Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Scramble

It's that time again! Over the past few weeks, our turkeys have been wandering all over the place. Flying over the fence and visiting on the deck was a recent treat. This is a heritage breed called "Blue Slate", and we had a batch of four. They are a beautiful grayish-blue color, and unlike Butterball, they take a good 7-8 months to get full-grown. Because our first spring batch died (turkeys really are kindof stupid BTW) we decided to take out 2 turkeys for the family dinner this year.

Like this turkey, we have been enjoying the beautiful colors, warm days, and brisk evenings. Why look at the weather report when tradition tells you that you usually need a jacket at Thanksgiving, but hats and gloves are for Christmas?

The Friday before Thanksgiving was unusually warm. We decided Tuesday would be a good day to do the deed.

Enter Saturday: Winter storm warnings, high winds, and drifting snow. Whaaaa?

Small break from the storm Monday, with a resurgence Tuesday afternoon! The Mister comes home from work early and we head out into the snow, hoping to beat the storm.

Here we are trying to heat up water so the turkeys are easier to pluck. The Mister is pacing and looking at his watch, and I'm hauling the hottest tap water I can manage from the house.

Anyone who remembers the absolute trauma I experienced last year will understand why, without even asking for help, or hinting to the moment, the Mister took the turkeys and stretched them over the sawhorse and whacked off their necks when my back was turned.

We dunked them in the hot water (not boiling) then placed them on our plastic wrapped table. We started to pull out the feathers as fast as we could. After about 30 minutes, the wind was picking up and blowing snow in our faces. YowZah!

Here comes the storm!

It was about this time my hands were losing their open/close functions, so I decided to finish the plucking indoors. Here I am on the deck looking like a homeless person in my sexy work pants.

After plucking all the remaining pieces, The Mister of the House lightly torches the skin with a portable propane thingie-bobber to burn the hair off. Weird right?

So we did it! We had 2 turkeys ready for the big dance. We made a salty brine solution and let them soak for a couple of days. We decided to cook one with a spicy rub in a dutch oven, and the other in a turkey fryer.

Here's our buddies Janis and Greg. Janis is a volleyball queen and Greg is a sucker for home projects. He also is a dutch oven guru. Here's his spicy turkey rub recipe that you can use for a small/medium turkey or a big roast chicken. The meat will fall off the's delicious!

So mix all of those spices together, and then prepare to massage that turkey like a Thai Princess.

Pull the skin away from the meat and rub between the layers. Rub inside the cavity. Rub the skin. Love and rub and love that turkey!

Why in the world didn't I take a picture when it was done? Because the places were set, the food was on, and there was a turkey to carve. Definitely NOT a traditional turkey, but delicious nonetheless.

We decided to cook the "big turkey" in the turkey fryer. The Mister of the House actually stepped on the scale and weighed our turkey so we would know for sure.


7 pounds!

Ugh. I couldn't believe it! I still want to react against factory farming, genetically overhauled turkeys that can't move and live in it was still worth it to me. But goodness...7 pounds?

Fried turkey? Totally pass! Go traditional or go for the rub all the way.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Waiting for Easter Dinner to enjoy a full-grown blue slate turkey


Anonymous said...

You are my hero.

emily said...

Hello Mrs. Olsen! I've been selling them for $30. you likey?!

Kelly Bryson said...

Wow. That sounds like too much work;) The plucking part, at least. Maybe my imagination is too active, but that sounds like a cold miserable way to get some turkey. Go you!

Holly said...

Whoa. You guys are amazing! I'm such a wimp. Way to go!

jennaloha said...

Are you serious? I had a deep-fried turkey this year and it was the best turkey I ever had. So juicy and so much flavor! Maybe it's the steroids and cageyness that makes it taste so good :)

Lee Family said...

holy crap that is a lot of work for yo turkey. You guys are awesome. Were there any turkey leftovers? That is what I want to know.

Mrs. Olsen said...

No turkey leftovers. That bird was tiny. All gone.