let’s talk turkey (part 2 of 3)

Jeanne here.

With some very personal information.

It’s an intimate truth in our house.

It’s about Thanksgiving.

And it’s one of the reasons I feel so darn lucky to have married the Cowboy.

You see …

That one day a year when many a wife and mother stresses about the turkey.

Wet brine?

Dry brine?

No brine?


Slow roast?

Fast roast?

In a bag?




Not stuffed?

My blood pressure just spiked.

(Inhale … Exhale … Inhale … Exhale … Ahhhhhh.)


I’m better.

Really better.

And not just because I have all the answers.

But because my secret about Thanksgiving is that I don’t actually have that stress.  Because for the past four years, I haven’t made the turkey.

Somehow, that job landed in the Cowboy’s lap. (Do you think it’s because I was eating a vegetarian diet when we celebrated our first Thanksgiving?  Probably.)

And the good news …he’s really good at it!

He wet brines.

Last year he used this recipe from The Pioneer Woman.

This year, we’re trying this one which we both heard on The Splendid Table program on NPR with Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

Both brines have brown sugar, apple cider and salt and pepper.  The main difference between the two brines is that LRK’s brine has ancho chiles, cloves, basil and a ton of garlic.  PW’s has oranges, rosemary, bay leaves.  It’s just seems a little more mild.  I’m curious to see how the new recipe changes the experience.  I’m going to see if I can talk the Cowboy into using maple syrup instead of brown sugar … just because it seems silly to use a refined sugar when maple syrup exists in our world.

The thing about brining (wet or dry) … both will get you a juicy and delicious bird.  But the important thing is to do something.  That turkey is in the oven a long long time, and without a little help, that organic, free range bird you spent some serious cash to bring home might whither in the pan.  And that would be sad.

Here’s a great article from the NY Times about the science of brining … if you’re into that sort of thing 🙂

Apparently we fast roast our turkey (which basically means 10 minutes per pound in a 450 degree oven) because  it makes for a very crispy and golden skin).

I don’t remember if he tents.

And I’m going to talk to him about stuffing, because I think he does stuff, but I heard an interview with Alton Brown earlier today during which he talked about how stuffing will taste better if it’s cooked in the bird, but cooking stuffing in the bird dries out the turkey!


 At least … no stuffing in the bird.

Let’s call it dressing and cook it in it’s own vessel.

Okay … so if I get quizzed, or somehow end up being the one to make the turkey, this is what I would do:

Brine (wet … with maple syrup instead of sugar)

Fast roast (10 minutes per pound in 450 degree oven)

Tent it (for some of the time … pull the tent off for the last 45 minutes) – I just made that up, but it works for chickens and lasagne, right?  I think it would work.

And NO STUFFING!  Try dressing instead.

Q: What are the answers to your quiz?

One thought on “let’s talk turkey (part 2 of 3)

  1. No need to convince me to use maple syrup. As you well know it is my favorite sweetness, next to you that is!

    Drive home safely, babe! Can’t wait to hold and kiss you and the LOs!

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