foil and then lit the flame directly under it to allow it to slowly smolder.

Meanwhile, the burner on the other side, directly below the turkey, remained off.  I wanted it to cook slowly and allow the smoke trapped inside the closed grill lid to impart as much flavor as possible. 

The whole cooking time was right around 1 hour.  I flipped the turkey one time over indirect heat and then placed it directly over the ignited burner to finish it off.  I wanted to crisp up the skin as much as possible.  Mission accomplished!

I allowed it to rest for a good half an hour before I removed the twine and sliced into it.

What's Thanksgiving without stuffing/dressing?  I made a Dressing with Cornbread, Spicy Sausage, Apples, Walnuts and Sage.

I also made Creamy Red-Skinned Potatoes using my potato ricer. 

I decided to make a corn dish as well.  I made this dish using a recipe off of Bobby Flay's cookbook.  It had Fresh Corn, Roasted Poblanos, Crema Mexicana, Lime Juice, Cotija Cheese,...among other things.  I loved the spiciness of this side dish,

I made a mango, bell pepper, shallot, serrano chile and pepita relish to go with the turkey.  I also made a giblet gravy that I forgot to take a picture of - for those that wanted to keep the feast on the more traditional side.

My little brother made his customary Sweet Potato Pie with added Pineapple, Pecans & Shredded Coconut.  He finished it with Toasted Marshmallows over the top.  He also contributed Sauteed Green Beans, Pumpkin Pie, Ambrosia and Apple Pie.  Lilly surprised us with tasty Roasted Mushroom Caps Stuffed with Couscous and lastly, I brought more garlic knots from work.  Sadly, I didn't photograph everything I wanted to.  I was pressed for time and people were ready to eat.  Sorry.

 All in all, it was a great meal.  My turkey experiment, for the most part, was a success.  I would have liked more smokiness and moisture, so next time I might brine the meat first and up the amount of chips I use.  You live and you learn.  Either way, I'm very thankful for everyone that contributed or was present at this year's gathering.  See ya'll on Christmas!  


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