Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cooking a Turkey like the Turkey Farmers Do

My girls asked the other day about how I roast a turkey start to finish. I thought for sure I had posted a blog about it in the past four years of blogging but when I searched in several different ways, I couldn't find that I had posted about it. 
I also made a video and decided to post it as I can talk quicker than I can write. :-)

So, I am posting the video here. I wish I had working editing software but with my computer being a bit older and it was never quite right after I won it from Pansonic, they had a guy add lots of stuff and somehow, the video software never worked right. 
I am not sure if it was a missing driver or the competing software from Panasonic and the other editing software that they gave me but I really wish I could edit the videos on the computer.(Click here to see about me winning the computer

Because of the not being able to edit, the video is me telling you how I do it and you don't see the final turkey roasted in the video but that is what the pictures are for, showing the final roasted turkey.

I have a friend who grew up on a turkey farm. She gave a lesson at our church one day about how she roast her turkey as that was how the did it on their farm to keep the turkey moist.

I did it her way for a few years but like my seasoning and taking off the skin and fat better than the way she did so I have adapted the process over the years and LOVE how moist my turkey comes out without all the skin, fat and hormones that are in it if the skin is left on. 
First, take off any jewelry as bacteria can be under fake nails or jewelry. You are going to be putting your hand on the turkey so rings off is a good idea. 

Wash your hands and arms midway to your elbow so that there is not bacteria on them. Dry with paper towel and then you are ready to start if your turkey is thawed. 
I usually take the turkey out of the freezer two days before I want to roast it and put it in the fridge. If it isn't or I forgot, I leave it out the night before about 8 p.m. and it will still be somewhat frozen in the morning but I use warmish water to rinse it. I know some say not to do it this way but it has worked for me and I like to know it is still frozen some to insure it hasn't gone bad. 

I only cut the top of the bag open at first. If you have ever gone to a meat packing plant, if you see how they kill the animals and prepare them, you know that they kill the poultry on an assembly line and to keep the bacteria down, they dip the entire bird into a bleach solution which keeps the meat white and kills any bacteria from any of the processing tools. 
I leave the turkey in the bag, pull the plastic off the bottom of the drumsticks and start to rinse the turkey in the bag. White foam will start to come out of the bag looking like bubble bath. You can see this clearly in the picture above. 

I rinse it until it runs clear and you can see water without foam in the center of the turkey like the picture just above this paragraph. 

If it is still a bit frozen, I run warm water until I can get the neck out of the center of the turkey. I roast it outside the turkey in the pan. I continue to rinse the interior of the turkey very well. 
Once I get clear water, I take the turkey out of the bag. NEVER put the turkey on the counter or in a sink. There are lots of bacteria in sinks. If you are going to rinse it, outside the bag, put it in a clean pan or bowl to rinse it further. 

I then put the turkey into the roasting pan. At this point, my friend peels up the turkey skin and puts her seasoning inside the skin next to the meat but she leaves the skin on to hold in the seasoning and moisture. This is where I differ. I have tried it her way using Lowery's season salt on the turkey under the skin and roasting it upside down in the pan. That is her method which is great but since I like making soup out of the stock, I don't like all the fat that I get if I leave the skin on.  
I don't like giblets so we throw out the baggie and I keep the turkey bag so I can put the giblets and the fat from the turkey into it to throw it out. 

At this point, I skin the turkey. It is actually quite easy. I put my hand between the turkey and skin and pull it away and use a knife to get it off the hard spots. It comes off almost in one piece. 

They give the turkey growth hormones to make them fatter and so they have quite a thick layer of fat in some places and your hands get slimy but I cut off as much of the fat as I can so that I don't have it in my soup. 

Once I have all the fat off, I put it in the bag and dispose of it. I usually can't get the skin off the wings and you can cut the wings off but there is meat in them and we use it for soups when boiling down the turkey. 
Place the turkey BREAST DOWN in the roasting pan. This is the key to moist turkey. You can use a roasting bag which holds in the moisture but I rarely use one and only usually when I am not at home so I can contain it not knowing how other people's pans are etc. 

The turkey won't look like the "picture" on a postcard as it is upside down but the meat will be VERY tender as it is roasting in its own juice.

I usually put potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, onions and sometimes celery in with the roast. I had stew veggies this time as they are quick but I usually just peel and cut veggies for the roast. I also like to add sausage sometimes to give it a little flavor but you can't get the sausage I like in this part of the country so I have to make due with other types. The girl like the sausage so we do it. 

My friend uses Lowreys like I said but I prefer my method of seasoning and we haven't had any complaints from friends and neighbors so we continue doing it. 

I use the crushed red pepper Chinese rooster sauce I get at the Asian import store by the gallon. You can buy small bottles in the grocery store but we use so much that I like the large bottles. We use a few tablespoons of crushed garlic. I like the Costco Kirkland brand better than the Walmart variety I have tried as it sometimes goes dark and has more liquid in it. I use maybe a teaspoon of the crushed red pepper over the entire roast. 

I then use the Italian season blend I have posted about before with rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil and marjoram.
Before I found this blend, I would just use parsley flakes and it looked great but this gives it more flavor. I sprinkle the vegetables and the turkey with all of the above. The last step is to squirt olive oil over the entire thing. This keeps the veggies moist from the top so they don't dry out. It also adds healthy fats rather than the animal fat I removed with the skin.

Roast it with a lid on it or you can cover the entire thing with aluminum foil if you don't have a lid. Roast it for the recommended time. A twenty pound bird usually roasts for five hours without stuffing. I don't like stuffing and realized with my gluten problems, I figured I haven't liked many wheat products my entire life so I never make stuffing and my kids get it out of the box as I don't like it in the bird.

If you look at the finished picture, you can see how much moisture is around the veggies. The entire turkey breast is covered with yummy broth. 

The girls helped me get the dinner ready and I couldn't help but post this adorable video of them singing and dancing as they washed and scrubbed the yams. I hope you laugh as much as I do when I watch it.

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