Just the idea of a juicy, succulent, roast turkey on Thanksgiving afternoon makes me want to get up and dance. Roast turkey is on my “Top 20 List of Happy Things.” Prior to its entrance into my oven, however, and subsequent applause-worthy exit; all dressed up and tan, the necessary steps to achieve True Turkey Perfection are the cause of many a turkey-related case of hives.
I’m not very adventurous anymore on Thanksgiving. I choose my holiday “standard” so I don’t have to deal with a NEW bird and have something go miserably wrong…again. I want my enormous breasted Butterball in his plain, white plastic coat.
I don’t care how he got so big either.
The first of many “Turkey-Go-Wrong” years began when, once, my Mom cooked a turkey in a “Nesco” in our garage (Mom didn’t like the smell of turkey (!)) What we ate that night not only smelled like “car” and grass clippings, somehow the turkey exploded, leaving the ravaged bird in a bony pile. At least it was juicy.
Another year I bought a less expensive, generic brand of turkey. I prepared him as I would any other bird. “Tom” must have been injected…with AIR, because the bird I put in was not the TREMENDOUS-legged, flat-chested one that emerged. The white-meat eaters stared, mouths agape. I must have bought a Road Runner by mistake.
Finally, I was told that the “Oven Bag” was fool-proof. I challenge that. Evidently the MOST important step in roasting a bird in a gigantic plastic bag, is flouring the inside, so it doesn’t blow-up. I swear I remember doing that, but after a few hours…KAPLOWW! My oven has never been the same.
That did it!! No more risky, “foul” shenanigans! Now, with my nice Butterball—the preparations can begin.
I have never been completely comfortable with the necessary “HAND in BIRD” step required to fully ready the turkey. I reach in, and as fast as I can, “mine” for the package of “GOD KNOWS WHAT” that’s buried deep in the bird’s inner-sanctum. Oh, and don’t forget the flaccid flap of skin that covers yet another cavity on the top of bird-- there’s some goodies in there too.
Achieving the Juicy vs. Dry bird is the next stressful endeavor. The Turkey Packaging Union wants us to depend on that little red-sticky-uppy thing to tell us when the bird is done. I’ve relied on that … along with feverish prayer, with mixed results. Now, out of the kitchens of the “Food Network” comes news that the bird continues to cook outside the oven!! We can now bring the bird out at “Ptomaine” degrees, confident that it has enough energy to climb up the thermometer to reach true poultry "doneness."
I wish it were more scientific.
They need to market Predictable Turkeys for those of us low turkey-stress thresholds. But I always know if things get TOO stressful, I can call the Butterball toll-free number and some rational volunteer… will talk me off the roof.