Turkey in pieces

November 24, 2018

A truncated Herbie, his legs and wings bagged in the background.

NOTE: I thought I had posted this early this week. Apparently I failed to do so. Well, I hate to waste a perfectly good post, so here ’tis.

Whew, Lawdy, y’all. It is significantly more work to break down an 18-pound turkey than it is a 4-pound chicken, I am here to tell you and y’mama ‘n ’em.

But I have (a) persevered, and (b) said turkey leg and thigh quarters and wings are lolling in the sous vide bath, to be smoked tomorrow; the breast is dry-brined and basking under foil in the fridge; and the backbone, neck, wing tips and giblets are roasting in the oven for drippings and stock-making. I would also note that (c) all the parts are recognizeable and none of them look like they were extras in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

My original plan had been to SV the breast as well, but when I realized that, to vac-seal it, I’d have to take out the breastbone, I decided it wasn’t worth it. We’ll go with the dry brine. And he can go in the oven in the morning to roast away. 

I’m anxious to see how these legs and thighs taste. I have done the equivalent of a confit treatment on them, per ChefSteps. I sprinkled them down with a dry brine of salt, brown sugar, pepper and dried sage, plunked them in a bag, added two or three tablespoons of olive oil, and vac-sealed them. They’ll SV at 150 degrees until about 10 tomorrow morning, when they’ll come out and go in the smoker for an hour at a fairly low temp.

That was the biggest thing I had to do today. In a minute or several, I’ll get up and start a batch of rolls, then put together the sweet potato casserole and stash it in the fridge, and make the curry dip for turkey leftover sandwiches. I also need to make a couple of lemon icebox pies, my final decision on dessert (and there’s still half of that apple-cranberry-walnut crisp from last night, as well). I can freeze one of the pies against the next time I need a dessert in a hurry.

Of course, I had to go to the grocery today. I do not care how good my preliminary planning and shopping is, I will always, always come up on Wednesday before Thanksgiving with a handful of things I need. In this instance, I had forgotten to get baking powder when I was at the grocery Monday (because how often do you buy baking powder???), and I needed chili sauce for the curry dip. So while I was at it, I picked up crusts and condensed milk for the pies, and frozen pancakes and chicken nuggets for AGC, whose gustatory horizons are somewhat limited. And Pickapeppa sauce so I can make Pickapeppa pecans if I get around to THAT. 

In the morning I plan to have it so things run like a well-oiled machine. Roast the breast, smoke the legs. Bake the dressing and sweet potatoes. Make the mac and cheese. Prep the roast the Brussels sprouts, and finish baking the rolls, which I plan to par-bake today. But I had to sit down for a bit and rest after dismembering the turkey, whom Child A has named Herbie. Drag salads and such out of the fridge, and set up a buffet. 

And then enjoy, at least until it’s time to clean up and put stuff away.

I hope you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em have the most wonderful Thanksgiving ever, that your turkey isn’t dry, and that you don’t think of anything you absolutely must have from the store!


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