Personal Chef for Thanksgiving

Just the thought of cooking for a family other than my own on Thanksgiving seems a little strange. I can’t think of a better way to upset people than to attempt to cook their traditional meal at home and have them all turn into cry-babies when it isn’t the way granny used to make it. It’s a day I am avoiding at every turn. I’m not cooking for anyone other than my family. At least that way any complaining will be held close to the vest.

It is a big restaurant day though. One I don’t really agree with, but from a business standpoint there is money to be made. The restaurant I’m at now will be open. I can’t wait for the turkey roasting. We tear down the birds and remove all of the bones, then truss the dark meat together and slow roast it after we sear it up. The birds turn out moist and very service-ready. All my life I have seen people serve dry turkey because of the crazy safety warnings that tell people to cook the bird to 190 degrees F. If you have an older meat thermometer it probably tells you to do this. Don’t listen to it – your bird will always be dry if you do.

In order for poulty to be safe follow these simple rules.

  • Dont let the bird get warm while thawing, and stay warm before it is cooked.
  • Slow roast the meat in a 225 degree oven until it hits 167 degrees and let it stay at that temp for at least 10 minutes. Then pull the meat and cover. Do not cook it covered or you will steam the bird.

In the end, you will have a safe, tender, moist turkey that still tastes like a turkey. All the basting in the world in a 375 degree oven won’t save your bird. Minutes per pound seldom works either. Just put it in a slow oven about 8 hours before you need it and check the temp after 4 to 6 hours. Pulling the legs off and placing them flat in the bottom of the pan will help them become tender. Removing the bone from them and trussing the meat helps even more.

As long as you can get away from having the ideal, traditional carving turkey at the table – you’ll find the flavor and texture of this type of method far surpasses Granny’s old, dry, cheese-cloth textured, needs much more gravy type of bird. After all – why do you think gravy is so popular?

Anyway – happy turkey day to all. I hope it’s fun to get together for everyone. Just dont call me to come cook for you. I’ll be with my family – whether it’s the one at the restaurant or the one at Grandma’s place. One thing is for sure. I’ll be surrounded by food either way…

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