Monday, July 25, 2011

turkey. a step by step guide.

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I've never made a turkey.  Does that surprise you?  If it does, you must be new here.  I mean, you're talking to the girl who only buys her chicken as it would look plucked fresh from the chicken breast bush.  You know, like this:

And, if you read that post, then you'll understand that I don't deal in animal.  Well, I do.  I just prefer to pretend that it's not.  No T-bones.  No whole chickens.  Heck, I've never made a whole lobster and really that's just a large bug, not a real animal.

BUT, when someone offers you a free turkey, well, you don't look a gift horse in the mouth, right?  Where does that expression come from?  What IS a gift horse?  And, quite frankly, I don't think you should be sticking your eyeball near any horse's chompers - gift or not.  But that's neither here nor there.  Free turkey.  On a budget.  Do the math.

That is how I found myself making a turkey for dinner.  On a day other than Thanksgiving.  (And just so my family has this perfectly straight, I will NOT be hosting Thanksgiving dinner.  Ever.)  I would like to share with you a little tutorial about cooking a turkey - so that you may learn the in's and out's of turkey-making without having to call your mom at work about 6 times total with questions such as "Ok.  How do you get the handcuffs off?"

Turkey-Making: A Tutorial.

You'll need:
one behemoth of a turkey.  I mean, what were they feeding this thing??
A sink.  Preferably a behemoth sink, to fit said behemoth turkey.
An oven.
A baking tray of some sort.
Water.
Various pincer-like instruments - such as tongs, ice pinchers, tweezers, pliers, forceps, what have you.
Gloves.  Optional.
Time to kill.  Lots and lots of time.  Because who has anything better to do than flip a stupid turkey and change it's bath water every half an hour?

Ahem.

Step 1.  Acquire a turkey.  If it's fresh, you can skip this whole tutorial.  Yea, you!  But if it's July and you're making turkey, most likely it will be of the deep freeze variety.  Yea, you.  (Shouldn't they create a sarcasm font already?  We all know we need one.)

Step 2.  Lift the solid, heavy boulder-like turkey into your sink.  Forget to put the plug in.  Create a lever system out of a stainless steel spatula using the side of the sink as the fulcrum, hoisting the turkey just high enough to poke the plug into place in the drain.

Step 3.  Fill the sink with cool/lukewarm water.  Heaven forbid it be warm.  Then the darn thing would actually defrost before you're wrinkled and decrepit.

Step 4.  Wait a half hour.  Use the same lever/fulcrum system to flip the turkey over.  Let the water out and refill the sink with cool/lukewarm - definitely NOT warm - water.  Like it would matter.  The darn thing is a 20 pound chunk of solid ice.  Think that water's staying warm for long?

Step 5.  Get distracted and forget about the turkey in the sink until you need a drink.  Think "Aw, crap."  At least it's only been about an hour and a half.  Flip, refill.  

Step 6.  Repeat.  Yes, even the forgetting part.  Apparently it's really important to soak this guy in a bath.  I believe the point is to make him feel nice and relaxed and comfortable.  You know, give him a false sense of security.

Step 7.  Get really impatient.  Poke the turkey a bunch.  Determine that it seems "squishy" enough.  Heft the turkey that weighs more than your first born out of the sink onto a baking tray.

Step 8.  Call your mom to determine what is the worst that could happen if the turkey is not, in fact, fully thawed before cooking.


Step 9.  Hang up and decide to proceed.

Step 10.  Cut open the turkey bag and try REALLY hard not to gag as all that yummy raw turkey-ness comes gushing out.  Delish.

Step 11.  Remove the bag.  Notice the handcuffs.  What the...?!?  Huh.  Pull on them.  Wiggle them.  Do your best to keep your hands away from the old man flesh of the anemic-looking bird.

Step 12.  Call your mom and ask her how to remove the handcuffs.  Or, more precisely, the legcuffs.

Step 13.  Dig into those handcuffs with all of your strength, pinching, pulling, gagging, wiggling, digging, gnawing and gnashing of teeth... until the handcuffs fly free with a force that sends the foul fowl scooting across the counter.  Thankfully, not onto the floor.

Step 14.  To put it delicately, uh, separate the legs.  Yep.  Just pull them apart.  Take a moment now to think about just how inappropriate this seems.  

Step 15.  Ok.  Proceed.

Step 16.  Get down on eye level and look - discreetly, you don't want to humiliate the poor thing - for what is referred to as "the bag of giblets" but which I refer to as, "blecccccharrrrrgggggulcccchhhhh - ack."  

Step 17.  It does not appear to be present.  Grab the pincer-like instrument of your choice and poke around just a bit.  Hm.  Seems rather hard on the inside there... maybe cold too... like ice?  Huh.

Step 18.  Call your mom and ask her if she's sure every turkey comes with a bag of "blaccccharrrrggggggulcccchhhack."  Ask her if there's more than one opening to a turkey.


Step 19.  Turn the turkey around.  Apparently there IS another opening.  You know, where the head used to be.  Oh, sheesh.

Step 20.  Oh.  There it is.

Step 21.  Use those tongs to grab that bag outta there.  Place it directly in the trash.  Then, for good measure, pile other bits of trash on top of it, hiding it completely.  Ah, that's better.

Step 23.  Get just a tiny bit weepy as you snip off the excess skin around the gapping neck wound.

Step 22.  Apparently, you have to bath the darn bird AGAIN, because once (for like a billion hours) wasn't enough.  So, dunk it in the sink.

Step 23.  And, you know, scrub it down.  Even the unmentionable areas.

Step 24.  Place it in the roasting pan.  

 Step 25.  Here's where you'll need those gloves.  Because apparently you're expected to massage this bad boy all over with salt and pepper and what have you.  Shudder.

Step 26.  Leave this for your husband to clean up.  You've dealt with enough already.


Step 27.  Mom says the trick to a moist turkey is high heat, shorter amount of time.  Heat the oven to 475 and set the timer for three hours. 


Step 28.  Pat yourself on the back for remembering mom so well.


Step 29.  Totally forget what mom said about making a foil tent around the turkey so it won't burn on the outside.


Step 30.  Slide that baby into the oven.  Done!  Now all you have to do is wait!


Step 31.  Wait.


Step 32.  Wait.


Step 33.  Wait.  For crap sake, it's been three hours!  What the heck is wrong with this pimply fowl?


Step 34.  Wait.  Explain to mom - who has just arrived for dinner - that it's still cooking.  After telling the story, try hard not to have a nervous breakdown when informed that your turkey was MOST DEFINITELY still frozen when placed in the oven.


Step 35.  Order Mexican.  From the new restaurant you've been wanting to try.  The night's not a total bust.


Step 36.  Remove the turkey from the oven around midnight.  The skin's nice and crispy - i.e. slightly charred.  Who likes that part anyway?


So now you've got a fully cooked turkey and you've already eaten dinner.  What to do with all that bird???  Sandwiches obviously!  Just wait till next week.  I promise it will be much more mouth watering than this.


Sorry if I made you loose your lunch.  Now you know how I felt.





*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!

6 comments:

Stephanie said...

This was so entertaining to read! I had the same problem finding the giblets when I cooked mine. Mine was frozen too and I was running hot water into the inside and trying to stick things inside to find the bag of crap, and then realized the other opening. Ha ha! I loved how you called the metal thing handcuffs...that is hilarious! And behemoth! Ha ha ha! I love your blog.

Amie {Kitty Cats and Airplanes} said...

BAHAHA! I laughed out loud at least five times reading this. Sounds a lot like the first time I dealt with a turkey...even though hubs was doing it most of the time. Can't wait to see all the fun stuff you come up with!

alisamm said...

Wait...you're NOT hosting Thanksgiving???

Cherie said...

Sounds like my daughter when I ask her to make a whole chicken while I am at work. And she is making that sound while she is on the phone with me!

the momma (aka Shannon) said...

yeah, so...this is pretty much exactly how it went the first time i made a turkey.
tongs to remove the giblets and everything.

except...my (disgusting) husband fights me EVERY.TIME. that the giblets (trash) are "good for eating".
gag gag puke.

i don't even eat meat, let alone organs.

Mom said...

Sigh - you haven't lived until you've cleaned and cooked a turkey. Next time I'll teach you how to clean a live chicken!! Mom

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