Saturday, November 28, 2009

There's More Than One Way to Stuff a Turkey

As per my promise, I tried my Beer Can Turkey on Thanksgiving. Since I used a jar filled with white wine, my husband thought that maybe Mason Jar Turkey might be a bit more appropriate and I have to say I agree. I slept until I woke up (about 8 am), had my coffee, and got down to business. I set my oven for 325 degrees before I set about unwrapping and washing my 9-1/2 pound turkey. Ever since I watched a television show a few years ago about chicken processing and they showed thousands of them swimming in a “fecal soup” as they called it, I wash my poultry thoroughly. I know that the folks at Jennie-O thought that they were doing me a real favor by inserting a plastic truss inside, but since I was going to insert a glass jar up his rectum, I spent the better part of five minutes trying to remove it. Once the truss was removed, I rubbed the whole turkey down inside and out with a little olive oil, garlic, season salt and a good grinding of pepper. I then filled an empty 26 ounce (737g) glass pasta sauce jar about 2/3 of the way up with some chardonnay, then I added some lemon slices, garlic and salt. I then sat the jar in the middle of a glass 9x13” baking dish, gently sat the turkey down on top of it so that the jar propped it up. I then covered the neck opening with foil to prevent the moisture from escaping and popped it in the preheated oven where it cooked for 2-1/2 hours.

After the cooking time, I reached for my meat thermometer that is always in a cream pitcher next to my cook top. There was nothing there, vessel empty. Since I had been in the UK for two weeks, I figured that it must have accidentally gotten moved to one of my utensil drawers. No, no meat thermometer there. I racked my brain, tore my kitchen apart, cursed, and stomped my feet. I finally decided to strangle my husband once he returned from his morning walk because the Karen Harris jury trial had convened in his absence and had found him guilty and imposed the death penalty. Problem solved.

Luckily for my husband, I decided to take a shower and chill out. It was during this refreshing moment of solitude that a thought occurred to me. My son had been using my husband’s instant read thermometer barbeque tongs for sometime to check the temperature of his aquarium water and I was suspicious as to whether or not he had decided to upgrade his equipment during my absence. I tiptoed into his room and looked at my sleeping angel curled up all warm in his bed. I quietly made my way to his dresser and looked around the base of his aquarium and there it was, my $15.00 meat thermometer that had certainly been swimming with the fishes a couple of times a day, everyday for the past two weeks. I snatched it up in a huff, stomped towards the door, walked out and slammed the door behind me. How in the world was I going to disinfect my thermometer? I was so careful to cleanse my turkey and not cross contaminate my countertop or any utensils to keep my family safe from harmful bacteria only to be faced with having to jam a fish germ covered spike into the upper thigh of my much anticipated Mason Jar Turkey. Boys! Some parents of teenagers have to lock up the liquor cabinet. I guess I have to lock up my kitchen gadgets when I go out of town from now on.

I decided to go commando with my thermometer. I got out the disinfectant from under the kitchen sink and got the hot water stoked up. I scrubbed and dipped the spike until I felt like it was clean, then I did it again. I finally felt comfortable enough to check the temperature of my turkey. I shoved the thermometer into the thickest part of my turkey’s thigh and watched it until the numbers stopped at 178. Knowing that it would continue to cook for awhile I pulled it from the oven and allowed it to rest for 30 minutes. After its resting time I gently lifted the turkey off of the jar and placed it on a cutting board and began slicing. The result of all of this work was the most delicious turkey I have ever eaten. Normally dark meat people, I convinced my family to try the white meat first for blog review purposes. After the first bite they were hooked and now two days after Thanksgiving, all I have left in the refrigerator is a plastic bag full of dark meat. I guess I can proclaim this a success.

All of my side dishes turned out well enough. I have to admit that I’m not much of a stuffing maker. It seems like no matter what I do, I’m just not satisfied with the taste. My favorites seem to remain my step mom’s cornbread stuffing and the pork, sage and onion from Mark’s and Spencer; some things just can’t be improved upon. Well, that’s about it for this entry. I guess I’d better go, I’m out to hit the shops for the post Thanksgiving Day sales. This year I have something in particular that I’m looking for, a new $15.00 meat thermometer.

Mason Jar Turkey

I have to admit that this isn't one of my better photos but it gives you and idea about how the turkey looks after it's done still sitting on the jar.


Lisa said...

Great idea for a turkey. My husband cooked ours on the grill and it came out great.

mark said...

I am one of the lucky ones that got to eat the mason jar turkey. The white meat was the best I have had, very moist, yet fully cooked. Great idea.