Food, Glorious Food

I can’t believe we haven’t started a food thread yet, so here it is.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve finally accepted that women never really faint, children are the only ones who blush, and there’s no such thing as a moist turkey. Last year I just Butterballed it, but since those are Sharia birds, I’ve decided to go with Alton Brown’s recipe on a Real American turkey.

I’m also going to a Grey Cup party this weekend, and the host wrote to say that beaver tails were on the menu. When I asked how he was going to get fresh beaver, he sent me to a website that showed children covering themselves with excrement and eating it:

I realize that Canadians have strange customs, but this is far worse that Thanksgiving in October or a Boxing Day.

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109 replies
  1. 1
    shortstop says:

    Blinky villains are getting shortchanged in this thread. AGAIN.

  2. 2

    BeaverTails (Queues de Castor) – delicious pastries formed like a beaver’s tail for those searching for a great sugar rush like at Winterlude on the Rideau Canal, Ottawa

    Is that like the Quebecois version of Engrish, or are they being deliberately hilarious?

  3. 3
    Yutsano says:

    @Cris (without an H): Could be both.

    And mistermix single-handedly starts a war with our neighbours to the North. Which I’m fine with. Invade and occupy Seattle PLEASE. And don’t give it back no matter what the UN says.

  4. 4
    Comrade Mary says:

    Here’s the great Canadian turkey recipe (guaranteed excrement-free, because we have meat inspection standards up here, you know):

    1. Fuck brining. It’s a waste of time and water.
    2. Fuck basting. It’s fine for colour but does nothing for flavour.
    3. Rub a mixture of butter/schmaltz and appropriate herbs all over the turkey. Then slash the legs and push the same mixture into the slashes.
    4. Make a nice stuffing, and slip an inch thick layer of it in between breast skin and breast meat. This will impart flavour to the breast, shield it from direct heat so it cooks at the same rate as the legs, and will yield moist, tasty white meat and chunks o’ skin with stuffing attached.
    5. Soak some cheesecloth in butter or schmaltz and cover the turkey for the first n-1 hours of cooking.

  5. 5
    Tom Levenson says:

    heritage breed turkey here. We’re going ambitious this year: we plan to smoke it in the Weber for about an hour, (I just got my charcoal racks to do the indirect thing with more … useless metal bits?), then roast with a sausage, cornbread and pimento pepper dressing. We may roast/steam it, in fact, with an orange juice, red wine, and lapsang souchong tea broth in the closed turkey cooker for the first hour, before browning the beast for the last 60-90 min.

    We’ve done all but the smoking before. I’m curious as to how it will go. (Me mum used to do the smoke thing all the way to done, hours upon hours. I lack her patience and her skill.)

    I’ll reveal results if not humiliated….

  6. 6
    Violet says:

    I’m making cranberry jelly and pumpkin pies from scratch. Old family recipes. Can’t have Thanksgiving without them.

  7. 7
    BGinCHI says:

    Tom, I love you dude, but if this doesn’t get made fun of, I’m cancelling my B-J subscription:

    We may roast/steam it, in fact, with an orange juice, red wine, and lapsang souchong tea broth in the closed turkey cooker for the first hour, before browning the beast for the last 60-90 min.

    Or, in other words, it sounds great, and I’d love to try it, but just don’t tell people.

  8. 8

    @Yutsano: And mistermix single-handedly starts a war with our neighbours to the North

    Surrender her pronto, or we’ll level Toronto.

  9. 9
    chopper says:

    moist turkey is easy. brine + slow cook. easier if you part it out, tho it doesn’t have that ‘big ass turkey on the plate’ look. tastes way better tho.

  10. 10
    Yutsano says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    5. Soak some cheesecloth in butter or schmaltz and cover the turkey for the first n-1 hours of cooking.

    Adjusted. The schmaltz is what you make gravy out of. Mmm…gravy.

    Love the cheesecloth trick though.

  11. 11
    xjmueller says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    CM, Brining works. I agree with you on the rest, and really like the stuffing over the breast – turkey skin and stuffing FTW. The schmaltz thing? It may be a bit hard to find. Bacon grease maybe?

  12. 12
    Hawise says:

    Do not diss the Beavertails. Every culture has some form of deep-fat fried bread- everyone and they are all delicious. Making them readily available to hungry people engaged in winter activities is one of those nice things that Canadians are wont to do.

    Mix butter, garlic and an herb mix of sage, parsley and lemon zest and slather it all over the turkey between the skin and the meat. Place the bird on a raised rack in the roasting pan and fill the bottom with ginger ale. Stuff the cavity with sliced lemons, pears and apples. Roast with a lid for the first 3/4 of its time, lift the lid, baste with the reduced ginger ale/butter/meat juice mix and finish for the browning. Enjoy with all the sides you can think of and a desert of chocolate topped deep-fried bread.

  13. 13
    pragmatism says:

    Real ‘muricans deep fry. It’s faster, dangerous and provides a great opportunity to drink and complain while one is monitoring the oil temp. This years topics are: hippies and how newt isn’t that bad after all.

  14. 14
    Martin says:

    Christ, moist turkey is fucking easy, if you’re not lazy.

    1) Brine your turkey. Give it a full day in the brine. Make sure you rinse it off excessively before cooking or it’ll be salty as John Boehner’s tears. I use 1 gal veg stock, 1 gal water, 1 cup kosher salt, about 1/2 cup sugar (or apple juice, etc. – get a touch of sweetness in there)

    2) Here you get a choice, depending on equipment:

    a) If you have a grill/rotisserie that can handle it (Weber or any more upscale outdoor cooking gear) then lance that fucker up and give it a spin at 275. You can’t stuff it if you spin it, so put a nice drip pan underneath and use that for gravy and stuffing flavoring. You won’t get a lot, because the spinning turkey will constantly recapture the drippings.
    b) If you cook in the oven, put the bird in the oven normally at 400 until the skin in browned. Take the turkey out and flip it over, breast side down. Reduce heat to the recommended temp and cook until it’s done. The bottom will brown as well and all of the juices in the turkey will settle from the dark meat down into the breast meat.

    That’s it. Brine and spin or cook breast side down. Err on the side of slightly lower temp in the oven and use a meat thermometer to tell if its done. Low and slow is always better for roasting, but you don’t want to drop it down to prime rib territory because poultry needs a higher internal temp, so keep it up in the 300 range.

    To make up for drippings and to make gravy easy, go to the butcher and get about a half dozen or so wings ahead of time. Roast them in a roasting pan on a rack. You want to get as much liquid/fat out of them as you can. Strain off the fat and blend it with flour until you can roll it into balls. You can also make a light roux here if you want, but you’re after something semi-solid when you’re done. Freeze them.

    Take the strained liquid and use some with your stuffing, or reduce it down a bit, season it, and then drop in the balls of fat/flour one at a time, let them thicken up the gravy, and repeat until it’s the consistency you want. The fat binds with the flour and disperses it in the gravy so it doesn’t clump up, and the balls make it easy to add and control the consistency, plus you can do that step days ahead of time.

  15. 15
    leinie says:

    Bacon. You put slices of bacon on the breast for the first part of the roasting. When the bacon is done, you remove it, and then use it with the green beans. If you can keep people from snacking on it.

    You get a moist, flavorful breast.

    Although that stuffing trick sounds interesting…..

  16. 16
    Paul in KY says:

    I just have to bring a bunch of rolls & some wine. I loves the wimmens in my family, they are the backbone of Thanksgiving.

  17. 17

    Good move on brine for the bird. I did it last year. The only thing I noticed is the brine seems to make the meat look pinkish about an 1/8th inch below the surface. When I cut into it I almost panicked thinking it was uncooked. Brine can also be a little too salty. All in all, it came out pretty good.

    I quit doing Turkey for Christmas tough. Prime Rib every year now. Few people prefer Turkey over good beef.

  18. 18
    Comrade Mary says:

    @xjmueller: Brining is better than not-brining and no stuffing under the skin, but it’s a lot of effort to add flavour and moisture. If you add fat and flavour under the skin and via cheesecloth, and shield that parts that get dry, you get brining level quality — even higher, I think — for much less effort.

    If you don’t have schmaltz, you can make it from the turkey itself. Just pull out any gobbets of fat and slowly render over gentle heat. Or just use butter, duck fat, bacon fat, olive or walnut oil, or any tasty fat you like.

    I often just stick some raw bacon strips and thinly slice mushrooms (plus salt, pepper and herbs) under the breast skin of a roasting chicken.

    And the best trick I’ve seen for most, juicy steak: salt the living hell out of it. A similar approach for slow-roasted eye of round that tastes like sirloin is also amazing.

  19. 19
    jafg says:

    The funny part is that mister All Cain All the Time mix has expresses so much ignorance I can’t tell if he is kidding or being serious with this post.

  20. 20
    Joel says:

    two days in urgent care with viral gastroenteritis. going out for dinner this year.

  21. 21
    Brachiator says:

    there’s no such thing as a moist turkey.

    You’re doing it wrong then. Some good brining recipes, and here is one from Lifehacker.

    We’ve previously posted the “why” of brining your Thanksgiving turkey, with delicious scientific evidence. Looking for the “how”? Serious Eats offers up food science savant Alton Brown’s brining recipe. Slashfood has also posted a choose your own spices brine mix, and L.A. Times food writer Russ Parsons previously shared a dry turkey brining technique that he claims gives the final result a less “sponge-y” texture than traditional salt solutions. Feel free to drop your own brine mixture in the comments, of course.

    I’ve seen moist turkey. I’ve tasted moist turkey. The baby Jebus weeps if the turkey is dry.

  22. 22
    xjmueller says:

    @Comrade Mary: I hadn’t thought about rendering the schmaltz myself. there’s plenty of fat on a bird to allow that. I also like the chicken idea.

  23. 23
    Amir Khalid says:

    Why can’t you just drool over the turkey recipes like everyone else?

  24. 24

    mmmm…fresh beaver

    …and villains always blink their eyes, woo

    2 for the price of 1 today folks

  25. 25
    shortstop says:

    I love the cooking threads when the figurative dick-waving gets really flagrant. Aspersions on other people’s intelligence, resourcefulness and sense of industry? Classic.

  26. 26
    Arclite says:

    I’m a vegetarian now, but back in the day before I was one, I used to eat grans’ turkey on TG. She cooked it 4 hours in the oven in a plastic bag, and it came out pretty moist.

  27. 27
    Joel says:

    @Brachiator: Cook’s Illustrated has put forward about 4-5 great ways to make turkey over the past few years: brining (obviously), barding, breaking down the turkey before cooking, etc.

  28. 28
    donnah says:

    I’ve begun my cooking today, too. I make the Southern version of green beans where you snap fresh beans and put them in a pot, fry bacon and cut it into bits, saute chopped onion in the bacon grease and then dump it all over the beans. Add salt and pepper, stir and cook until the beans are soft and delicious. It pretty much negates the healthy potential of the green beans, but as my mom says, “These beans taste like heaven, because I’ve cooked the hell out of them.”

    I also cooked up my own cranberry sauce with diced apples and cinnamon and am heading back into the kitchen to make a pumpkin marbled cheesecake. Tomorrow is the turkey, yeast bread, and mashed potatoes. Yum Yum!

  29. 29
    Gin & Tonic says:

    I drink wine all day while my mother-in-law roasts the turkey. By the time she serves it, I don’t give a shit how non-moist it is. And it’s all about the side dishes, anyway.

  30. 30
    evap says:

    If you want moist turkey, brining is the way to go. However, this makes the pan drippings too salty for gravy, and I care more about gravy than moist turkey. Just throw the damn thing into a 325 oven and take it out when it’s done. Easy and tasty.

  31. 31
    Yutsano says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    And it’s all about the side dishes, anyway

    Stuffing. At the end of the day, savory bread pudding roasted inside the bird is what matters. And the skin.

  32. 32
    Joel says:

    @shortstop: The only aspersions being cast, as far as I can tell, are coming from your corner.

  33. 33
    Brachiator says:

    As I’ve gotten older, I’ve finally accepted that women never really faint.

    Oh, yeah, another fallacy busted (quite charming wedding proposal).

  34. 34
    El Cid says:


    there’s no such thing as a moist turkey

    I have no idea why so many people are condemned to only eat overcooked turkey.

    A simply, ordinarily cooked turkey not overdone is bursting with flavor and juices, and you don’t have to brine or do any of it.

  35. 35
    beergoggles says:

    You can get a moist turkey if u debone the bird, remove the skin, then roll the bird up with the white meat towards the center. Then cover it in thin slices of panchetta (or bacon), then use the turkey skin to cover over that. Then roast. It annoys me that these cooking shows try to cater to the lowest common neanderthal with an oven and clogs the interwebs with bad recipes.

  36. 36
    Larryb says:

    Thankfully, my son has demanded control of the turkey this year. I’m signed up for braised leeks (Julia!) and a killer pecan-dried cherry tart.

  37. 37
    ditchdigger says:

    Go Lions (CFL Version)!

  38. 38
    Comrade Mary says:

    @beergoggles: We have now officially started the topology part of the dick waving.

  39. 39
    Brachiator says:


    Cook’s Illustrated has put forward about 4-5 great ways to make turkey over the past few years: brining (obviously), barding, breaking down the turkey before cooking, etc.

    There are also iPhone, iPad, Android apps with all kinds of recipe ideas. Epicurious, All Recipes among them.

    And in Southern California and maybe elsewhere radio foodie Melinda Lee does a no nonsense, very helpful Thanksgiving hotline show on the day.

    Butterball even has a Turkey hotline:

    No question is too tough for these turkey talkers, and they are ready and excited to tackle any challenge you throw at them. Give them a call at 1-800-BUTTERBALL or email them at throughout November and December.

    No matter how you do it, everybody should have a good Thanksgiving.

    I also like that Union Rescue Mission and others are also doing what they can to help feed the hungry.

    And I bow my head in memory of Father Maurice Chase, who died recently.

    Maurice Chase dies at 92; ‘Father Dollar Bill’ gave cash to poor
    Father Maurice Chase was known for handing out dollar bills on Los Angeles’ skid row, caring more about the gift of human love than about what his beneficiaries did with the money.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  40. 40
    bemused says:

    With all the other food prep to do, I’ve never been tempted to take the time to brine the turkey. I do mix up olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper to spread under the skin and the turkey has always turned out moist enough for our family. Putting stuffing under the skin sounds like a good idea which I’ll do for the Christmas turkey.

  41. 41
    shortstop says:

    @Comrade Mary: Just let it happen, cap’n. It’s a process we have to go through; we know the drill by now.

  42. 42
    shortstop says:

    @Larryb: I wouldn’t mind seeing that tart recipe, pal, iffen you’re inclined to share.

  43. 43
    Donut says:

    I’m going fairly simple: stuff the cavity with vadalia onions, celery, carrots, whole garlic cloves, one lemon and some fresh sage. Rub the outside with more dry herbs, salt, pepper, lemon pepper. Will also be using cheesecloth soaked in bacon fat at the start of the roasting. Yum.

  44. 44
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Part out turkey, and braise, for something different. Julia Child’s recipe for braised goose works well.

    I smoke 14-15 pound turkeys all year on the Weber. Coals on one side, with a chunk or two of hardwood, bird on the other. Since fires burn down as well as up, I put briquettes down first, then the hardwood pieces, then chimney-started coals on top. Maybe add a handful of unlit coals near the end.

    Turn bird end for end, every hour, so each side gets a turn near the fire, and use a thermometer.

    I am going to shovel a path (11″ of snow last night) out to the grill in just a bit. Grilling through the winter is feasible, the grill is just sheet metal anyways, so insulation’s a non-factor, and the 50-degree difference in amb1ent air temperature doesn’t add that much time to a covered smoke or grill session.

  45. 45
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I love the cooking threads when the figurative dick-waving gets really flagrant.

    Hey, those dicks don’t wave themselves, buster.

  46. 46
    Donut says:

    @El Cid:

    Mostly agreed – honestly, no matter what kind of poultry, I prefer to rub spices and get some kind of aromatics into the bird’s cavity, but even that is not necessary to get a nice, moist and flavorful meat. Even if all you do is roast carefully at a reasonable fuggin’ temp with nothing but a little salt, you’re gonna get a very good result.

    Hard to do with a big bird like turkey, but I really like roasting chicken at really high temp, like 475 F, with the breast side down, for about 30 minutes or so for a four pounder (maybe a bit longer if the bird is bigger), then flip it over and finish with the lid off at 375 degrees until the bird is nice and golden brown. Stuff the cavity with aromatics, especially citrus, and you will get a damn tasty chicken out of that.

  47. 47
    shortstop says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Considered and discarded several would-be clever responses. I mention this only to go on record as having once exercised self-restraint.

  48. 48
    karen marie says:

    @Joel: I don’t know, I’m going to cast aspersions on people who bastardize cranberry sauce. People, listen up: cranberry sauce is a bag of cranberries, a cup of water and 1/2 to 1 cup sugar brought to a boil. There is no ginger, no apples and no cinnamon in cranberry sauce.

  49. 49
    David in NY says:

    Anybody try a dry-rub salting, in lieu of brining? I’ve seen a couple of recipes this year and might be tempted (although some say the rub should be applied 2-4 days in advance). Also, some versions say cook hot and fast (thought those tend to be the 3-4 day versions). And maybe it reduced the drippings for gravy. Any thoughts?

  50. 50
    karen marie says:

    No Thanksgiving dinner table is complete without creamed onions. They can be made a day ahead and reheated. In fact, they’re better if you do that.

    2 tablespoons butter
    1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons flour
    1 cup scalded milk (or 1/4 cup onion water and 3/4 cup cream)
    1 small onion studded with 3 or 4 whole cloves
    1 bay leaf
    One jar baby onions
    1/4 cup chopped parsley
    1/4 teaspoon paprika

    Melt butter over low heat. Add and blend flour over low heat for three to five minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool, then slowly stir in liquid.

    Add onion and bay leaf. Cook and stir with a wire whisk or wooden spoon until thickened and smooth. Place in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. You can strain the sauce if you want it super smooth. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg (although nutmeg is not strictly necessary).

    Add jar of onions (or go nuts and steam fresh baby onions), cook over medium heat for one minute. Add parsley and paprika. Voila!

    (I figure you all are clever enough to realize that if you make it a day ahead, you might want to wait till you’re reheating to add the fresh parsley.)

  51. 51
    El Cid says:

    @Donut: All that helps. Good stuffings (whether just vegetables or ‘stuffing’) can help with doneness b/c the moisture from onions & celery can turn to hot vapor to help cook the meat from the inside.

    With turkeys we usually cook it in a vented dutch oven and then lidless for the last bit. Or vice versa. Doesn’t really matter a great deal.

    I think a lot of people fail to let the bird sit & rest for 15 or 20 minutes after it finishes cooking.

  52. 52
    hamletta says:

    I’ve done Alton Brown’s recipe twice, and it was fantastic both times. The first time, we didn’t even bother making gravy.

  53. 53
    dobrojutro says:

    I shall be munching upon this..

    ..just like the Pilgrims ate.

  54. 54
    MikeJ says:

    @karen marie: .

    People, listen up: cranberry sauce is a bag of cranberries, a cup of water and 1/2 to 1 cup sugar brought to a boil. There is no ginger, no apples and no cinnamon in cranberry sauce.

    Substitute orange juice for some of that water.

  55. 55
    Libby's person says:

    @Tom Levenson:
    I finally managed to get hold of heritage birds this year; a Bronze and a Narragansett, both just over 6 pounds (we were among the last to get on the list). They look great – they look like actual birds (rather than beech balls). I can’t wait to try them!

    We’ve been told that the heritage breeds are more prone to drying out, so we should brine them and cook them a little more slowly than a standard bird. I’m going to use the citrus brine recipe that came with the birds – watered-down orange juice, an orange, lemon, and lime cut up, an onion, bay leaves, a peppercorns, garlic cloves and kosher salt.

  56. 56
    Donut says:

    @El Cid:

    Yeah, definitely agree a lot of people forget to let meats rest before serving. Honestly, I like to let turkeys or chickens rest for at least 30-45 minutes. It helps that my family has gone to a pot-luck style Thanksgiving, so no one has to struggle to get everything to come out and be ready to serve precisely at the same time.

    I have six years of working in restaurants under my belt, and still find that it is hard to pull off serving foods all at once in a home kitchen. I don’t really even bother trying at this point, not with three kids hanging around, plus the elders, not to mention siblings/in-laws…We are hosting so I have turkey duty, also making a roasted sweet potato/butternut squash/carrot side – and I’m gonna par-roast that early in the day, then finish it off while the bird is resting…I plan to watch my Packers beat Detroit for most of the day, the food is almost secondary!

  57. 57
    Donut says:

    @karen marie:

    That looks like a pretty tasty side – like the idea of the paprika and the nutmeg together- yum.

  58. 58
    El Cid says:

    @Donut: The blessing of letting a bird sit for half an hour etc is that it’s assembly time for the rest of the sides if needed. And anything needing reheating can get it in the microwave, like the mashed potatoes or mac & cheese or so forth.

  59. 59
    David in NY says:

    @El Cid: for those of us who make gravy from the pan drippings and scrapings, it gets done while the bird sits.

  60. 60
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I want goose, not turkey, and mincemeat pie. I say this every year and I still get turkey and pumpkin pie. My dad and I, our opinions should count for something, yes? Whatever happened to primogeniture? I’ll eat the damn turkey and pumpkin pie, but the Packers better win.

  61. 61
    Darkrose says:

    For two years in a row, my wife has gotten sick on Thanksgiving, so this year we’re going out. The Firehouse in Old Sac has a nice-looking Thanksgiving menu with plenty of non-turkey options since neither of us is that fond of turkey. I’m probably going to have the lamb. Mmmm…dead baby sheep…

  62. 62
    Mnemosyne says:

    I am jealous of all of you because we’re having dinner at my sister-in-law’s and she is a TERRIBLE cook. I put my foot down this year and insisted that Potato Buds out of the box are not “mashed potatoes” and I should at a minimum be allowed to bring the frozen ones made by Alexia. I am going to make tiny pumpkin pies in a muffin tin, but only because G accidentally bought PP filling instead of 100% pumpkin.


    The obligatory turkey fryer fire PSA. Defrost the goddamned turkey before you put it the fryer, people!

  63. 63
    shortstop says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Have you and your dad offered to cook?

  64. 64
    karen marie says:

    @MikeJ: No! No! A thousand times no!

  65. 65
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Amir Khalid: Because s/he is an asshole.

  66. 66
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ shortstop: Yes. Grandma’s house, Grandma’s rules. Also too, no one could match her pies, so if she choses something other than mincemeat – like she has for nearly 30 years, one lives with it. Actually, one of our family traditions is that Dad and I bitch about the lack of goose and mincemeat pie. It wouldn’t really be Thanksgiving without it. Don’t mock my family rituals.

  67. 67
    shortstop says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Ah, a dictatorship situation in which complaining is part of the meal foreplay or afterglow. Why didn’t you say so?

  68. 68
    fubar says:

    Beavertails? Interesting, most Grey Cup parties I’ve known use beer as the appy/main course/dessert. You must be mingling with a refined crowd. Go Bombers!

  69. 69
    Soonergrunt says:

    We are eating at my sister’s place this year. Since I’m pretty useless at the Thanksgiving food, I’m making breakfast for those who want it tomorrow morning, and leading the clean up. My brother in law is totally disabled from an accident when he was in the Army, so I will run that part of the show.
    It’s actually pretty fun to get the kids to help clean up and wash the dishes. We make a party out of it with songs and games and such. The kids range from 10 to 17, so everybody can help with something, and it lets my wife and sisters sit down with another glass of wine or two after the meal.

  70. 70
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @shortstop: I love the cooking threads when the figurative dick-waving gets really flagrant. Aspersions on other people’s intelligence, resourcefulness and sense of industry? Classic.

    I’ve been watching for it – it’s a Thanksgiving tradition ’round these parts.

    @Arclite: Vegetarian here too, I like to make Bryanna Clark Grogan’s seitan turkey roast (recipe now offline but duplicated here and there about e.g. here. A fair amount of work, but that’s what thanksgiving turkey is all about.

  71. 71
    negative 1 says:

    My old boss gave me the trick if you believe in oven bags (and I do because it makes good turkey really easy) of stuffing an orange in the neck hole just under the skin to increase the moisture as it bakes. It works pretty well.
    And the republican primary debates gave me the trick of inviting illegals to my house to look at the turkey as I deny it to them and laugh, because they’re not real ‘murcans. Happy holidays, all.

  72. 72
    negative 1 says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist: Ironically given my advise above I am a veg too. I like to make mushroom pot pie that serves all, but gives you the option of making veggie gravy (mushroom stock/beefy onion soup, reduced with a little cooking sherry and garlic and tons of flour to thicken) to pour over the rest of everything. The beefy onion soup is actually vegetarian (scary I know) and not healthy but hey it’s a holiday.

  73. 73
    Amir Khalid says:

    I clicked on the link, and realized that I actually remember Beavertails: back in the 1990s, someone tried to launch them in Malaysia, with a booth at a big shopping mall here in Kuala Lumpur. Tried’em a couple of times: nothing special. The booth closed after a few months.

  74. 74
    gene108 says:

    I realize that Canadians have strange customs

    Strangest is thinking they have better donuts than Krispy Kreme.

    As someone, who grew up in North Carolina, I find this attitude repulsive and I think it s a good basis to declare war on Canada (again) to teach them what a doughnuts are actually Southern food, like buttermilk biscuits, grits and sweet iced tea.

    Also, too I don’t see the British bailing them out this time.

  75. 75
    pragmatism says:

    @Mnemosyne: Real ‘muricans scoff at grease fires. But in all seriousness, fully defrosting is key. I used to set up Alton brown’s ladder rig to lower the turkey. Works well but not portable and we do thanksgiving at the in laws. Temperature control when you’re lowering prevents oil intrusion. I lower the bird very slowly–process takes about 5 minutes and keeps the temp up. No brine this year. Rub on outside, in cavity under skin. Injection marinade of honey, creole seasoning and porter beer. Gonna be good. Also, too, the inlaws rave so much about the turkey each year so they obligated me to drop another for the neighbors. That means twice the boozin for me.

  76. 76
    ruemara says:

    @karen marie: LIAR! It’s a relish of cranberry and these damn oranges I nearly got a black eye from harvesting them off the tree.

    I’m smoking the bird for this year, along with my lb log of drunken tofu. I know that skin is everything, but I’ve never had a bad bird that I did on the grill and this year I finally scored a smoker. I am dying to get this bird cooked now.

  77. 77
    karen marie says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’m with you on the mincemeat pie. Got to have Hagen Daz vanilla ice cream to go with it too.

  78. 78
    aimai says:

    I had very good luck a few years ago with a dry salt rubbed turkey–no brine, yo rub it with salt and spices a couple of days in advance. It was incredibly moist and delicious. Google “Zuni salt rubbed Chicken” because it is a recipe from the Zuni cafe in San Francisco. Its a lot tidier than the brine thing.

    This year I’m making a prune and pignole stuffed pork loin, a “porchetta” spiced rolled turkey breast, yams in a lime/orange/ginger sauce, cranberry-fig-port sauce, small potatoes roasted with Turkish barbecue rub, collard greens in spicy vinegar, onions roasted in balsamic vinegar and thyme, a vegetarian side, brussle sprouts with bacon and garlic, and chestnut stuffing.

    My 12 year old has just invented an absolutely killer chocolate/pumpkin/coffee/cinnamon flourless torte. I may or may not get around to making any other desserts.


  79. 79
    ruemara says:

    @aimai: is your 12 year old free to stop by my house and make that?

  80. 80
    karen marie says:

    @ruemara: No, cranberry relish is an abomination. Pure cranberry sauce is the only acceptable accompaniment.

  81. 81
    ruemara says:

    @karen marie: it’s a throwdown, because that’s just too sweet cran jelly. IMHO.

  82. 82
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ karen marie: God help me, but I love the stuff out of the can.

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    shortstop says:

    I don’t even want to name the funky array of stuff going into my cranberry sauce at this very mo. Ho paura di karen marie.

    I’m actually making creamed onions as a cool retro side dish, though. No cloves. Thyme.

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    shortstop says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: We once had to carry a can on British Airways to some expat friends who wanted to recreate a childhood Thanksgiving while living in London. Rarely have I received such slobbering gratitude for a gift.

  85. 85
    beergoggles says:

    @Comrade Mary: Was it the pancetta that gave it away?

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    karen marie says:

    @ruemara: That’s why I use only 1/2 cup sugar instead of a full cup as the “official” recipe directs. And cranberry jelly is something else entirely. It comes out of a can. Blech.

    @shortstop: Thyme would be okay, just be careful not to put too much. You don’t really taste the cloves done the way I laid out, it’s very subtle, adds dimensionality.

  87. 87
    Svensker says:

    @karen marie:

    There is no ginger, no apples and no cinnamon in cranberry sauce.

    There are ginger, orange, apple and a bit of cardamom. It’s a chutney AND a floor wax!

    Last year we went to an American restaurant for US Thanksgiving but this year we’re having it at home. So I made my cranberry sauce/chutney and am planning on making LOTS of stuffing (lo-carb? hah!). The thing that’s interesting is it’s hard to get turkey around here. In Joisey turkey was what was always on sale, either the whole bird or various parts. In Canuckistan I found one whole bird a few weeks ago and horded that dude up in the freezer. Can’t wait for leftovers.

  88. 88
    shortstop says:

    @karen marie: Thyme and a bay leaf, although I like the idea of a little paprika. I use fresh and roast them in the oven before making the cream sauce. I like them roasted with a glaze, like aimai’s making, but this year I just felt like making creamed onions for some reason. Thinking about my long-gone grandma, I guess.

  89. 89
    PhoenixRising says:

    @David in NY:

    Anybody try a dry-rub salting, in lieu of brining? I’ve seen a couple of recipes this year and might be tempted (although some say the rub should be applied 2-4 days in advance). Also, some versions say cook hot and fast (thought those tend to be the 3-4 day versions).

    The dry-rub recipe Alton Brown has on his web site saved my marriage. We just couldn’t see eye-to-eye on the cooler full of ice water and salt thang.

    My wife does that rub, starts the bird wrapped in foil at 425 to sear it, downshifts to 300 and removes the foil at done minus 30 minutes for a good looking, perfectly flavored and moist whole bird.

    Roasting, like a ’68 El Camino, is way better low and slow.

  90. 90
    aimai says:

    I love a cranberry chutney. There’s a great indian spiced one for the microwave in Microwave Mogul. I usually make that but this year they wanted the Port-Fig one. You have to tart it up a bit with some ginger and some lemon or it is too sweet but its very good.

    I’m kicking myself because I didn’t get lots of regular kale and spinach and make creamed spinach. At the time I was planning the dinner it seemed too cloying, but the way I’ve ended up cooking everything most things have a kick or some vinegar to them and now I’m wishing for creamed something. YOu can cream collard greens, I believe, so I’m considering changing my recipe which involves shredding the collard greens and then quick frying them with garlic and bacon. Maybe I’ll stew them and then cream them? Any ideas if this would be good.

    In re my daughter’ s recipe she took a Payard flourless chocolate torte and didn’t have enough eggs so she substituted pumpkin for the eggs and then added tons of cocoa powder, espresso powder and its just sublime.


  91. 91
    KS in MA says:

    @karen marie: Right you are … though a couple of chunks of fresh orange in it aren’t bad!

  92. 92
    BDeevDad says:

    We’re making a Tofurkey, for the wife, everyone else eats the real stuff.

  93. 93
    Maude says:

    @karen marie:
    I love canned cranberry sauce.
    I have made the plain with berries. It was good, but I kinda missed the canned.

  94. 94
    karen marie says:

    @aimai: Key to non-cloying creamed spinach is plenty of garlic!

  95. 95
    Larryb says:


    I wouldn’t mind seeing that tart recipe

    Check this space later tonight. I’ll post it when I get home. Cheers.

  96. 96
    Larryb says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    God help me, but I love the stuff out of the can.

    Everybody loves Jell-O.

  97. 97
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ Larryb: I would like one then as well.

  98. 98
    PurpleGirl says:

    All these recipes sound so good. A friend’s sister is making the turkey (I don’t know how) and the dinner is being hosted by their Aunt. I’ve been invited to join the family and friends. (I had a good time with them 5 years ago.)

    Another friend (N) made a turducken one time for his birthday dinner (Christmas Eve baby). A lot, and I mean a lot, of work but it was very good. (There were no left-overs of the meat.) He’s not made it again since, and I told him that I’d make the trip to Florida if he would make one again.

  99. 99
    Mnemosyne says:

    @karen marie:

    I was once sent back out to the grocery store on Christmas Eve because some fool (not me, for once) had bought the whole berry cranberry sauce in a can and not the jellied cranberry sauce in a can.

    In my family, if it doesn’t come in slices, it’s not cranberry sauce.

  100. 100
    Michele C says:

    women never really faint, children are the only ones who blush ..

    But I have fainted (okay once, when I ran track in high school and hadn’t eaten enough) and I blush really regularly and I haven’t been a child in a couple of decades or so. Of course, I’m a redhead, so slightly pink is the color of my skin normally. :)

  101. 101
    Not Sure says:

    They have the most awesomest of sales on Boxing Day. I knew a Jewish sergeant first class back in the day (who kind of reminded me of a younger Jackie Mason) who told me that they all (meaning his people) go shopping on December 26th. I took that as a word of wisdom.

  102. 102
    shortstop says:

    Thanks, Larry.

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    jimbo123 says:

    OOOOOOOOKAY, now that you have revealed our national shame, to wit, our collective coprophilia, as a loyal Canuck I HAVE to kill you. You leave me no choice.

    Actually the tykes in the photos are not smearing their faces with their own feces. Rather they are consuming beaver tails slathered with chocolate sauce or, more likely, a chocolate-hazelnut confection called Nutella. Naturally they can’t cram enough of this stuff at once into their greedy little pie holes.

    Just don’t get me started on the epidemic of felching that has blighted Prince Edward Island since Anne of Green Gables was still in pigtails…

  104. 104

    “…and there’s no such thing as a moist turkey.”

    There is with a convection oven. 375 degrees for about two-thirds the usual cooking time and the cheapest supermarket frozen bird comes out like a masterpiece.

  105. 105
    Donut says:

    @Michele C:

    Google “lyrics Sweet Jane”

  106. 106
    Tehanu says:


    All this brining will do you no good if you roast at too high a temperature. 300 degrees MAX and if it means it takes longer, it’s worth it.

  107. 107
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    My daughter-in-law is from Oregon and has been married to my son five years last Monday,she has only been home once (christmas 2009). So she has de ided to pit on the whole spread this year;5kg turkey all th trimmings and de oratios . But it will be held friday night aus time (still 24 in US) so that Michael and the res of us ca really enjoy. We are NOT turkey lovers, so could be interesting,
    Wish al the balloon juicers a haPpy day and great long weekend

  108. 108
    LarryB says:

    @shortstop: As requested, Caramel-Walnut pie with dried cherries, a la Bon Apetit. I usually substitute pecans for the walnuts. Enjoy.

  109. 109
    Arclite says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist: Yeah, I make everything except the turkey: mashed garlic potatoes, cran sauce, sweet potatoes, vege stuffing, pumpkin pie, apple crisp. I usually make a vege lasagna as the main, but this year I will try a Field Roast Celebration Roast for the main dish.

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