Come all ye self-styled chefs and kitchen users, we must talk.

Anybody have any idiot proof thanksgiving turkey recipes?

I've never cooked a turkey before, but my friends want me to do a turkey dinner for Canadian Thanksgiving.

Is a meat thermometer like this one necessary or do you think I could get away without one?

Axel wrote:

Anybody have any idiot proof thanksgiving turkey recipes?

I've never cooked a turkey before, but my friends want me to do a turkey dinner for Canadian Thanksgiving.

Is a meat thermometer like this one necessary or do you think I could get away without one?

If you're willing to take the time to remove the back this is the one I'd go with:

https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/...

A probe thermometer like that one's unnecessary if you have a decent, cheap instant-read and just check at the 80 minute mark in the recipe. If you have neither, an instant-read makes cooking all meat decently a lot easier.

Axel wrote:

Anybody have any idiot proof thanksgiving turkey recipes?

I do, and it really is idiot-proof.

I go to my local smokehouse and buy a smoked turkey. Which is then served cold.

Then I bask in the incredulousness of my guests that they actually enjoyed turkey for a change.

Also, ohmygod the soup that you can make out of the bones

Jonman wrote:
Axel wrote:

Anybody have any idiot proof thanksgiving turkey recipes?

I do, and it really is idiot-proof.

I go to my local smokehouse and buy a smoked turkey. Which is then served cold.

Then I bask in the incredulousness of my guests that they actually enjoyed turkey for a change.

Also, ohmygod the soup that you can make out of the bones

I dunno if it's like this in seattle, but there are roads you cannot drive down in Raleigh the day before thanksgiving and easter because the traffic trying to get to the smoked ham/turkey place causes a standstill

I can second spatchcocking a turkey. I've used it the last two Thanksgivings, and it's wonderful. Just be careful with your timing. It cooks MUCH faster than other methods, so my first year, it was done two hours before dinner. My guests ended up snacking on turkey while waiting for dinner.

thrawn82 wrote:
Jonman wrote:
Axel wrote:

Anybody have any idiot proof thanksgiving turkey recipes?

I do, and it really is idiot-proof.

I go to my local smokehouse and buy a smoked turkey. Which is then served cold.

Then I bask in the incredulousness of my guests that they actually enjoyed turkey for a change.

Also, ohmygod the soup that you can make out of the bones

I dunno if it's like this in seattle, but there are roads you cannot drive down in Raleigh the day before thanksgiving and easter because the traffic trying to get to the smoked ham/turkey place causes a standstill

That's the Honey Baked Ham pop-up shop at Christmas, totally. But the smokehouse I go to is in a suburban neighborhood. Link included for my fellow Seattlites to indulge. They do smoked game hens year-round, for like $6 a pop. They're brilliant.

If you have a Sous Vide, just buy a breast (or two) that is already deboned. Roll and tie it, then vac seal it, and cook it sous vide, then revel in your guests exclaiming how they love the juicy white meat. After doing that last year, I won't cook turkey any other way again.

Jonman wrote:

That's the Honey Baked Ham pop-up shop at Christmas, totally. But the smokehouse I go to is in a suburban neighborhood. Link included for my fellow Seattlites to indulge. They do smoked game hens year-round, for like $6 a pop. They're brilliant.

My sister is up in that area, I'll def forward this their way.

Roke wrote:
Axel wrote:

Anybody have any idiot proof thanksgiving turkey recipes?

I've never cooked a turkey before, but my friends want me to do a turkey dinner for Canadian Thanksgiving.

Is a meat thermometer like this one necessary or do you think I could get away without one?

If you're willing to take the time to remove the back this is the one I'd go with:

https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/...

A probe thermometer like that one's unnecessary if you have a decent, cheap instant-read and just check at the 80 minute mark in the recipe. If you have neither, an instant-read makes cooking all meat decently a lot easier.

I went one further a couple years ago. Had to cook 32 lbs of bird. I decided to smoke it, couldn't fit whole birds, so wound up decomposing them like you would a chicken into fryable pieces (thigh/drumstick/breast/wing). This allowed me to do two awesome things:
1. Dry brine easily in the fridge a couple days ahead of time, cook easily and quickly in the smoker, and deliver delicious meat to a ton of people
2. Use the carcass/bones on Tuesday to make stock that I could use for the gravy, mashed potatoes, etc. — usually I make stock the day after when I'm already not in the cooking spirit, and can't use it for stuff like gravy.

Minarchist wrote:

Had to cook 32 lbs of bird.

Good god, man. Did you roast an ostrich?

Minarchist wrote:

I went one further a couple years ago. Had to cook 32 lbs of bird. I decided to smoke it, couldn't fit whole birds, so wound up decomposing them like you would a chicken into fryable pieces (thigh/drumstick/breast/wing). This allowed me to do two awesome things:
1. Dry brine easily in the fridge a couple days ahead of time, cook easily and quickly in the smoker, and deliver delicious meat to a ton of people
2. Use the carcass/bones on Tuesday to make stock that I could use for the gravy, mashed potatoes, etc. — usually I make stock the day after when I'm already not in the cooking spirit, and can't use it for stuff like gravy.

For a split second when you said decomposing i thought you meant letting it rot a bit to preserve it like some cultures do for long term meat storage

Turkey is tricky. I have a pretty dialed in method but it takes a bit of practice.

I usually cook smaller birds, maybe 15lb at the most. For this purpose I have a big drink cooler, like 10 or 15 gallons and the night before I put the turkey and a mix of ice, water, salt, pepper corns, bay leaf and other misc. dried herbs and whatnot into the cooler and let the bird soak there over night. You can find proportions on the internet but I think I use a cup or two of salt in 3 to 5 gallons of water give or take.

To cook the turkey put it in a 300 degree oven dark meat up and roast it for a couple of hours, basting it every once in a while. Then turn it over and finish at 350-400 breast side up for another hour or until it's done. I make a basting liquid out of white wine, butter, and maybe chicken stock. The high temp at the end is to try and get crispy skin on top. It usually works. For a 12-15lb bird the total cooking time is usually around 3 hours ... for different sizes take an estimated total and cut it up like 2/3rds 1/3rd or 1/2 and 1/2. This is the part that takes a bit of practice.

The challenge with turkey (really any bird) is that when the white meat is done the dark meat is not, and when the dark meat gets done the white meat is rubber. This scheme finesses the issue in two ways

1. The brine makes the white meat better even if it gets a little too cooked.

2. The brine also makes all the meat cook faster, and cooking it dark meat up helps the dark meat along.

You can make gravy from the juices that flow into the roasting pan while you cook. Just deglaze with white wine and then mix in a roux and more stock.

I don't stuff the bird, because that makes it even harder to cook it.

Taking the bird apart and sous-viding the bits separately is probably an easier way to get this done. But having a pretty whole bird come out of the oven is fun too.

I use an instant read thermometer, but I'm terrible at using it and have no real idea whether I get the right answers. But this turkey still comes out OK for me.

trichy wrote:

I can second spatchcocking a turkey. I've used it the last two Thanksgivings, and it's wonderful. Just be careful with your timing. It cooks MUCH faster than other methods, so my first year, it was done two hours before dinner. My guests ended up snacking on turkey while waiting for dinner.

Threeway Spachcock. Love how dirty that sounds (you are welcome, Jonman).

One of my goto meat shops had pre-spatchcocked turkeys last year. So nice. If you can throw one on a low and slow smoker, it is magic.

I would also go with an instant-read, preferable a Thermoworks product. Those things are the nuts.

Also, never go full decompose on your turkey.

psu_13 wrote:

I use an instant read thermometer, but I'm terrible at using it and have no real idea whether I get the right answers. But this turkey still comes out OK for me.

Rule of thumb for poultry is to put the instant read thermometer into the meat between the thigh and the breast - that's usually the last part to get done. Food safety rules says to cook to 165 degF, but I tend to find that if you pull the bird out 10-15 deg before that point, residual cooking while it rests will get you there. Pulling it out of the over AT 165 means that the residual cooking will overcook your bird.

psu_13 wrote:

Turkey is tricky.

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Axel wrote:

Anybody have any idiot proof thanksgiving turkey recipes?

I've never cooked a turkey before, but my friends want me to do a turkey dinner for Canadian Thanksgiving.

Is a meat thermometer like this one necessary or do you think I could get away without one?

I'll probably repeat some of the advice above, but there are some things that bear repeating.

First, unless you have someone that only eats drumsticks, just get a turkey breast. You don't have to learn how to spatchcock and you also avoid the issue of the white meat getting dry to make the drumsticks edible.

Don't forget to put it in the fridge to thaw about four days ahead of time. You can also get fresh turkeys which can be higher quality anyway.

Get a big container, and the last day before you cook, brine it in about 1 cup of salt to gallon of water. You can add peppercorns, limes, parsley, or whatever sounds good to the brine. Keep it in the fridge until it's time to cook.

Don't put stuffing in the bird. It's not food safe and will make it harder to get the right temperature.

Before roasting, coat the bird in softened butter, then sprinkle salt and pepper on it.

Roast at 260 C for 30 minutes, then 175 C for the remainder time. It's very important to keep an eye on the bird's temperature at this point. You don't need one of the fancy thermometers you linked, but it does help you know when the bird is done without having to check it often. Start checking the temperature earlier than you might expect. I had a bird cook in half the time the weight chart said it should. The temperature will rise fairly slowly, but can jump up to the finished temperature in the last 15 minutes or so. It's best to take it out at about 68-70 C. Cover it in tin foil for about 20 minutes before cutting into it.

Using just the breast will get you fewer drippings, so have some chicken stock handy to make sure there's enough gravy.

trichy wrote:
Minarchist wrote:

Had to cook 32 lbs of bird.

Good god, man. Did you roast an ostrich?

two 16-pounders, but your idea sounds interesting too.

First go at using the instant pot, Chicken Pho!

When steam started shooting out of it initially, I assumed the thing was going to explode and take out half the building with it

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Tried super simple pancakes. Only two ingredients 1 egg and 1 banana or 2 eggs and 2 bananas or 50 eggs and 50 bananas. Or all the eggs and all the bananas. I only did two of each which made enough to fill me up. Actually might have been to much for one person.

Only screwed up the first one which I burnt really bad setting off the fire alarms. All it in all I liked them and will make again. Probably eat with fruit and whip cream next time. This time around I topped them with cinnamon raisin peanut butter.

That sounds neat. Do you whip them up a bunch, or just get them mixed?

Just popped them in the blender.

Do you think it would work well with plantain

I would guess it would but don't really know.

I think you'd need to add some kind of sweetener, since you won;t be getting it from the banana

thrawn82 wrote:

I think you'd need to add some kind of sweetener, since you won;t be getting it from the banana

My question was to achieve something more savory and less dessert-y

DanB wrote:
thrawn82 wrote:

I think you'd need to add some kind of sweetener, since you won;t be getting it from the banana

My question was to achieve something more savory and less dessert-y

Well, i don;t consider an ordinary pancake particularly desserty, but there is def sugar in the recipe. I think you'd get a tostone rather than a pancake without a little added sugar.

I've always had weird fascination with prison food and army food. It's always interesting to see what people can come up with limited resources to make their lives a little better in a sh*tty situation.

Today I think I'll make bacon wrapped cream cheese stuffed peppers. One of my favorite snacks.

More instant pot fun, I tried to make congee this weekend. Pretty much any chinese-american kid's diet consisted almost solely of congee anytime they were sick, or if they just got braces forcing them on a liquid diet. When I got braces when I was like 11 my parents made buckets of the stuff and after a week I couldn't stomach it anymore.

I decided to go super traditional and make pork and century egg congee, a classic HK style breakfast.

A common side are chinese fried donuts and pork fluff. Pork fluff is hard to explain, it's like if pork jerky was pounded into onto almost a powder-like consistency, it has a sweet/salty flavour and is used as a topping for other foods.

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Century eggs, a traditional way of preserving eggs before refrigeration. Not for the faint of heart, the yolk gets a creamy consistency and white becomes almost like a gelatin. It has a taste that is very difficult to describe, but it's much milder than expected. As a kid I used to hate the stuff but as I got older I've come to appreciate it.

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Rice, ginger, garlic, and parboiled pork bones and pork shank going into the instant pot. The eggs go in after the main pressure cooking or else the pressure would turn them into complete mush.

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Making just-porridge from rice to make congee kind of works, but it's really, really bland. I like it better flavored to a variety of adjustments, and that makes it a lot more exciting than the normal bland variety.

Of course, you could just saute garlic and ginger and add that. That's one way to go. Other options:

1. Garlic, ginger, onion, chicken stock
2. Garlic, onion, black peppers, light soy sauce to taste after
3. Ginger, onion, chicken stock, saffron
4. Ginger, onion, chicken stock, fish sauce, red peppers

And of course, what you add on top is key. Pork with Century Egg is classic HK. Soy chicken gives you arroz-caldo like stuff. You could pair it with crispy fried pork + fried tofu in vinegar. Could use a variety of meats - ox tripe, whole soft-boiled egg, and braised pork. Could use meatballs and fish crispies. Or garlic-sauted grouper and veggies. Lots of ways to go.