Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. As a kid, it was always my job to create the cornucopia centerpiece on the dining table (we had one of those conical-shaped baskets that you see in depictions of the Pilgrim buffet); and I took great pride in arranging the pineapple, piles of pomegranates, tangerines, and nuts-in-the-shell so they spilled out into a perfect trail on the table.
Mom always cooked the turkey outside in our 1970s-era lime-green Weber Kettle. Apparently, it’s quite the sought-after item now, as Weber no longer makes this vintage citrusy shade.
The pros of her BBQ’d turkey: It lent a nice, smoky flavor, which was great. And it kept cooking the turkey when we lost power on Thanksgiving one year. (Also great.) The cons: It involved a laborious regimen of briquette-stocking and vent-turning that was so precise, it required copious handwritten notes to get through the process. I made sure to copy down these instructions, so that when I got married and was living in New York, I was able to continue Mom’s BBQ’d- turkey tradition on the east coast.
I must confess that I no longer BBQ the turkey; though I do brine it in a giant beverage cooler on our deck overnight. Works great and keeps out small animals that attempt to eat the raw turkey while you sleep.
The brining also allows me to cook my turkey in the oven and still produce something amazingly juicy and tender. It requires a big-ass roasting pan (18 inches, to be exact), which I purchased a few years ago for $20. I use my husband’s strong, childhood friend, Herb, to lift said turkey out of the day-old brine and hoist it into the oven. He does this happily–despite the salmonella drippings that inevitably land on his shoes–as I allow him to eat the leftover whipped cream after dinner.
I saw a roasting pan at Williams-Sonoma recently–it’s stainless steel and barely big enough to hold the 20-something-pound bird I’m accustomed to cooking. It costs $160, which also includes a personal monogram.
Frankly, I prefer my cheapie monster pan at a fraction of the price. Sure, you have to be careful about scratching the nonstick coating…but I pull it out but once a year and am willing to be careful (and monogram-free) for the significant savings.
Here, a few goodies you’ll be thankful for….
Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving….