Have to be honest, it came out GREAT, but really I was going through the motions on this one. Little enthusiasm, so I didn't take many photos. Christmas Eve is a romantic time for Jackie and myself. We had been dating for three years, I already had a failed marriage and Jackie had survived the end of a 12 year relationship. Neither of us was in the mood to leap. But 13 years ago Christmas Eve, after 1,000 plus days of getting to know each other, we had one of those conversations. There was no knee, no ring and nothing formal... That would come shortly after. But a decision had been made, and ever since then, Christmas Eve has become "our" day. This year for Christmas Eve, I did something fun and special. But it will fit in better after the holidays are done, and closer to Valentines day. I took lots of photos, and have lots of posts to make about "our" day, so stay tuned.
But today... Let's see what going through the motions is to make a BEER BUTT TURKEY...
I couldn't wait, before I took a picture, I pulled off a wing to nibble!
First automatic "must do" is to BRINE YOUR TURKEY! If you have never added the step of brining, you are missing out on the single least used, but single best way to add moisture to a dry turkey.
Turkeys, by nature, are dry. In order to get the bird cooked all the way through, many parts are overdone by the time the center has reached temps. Brining is a way to keep the moisture on the bird. Remember this sentence... If you thought your turkey was a little dry this year... Add a brining step. It is easy.
Night before your cook...
A honey brine.
I assembled my brining liquid...
3 gallons of water
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
5 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups honey
5 cups ice
Heat 1 gallon water and the salt. Stir til all the salt is dissolved. Add the honey, again, stir til dissolved. Dump into a clean cooler, mix together everything else and add the bird. This also works well in one of those BIG freezer bags. Don't add the ice, but put the bagged bird into a cooler and than add ice and some water to surround the bagged bird and keep it from getting to room temps.
Let sit for 12 to 24 hours.
I am lucky enough to own a special ceramic pan made special for Beer Butt cooking. Before I owned one of these, I would simply use a beer can in a large casserole dish. No photos, but here's the step by step guide...
- Bring the bird out of the brine and allow to drain. Pat dry with paper towels.
- While the bird is drying, open your beer and pour 1/3rd of the can down the drain (or find another way to dispose of a bit of the beer... DRINK IT!)
- Add 2 tablespoons of rub into the beer. It will foam up, so have this in your casserole pan before adding rub. Any of the commercial Cajun rubs work great for this.
- Back to the star of the show, the bird. Use your fingers to separate the skin from the breast meat. Do your best to not rip holes in the skin, but get as much of the skin separated as possible. Around the legs if possible, the back, etc...
- rub the skin and the meat that you separated from the sin with some Olive oil
- rub some rub inside the skin on the meat, as well as on the outside of the bird
- Balance the bird on the can, shoving the cavity of the bird so the beer can is inside. Use the legs to make a tripod.
- I cook low(ish) and slow(ish)... 300 degrees. It took 5 hours for my 12 pound bird to reach 170 degrees internal temperature. Be sure to check the temps at the thickest part of the breast, as well as the thigh meat.
But the important part is the meat is moist and tender. the beer steams the meat from the inside, and combined with the brine produces an amazing turkey dinner!
Already, Jackie made a leftover dish of Turkey Tetrazinni, and I made an open face turkey/gruyere sandwich. Today I have to shovel the driveway so Jackie can get to her inconvenient day job. I will have a bowl of turkey chili waiting for me. And I saved an entire breast to make a turkey calzone!
My neighbor gifted us this bottle of wine and giggled the whole time. Not sure if it was a tribute to the smoked meat they ate all year, or if they were calling me a loon... But, the wine was great!
And now... I GOT AN AWARD!!! the eggnog must have been flowing to convince DEBBIE, from Dining with Debbie to award the Fabulous SUGAR DOLL Blogger Award to me. After all, when you think sugar doll, Shirley you think of me (you can call me sugar doll, but not Shirley). Anytime a blogger thinks of me, I am honored, and I thank her very much.
Part of the "deal" is to name ten interesting things about me. I have a plan for January posts that will involve getting to know Jackie (my wife) and me better. So, I am going to try to share ten interesting things about my wife and me...
- We met in a bar. She was attending a bachelorette party. I had just entered a beer drinking contest (I didn't win, but I placed high enough to win a T-shirt... I gave it to her).
- I was a glorified traveling salesman when I met her, living in another state.
- After our second date, she ran my FBI file (I was surprised that I had one), as well as a criminal background check and my financial statement.
- I did not run any background check on her, but I later found out that she was escorted by the police of STURGIS, SD (yes, the motorcycle, Hell's Angels Sturgis) to the city limits and told to never return. She was caught beating the crap out of an old boyfriend.
- We moved in together after long distance dating for over a year. I moved out after less than 30 days.
- For one of the first meals, she made me while we were dating (tortellini), I threw in the trash during a huge fight. She has never made tortellini for me since.
- It took three years before we tried living together again (this time it took)
- We were married in Jamaica.
- We had three wedding receptions. Jackie wore the same dress at all three.
- She gave me Smoking (BBQ) lessons for Christmas three years ago, and it changed our life.
I am supposed to pass on my award... I want to share a fun site with you all that i have found. In another life, I was a book seller. I still read more murder mysteries than anything else (but cookbooks are growing in popularity). I have found a blog called, MYSTERY LOVERS" KITCHEN (click HERE to find it) that I am loving. They blog features rotating hosts, all with mystery novels (featuring cook related settings). I am a bit new to the site, but they have welcomed me with open arms.
So, I would like to challenge the lovely ladies of the M.L.Kitchen to provide 10 interesting snippets of their life...
Up for the challenge ladies???