Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Turkey Posts Round-up: Tips, recipes and links to all you need for the cooking on Thanksgiving

Here are posts I've done on turkey over the years and other great post by friends of mine. These are in addition to posts from this month, to help you search for answers and ideas in one place. We are up to our necks in turkey necks at Smokin' Pete's BBQ, so if you have an emergency turkey question, Butterball's got a Turkey Hot Line. Here are links to the following articles.

How to Brine a Turkey
About salt and how brines work
Feeding a Crowd: Math equations for food quantities
Tips on Smoking Turkey with BBQ Pitmaster and BBQ Crawl Host Diva Q
Recipe: Smoked Turkey with Sage Rub and Maple Butter Glaze
Recipe for cooking a turkey on the Char-broil oil-less fryer
Tea Smoked Chicken (for smaller feasts)
Links to other sites I like about turkey
A great post by Live Fire about Thanksgiving Dinner
A Big Easy Turkey recipe by Grillin' Fools
Turkey Breast recipe with Pomegranate Glaze by The Heritage Cook
Fabulous Grilled Carrots with Jack Daniel's Glaze by The South in my Mouth
Chef Christo's post about How to Carve a Turkey
Recipe: Chutney Lentils
Cowgirl Jeanie's Wild Rice Stuffing Recipe
Recipe: Huckleberry Pie
Recipe: To die-for Grilled Flourless & Cayenne Cake by A Bachelor and his Grill

And finally a post to remind ourselves, what it's all about.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cool Infographic on How to Carve a Turkey

There is a reason why you haven't heard the story of the first Pilgrim who carved the first Thanksgiving turkey. He completely botched it and everyone at the table said a Pilgrim's prayer of thanks that cameras and Pinterest weren't yet invented.

Carving a turkey has been the source of stress since the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth. Char-broil has put together an awesome info-graphic on how to carve a turkey. You can download the pdf, prop up your tablet right on the Thanksgiving table, and carve with confidence.

Click here for Six Steps To Carve a Perfect Turkey. There are also tons of Thanksgiving recipes on the site to give you inspiration, including Chef Cristo's post about carving a turkey for even more help on the subject.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Killing Two Birds With One Smoked Turkey On An Egg

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and what better time than to practice cooking a turkey...and to clean out the fridge. It is time, sister, to clean that thing out.

Think of all the people without kids who are coming over to your house in two weeks, looking for ice for their drink. I realize that they should be looking in the freezer, not the fridge, but go with me.

You know the kind of people I'm talking about - they have time to work out and clean their refrigerator on a regular basis. But they can't cook worth a bean so the task falls upon you, like you are some sort of expert on cooking the big American heritage meal just because you nursed your children. A little too long, in their opinion, but that is another story.

Here's a recipe that helps you clean out the refrigerator weeks before Thanksgiving and will give you a practice run so you can take Martha Stuart down on the day. I cooked this turkey on my Big Green Egg, but any smoker will do, though I do love the irony of cooking poultry in an egg.

Please don't limit yourself to the ingredient list below - that's what came out of my fridge. And no, I'm not showing you a photo of all the crap I threw out. Jonathan Bloom over at Wasted Food would have my head if he saw that shot. Hopefully this post will balance the scales so to speak. As long as you have the three flavor profiles of sweet, hot and zing, then you can add other bits in your collection of condiments that need to be used up and out.

While you are at it, you might want to take the refrigerator drawers out and clean underneath them. Yeah, those.

Incidentally if you have any spices that are older than ten years, throw them out. Or make a big pot of chili and use them, for gawd sake. I recently found some chili powder in my mom's house that was date stamped 1972. I was four when she bought it for some chili recipe that apparently has never been tried again. The cloves from 1978 were surprisingly still aromatic so she put them back in the drawer. Oi.

Recipe: Condiment Turkey

Some of these could be place in multiple categories, but you get the idea. The intention is not for you to use all of the items listed, but examples of what you could use.

SWEET: Teriyaki, Thai chili sauce, ketchup, roasted pepper soup, honey, jams
HOT: Hot sauces, salsa, wasabi paste (sparingly!)
ZING: Mustard, all varieties, barbecue sauce, tangy marinades, pickled beet juice

One turkey, 10-12 lbs, pre-brined. For info on thawing and brining, look at the blog post directly under this one.

Olive oil, canola or any vinaigrette salad dressing

Salt, pepper

1) Clean out the fridge. Throw away the nasty bits, but any ingredient that isn't growing new life forms or smells putrid can be set aside for your marinade. Use the dregs, the weird buys that you soon regretted, and the duplicate purchases. Be sure you have at least one from every category: SWEET, HOT and ZING.

2) Mix your condiment soup and set aside.
As you can see, before you mix the condiments, you can make a swirly art project first.
3) Rub turkey like a boxer after a match with oil or vinaigrette.
4) Slather on the condiment soup and let the birdy sit in her condiment spa while you make your fire.

5) Make an indirect fire with room for a drip pan in the middle or to one side. Make fire for a hot smoke of about 325 degrees.

6) For the egg, place the indirect plate upside down and place a drip pan inside it\. Once it reaches 325 degrees, place turkey sitting up on grates and put down lid. Leave it. The Egg will do the rest.

7) While the turkey smokes, finish cleaning your refrigerator thoroughly. Pull everything out, get in the nooks and crannies. That way you will only need to give it a quickie clean before Thanksgiving. Aren't you glad we're friends?

8) Also, make stock while the turkey smokes. Use any "fresh" herbs that have cold-dried in your refrigerator or are still miraculously alive in your garden. Save the stock for the soup you will make with the turkey carcass because Martha Stuart can kiss your ass, thank you very much, and you can bring home the bacon and serve up homemade soups without ever having to wear prison orange. Even if it's the new black.

9) Smoke the turkey for approximately three and a half hours until the internal temperature reaches about 155 degrees in the thigh. It will reach the proper 165 degrees while it rests. Let turkey rest for approximately 20 minutes before slicing, because we want to let all those juices hovering at the edges to flow back into the meat.

While the turkey rests, give yourself a pat on the back. No one else is going to, right? Except me. Good job! What used to be all you were supposed to do for your job, cleaning and cooking and taking care of the kids, is now what you do around your money making job, your shift at your daughter's preschool and volunteer days at your son's school. You go to bed at midnight and hit snooze three times on the 6 am alarm.Yep, we've come a long way, baby.

But for now, at this moment, let your family ooh and aah. Enjoy what you've made. When dinner's over, place the leftovers in your sparkly clean fridge. You can make soup tomorrow.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Turkey Prep 101 Live on Char-Broil

I love talking turkey, as you may know, so I was thrilled to be asked to post an in-depth article about turkey preparation for Char-broil. If you've ever had questions about thawing a turkey, brines, and the best way to slather, rub and butter your bird before cooking it, this post is for you!

I'm also working on a post about doing a practice run before the big T-Day, so that you may work out any kinks without your mother-in-law breathing down your neck. I speak not of my own mother-in-law. She and I get along just peachy. Ever since we tried a complicated cheesecake recipe right after my son was born (and I recovering from a C-section), Thanksgiving has been a symbol of our bonding. If you are looking for a six hour cheesecake recipe, call me.

It doesn't hurt that we both enjoy a good bottle of wine. But I digress...

Click here to read the entire article. Please, please ask me questions, either on the Char-broil comments section or here.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cognac Barbecue Sauce: Smokin' Pete's Get's Fancy

Most people think of barbecue as down home cooking that is at home in a park field or served outside of a barn. And they would be correct - the bulk of our catering business is outside in the summer. But we also cater weddings, black tie receptions, and fundraising auctions because succulent slow smoked meats do just fine next to white linen and china.

So when American NW Distributors approached us about creating a barbecue sauce with two really good bottles of Cognac, we were delighted. Rep Alan gave us two bottles to play with, most of which we used in the sauce. I saved a wee drappy, as my grandma used to say, to enjoy in a glass.

The first was an organic cognac made by Leopold Gourmel called Bio Attitude (so cool - I didn't even know there were organic cognacs on the market!). Their website describes it as "dawn on a spring day", which I love and agree with. It's delicate for a cognac, but with all the lovely nose tingling, tongue caressing that makes a cognac.

The second bottle, the Pierre Ferrand 1840 won Grand Champion for new products of 2012 by Tales of the Cocktail. Their distillery is a blend of original craft ways and modern technology. This photo from their website shows the aging casks. A deeper flavor than the organic Leopold, I didn't want to give this one up for the sauce. Both bottles, however, were wonderful.
From the Pierre Ferrand website showing their cognac aging in a variety of casks.
Our General Manager Bruce Calvert created this recipe. The cognac comes through nicely, and if you don't have anyone that objects, you can swirl a splash or two fresh at the end to give it a kick. He made the same base for each sauce and found they both had similar flavors, but the BIO Attitude was a little lighter in color.

Here is his recipe:

Cognac Barbecue Sauce
by Bruce Calvert

1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/2 cup Pierre Ferrand Cognac or Leopold Gourmel Bio Attitude cognac
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
3 oz brown sugar
1 Tbls molasses
2 cups apple cider vinegar
3 cups ketchup

Saute onion and garlic until transparent
Remove from heat and cool slightly, then puree in food processor or mill.
Add cognac and spices, bring back to a boil to evaporate alcohol.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.
Cool in shallow pan before putting in bottle.