Some people tell fish tales. Other people, well they tell tall tales. Me, I'm ready to talk turkey tales. After all, Thanksgiving is right around the corner and turkey talk is welcome conversation this time of year.
So how do you prepare the perfect turkey on Thanksgiving Day? What is the secret that transforms a dry, boring bird into a delectable delight to be enjoyed and celebrated by all?
From what I can tell, the secret is in the brining. Brining adds moisture and flavor to turkey, which is a must for preparing the perfect bird. Too much brining results in a dry, tough and salty turkey so be careful. Only brine for one hour per pound of turkey.
For the best results, use a fully thawed all-natural turkey without additives. Get a large container for brining—a five-gallon bucket will work and clear space in your fridge so that you can keep your turkey chilled. After cleaning and trimming your turkey, rinse it well. Next prepare your brine by combining one gallon of water with 1 cup of coarse salt. After the salt dissolves, place your turkey in the container. Add seasonings and spices to the brine. You can use herbs, garlic, lemons, onions, bay leaves, brown sugar, a bottle of dry Riesling, etc.
Make sure and completely cover the turkey with brine. Place your turkey in the fridge for one hour per pound of turkey. When the time is up, remove and rinse your brined turkey thoroughly.
Now that brining is complete, you have three choices on how to cook the turkey—roast, smoke or deep-fry your turkey. It's really up to you and depends upon what tools you have at your disposal, and the tastes of your guests. Remember, though, that if your turkey is over 15 pounds, it's best to roast. Otherwise, you might try smoking your turkey. If your turkey weighs in at 12 pounds or under, deep-frying is a yummy alternative. Just be careful. Many a turkey day has been ruined over a deep frying nightmare.
Ok, enough turkey talk. I'm getting hungry. I'll leave you with a few fun facts about Thanksgiving Day that are sure to make you smile, just like your guests when they bite into your perfect bird on Thanksgiving Day!
10 Fun Facts About Thanksgiving
1. Commercially raised turkeys cannot fly.
2. Turkeys have heart attacks. The United States Air Force was doing test runs and breaking the sound barrier. Nearby turkeys dropped dead with heart attacks.
3. In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations.
4. Each year, the average American eats somewhere between 16 - 18 pounds of turkey.
5. Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the United States.
6. Only male turkeys gobble while hens make clicking sounds.
7. Fully grown turkeys have 3,500 feathers.
8. Mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, popcorn, milk, corn on the cob, and cranberries were not foods present on the first Thanksgiving.
9. The pilgrims didn't use forks; they ate with spoons, knives, and their fingers.
10. Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey and two dressed turkeys to the President. The President does not eat the live turkey. He "pardons" it and allows it to live out its days on a historical farm.