Turkey Week Cooking and Some Other Things

Its been a while since I posted any cooking related stuff here….mostly because I really have not had the time. Traveling, Bills Wedding, Moving and many other things have taken up most of the weekends since late September. To top it off, everyone in the house has been sick for the last month. Word to the wise-once your kid starts school, you may as well invest in NyQuil stock as you and anyone in your house will be sick from August-May.

Anyhow, this past week was obviously Thanksgiving and that affords me a few extra days off. We spent the actual holiday visiting with both sides of my family. Its always good to see family and this was no exception.

Friday morning I fired up the trusty Weber cooker and it didn’t get a rest until Sunday. First on the menu (no photos) was a 19lb turkey that I wanted to cook for my Grandma and Aunt. Typically my Aunt and Uncle have the meal for my Mom’s side but unfortunately my Uncle suffered a heart attack on the 25th and is still recovering. They had the turkey thawed out and obviously cooking it was not on the agenda. I nabbed the bird  and cooked it so it wouldn’t go to waste. We delivered it back on Friday all sliced and diced. It was my first Turkey on the smoker and other than oil, salt and pepper nothing crazy. It looked nice after it was done and was still juicy.

*Just a note-If you choose to buy a frozen turkey pay attention to what the label says if you intend to soak in a brine. Honeysuckle and Butterball’s are injected with a salt solution to help them stay juicy and if you brine them they will be so damn salty you will need to consume copious amounts of liquid.

Saturday Morning I started the Pork Shoulders that I had been wanting to do for the last few months. Typical arrangement of Yellow Mustard and my Trademarked shoulder rub. Also injected the shoulders with a mixture of Worcestershire, Apple Juice, Brown Sugar and Salt. They cooked for 13 hours to a temp of 190 before they were pulled and packed in 1 lb bags and tossed in the freezer for meals throughout the next few months. Key with freezing the pork is you need to add BBQ sauce before you freeze so that it does not dry out during the re heating. If you use Vacuum sealer bags that contain no BPA you can actually just toss them in boiling water to re heat. I hear its as good as the day they came off the smoker. I just use the trusty Zip-lock’s and warm in the microwave. Still pretty good.

Saturday was also Christmas light day. What a boondoggle it turned into. Glad its only once a year although I now have the process down so next year should not be that time consuming. It did turn out nice.

Sunday I decided to do something different with the 12lb bird we had in the fridge. As a fan of anything food related from the south, I found a recipe for a Cajun injected turkey with dirty rice “stuffing”. Here is what went into the injection I made Saturday night:

Worcestershire sauce
Old Bay seasoning 
Apple cider
Bottle of beer
Ground allspice
Creole seasoning
Olive oil
Minced garlic

I used the minced garlic that you find in the glass jars and to combine all the spices and liquid I took it for a spin in the food processor while drinking the extra beer. As it turns out the garlic was still too big for the injector I have and it kept clogging the needle so I ended up straining out all the garlic bits. If I had not let it sit in the fridge overnight it would have pretty much been useless to add. Either I need a larger injector or some how I need to figure out how to liquefy the garlic like Pauly does in Goodfella’s.

“It’s a really good system” -Ray Liotta

Back on topic…The bird went on the grill with a little walnut smoke and cooked for a few hours. If you are looking for something a little different for a turkey, I recommend this. Next time I will try to more evenly distribute the injection in the turkey and possibly use a little less of the mixture. Meanwhile we cheated and used a boxed dirty rice mix but “Jazzed” it up with 1/2 Andouille sausage and ground beef. Also instead of water we used unsalted chicken stock. IT WAS AWESOME.

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