As you know I am always looking for shit to blog about. I take any and all suggestions and I'll try to write about anything at least once. One of the long time readers sent me this article, so I figured it was time to break out Derek's take...We all remember how this works right? The original article is linked at the top (if you care to read it without my take), then copied and italicized in this blog. Finally each piece is has my take (DT).
Top 6 Tips to Avoid a Thanksgiving Dinner Meltdown
By Elaine Corn
In a perfect world, we would start making food for Thanksgiving on Halloween. In reality, even experienced cooks don't do this. Most of us cook the whole meal on Thanksgiving Day. Ever been in a grocery store on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving? Point proved.
Completing an entire Thanksgiving meal the day of is certainly reasonable and achievable, even for beginners. Here are six tips to get you going. Some are sure to horrify purists. But heat is heat and flesh is flesh. When they meet in an oven, the bird will cook.
Before we even get to this zany bitches 6 steps to avoid a Thanksgiving disaster lets start with the obvious: No one is thinking about starting to cook for Thanksgiving on Halloween. People have normal day lives that they live and no one on November 1st is starting to stress about cooking one fucking meal. I don't care if the Prince of England was coming by. As far as being at a grocery store the night before Thanksgiving? Are you fucking serious lady? One of the biggest drinking nights of the year and you are out shopping for walnuts and canned yams? You should be stocking up on bottles of Vodka, 30 packs of beer and a few extra bottle of wine for those crazy neighbors who stay too long and want to get their drink on but only on your dime.
1. Go over your recipes the night before.
Know your plan of action. If there's time and you're not too tired, chop onions, celery, and carrots and hold them in the refrigerator in zip bags. Get out the turkey's roasting pan and any baking dishes you haven't used all year. Check them because they might need washing.
(DT) This lady is a real fucking genius. Read your recipes the night before, wash some dishes because you put them away fucking dirty (are you a filthy animal or what?) and cut up all your veggies. This is my step 1. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving make sure you have all that you are going to need for Thursday because Wednesday night you are tieing one on. Its not a Thankgiving without being hungover. If you find that maybe you forgot marshmallows for your sweet potato caserole, ask the wife is she would be a peach and pick some up. If not, pray that you have some year old Fluff kicking around your cabinets. Either way you shouldn't be washing dishes (that should be clean), cutting veggies (that you can do at 9am hungover) or reading no damn Family Circus recipes.
2. Start with a fully defrosted turkey.
None of the information here applies if you've forgotten to defrost your turkey. If you've bought a frozen one the night before, you are in trouble. Yes, you can try sticking a blow dryer up the turkey's cavity, but you will not only create a heated incubator for bacteria in the cavity, you will end up with a gross blow dryer you'll never want to touch again.
If caught short the night before, buy a fresh turkey. If you're so unlucky that fresh turkeys are sold out, but a smallish frozen one -- 10 to 12 pounds. You can defrost it safely -- still wrapped -- in a sink filled with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes, calibrating one 30-minute soak per pound of turkey. A 10-pound turkey will take about five to six hours to defrost.
(DT) So first she says start cooking on Halloween but then thinks you are going to forget to defrost the turkey? Well which is it lady? Are we preparing all month or are we morons who just found out Thanksgiving is coming? Its pretty much common sense that you defrost anything you are going to cook. I already told you that the day before Thanksgiving is for getting your drink on so theres no running out to buy a fresh turkey(which by the way is more than double the cost per pound, Mrs. Smarty pants doesn't mention that). My step 2. Listen if you are on a bender, and you didn't buy a turkey or you have a frozen turkey (you don't want to go all Bill Nye the Science guy with water baths and circulatory pumps to change out water; ruining your Turkey Eve boozefest) call up your parents or her parents and tell them you are bring the damn family over for some Thanksgiving family time. Round up the booze, the kids and some fucking apple pies and lets do this. Or always make back up reservations at a restaurant.
3. Tackle the clamp.
Fresh or frozen, the turkey's drumsticks are constrained for shipping by the meanest thing in cooking -- the clamp. Whether metal or plastic, the bird comes with no directions on how to free the drumsticks. You've got to open the cavity to remove the giblets. In my struggles to remove the clamp, I've drawn blood. That's because, at least with the metal ones, the maneuver is counter-intuitive.
Metal clamp: With a towel, pull the upside-down "U" toward you. With your other hand, find the strength to lift the loosest drumstick up, over and out of the clamp. Once the first drumstick is free, the second one will come over and out easily. But the clamp is still in the bird! Squeeze its sides in, and push it away from you. It will slide out.
Plastic clamp: Snip it with scissors, free the drumsticks, reach in and remove the bag of giblets.
(DT) Basically in order to remove the clamps holding the legs together you need to use the Pythagorean Theorem? My step 3. Its either a piece of plastic that you can clip with scissors or its a piece of aluminum that you can clip with fucking scissors! There's no fancy two handed U shaped pull over under leg restraint removal while using a towel maneuver. Plus if you are using algebra to remove a leg clamp and do two handed moves how can you be holding your drank?
4. Always use a meat thermometer.
Turkeys are tricky. The breast meat cooks first, but it's still attached to the bird while it waits for the dark meat to finish. White meat is ready at 170 F, dark meat at 175 to 180 F. To take a reading, insert it in the dark meat, which takes the longest to cook. Newer digital thermometers stay in the turkey for the entire roasting time and beep when the set temperature is reached.
A 10- to 14-pound turkey should be cooked at 350 F for 2 to 2½ hours. A 14- to 18-pound bird should cook at 325 F for 2½ to 3½ hours.
If you don't have a meat thermometer, here's the old-fashioned method. Gently pull a drumstick (use a towel to hold on) away from the body. Where the skin has stretched, use a small knife to make a cut to expose the meat. Take a look. If you see red juices or pink meat, keep roasting. Check for doneness at 15-minute intervals until juices run clear. I like this method because no one will see the cut.
(DT) You know me, I am old school. I don't own a fancy meat thermometer. It is 2011 though and don't all turkeys come with those little red pop up plastic timers? As far as the "old-fashioned method" this lady proposes; I plan to be wayyyyy to drunk for that(and again with the fucking towel) Here is my step 4. Preheat the oven to 350 F and make yourself a bloody mary. While the oven is heating up munch on the celery and olives in your drink - not only are you drinking but you are eating your breakfast. All meats, whether it's chicken, turkey, beef, pork or duck take about 20 minutes a pound. I have no idea where this ding bat of a woman thinks you can cook a 15 lb turkey in 3.5 hours. No wonder she has pink meat. It is not rocket science. 20 minutes a pound for 15 pounds would be 5 hours. Why do you think our parents would wake up at the ass crack of dawn to cook a turkey. Because the shit takes time.
5. After the turkey has roasted an hour, add about 2 cups of water to the bottom of the pan.
This is the beginning of your gravy or natural pan juices.
(DT) I have no idea why we are waiting an hour to put the water on the bottom of the pan. My step 5. Place the turkey on a rack in the bottom of the roasting pan, this way the turkey is raised up and isnt boiling and stewing away in the water. Then again I use chicken stock and not water. I want my gravy to be tasty not watered down. Since the turkey has moved into the pan and heading for the oven; it is time to move on from Bloody Marys and onto vodka tonics. If you haven't peeled your potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and made the green been caserole now is the time to start. The bird is in the oven and we have nothing but time to work on our buzz and the sides.
6. If, after carving, parts are undercooked, microwave them for a minute or two.
No one will know.
(DT) Now I know why she wants you to start cooking right after Halloween, this bitch don't know how to cook. Microwave your turkey? How ghetto is that? My Step 6. when the turkey finally comes out of the oven and rests under aluminum foil for 20 minutes you should be pretty well on your way to being bombed so anything will taste awesome. The gravy should be plentiful, tasty and not watery (since we used stock) so if your bird is a little bit on the dry side bury it with the brown stuff.
When the meal is over you should be killing off bottles of wine, polishing off 30 packs and laughing it up with friends and family.
When it is all said and done no one is going to remember if the turkey was dry or the mashed potatoes were lumpy. They will remember how hungover they were, how hard they laughed and who won the football game.