Tag Archives: turkey

Thanksgiving Cooking Emergency? Here’s Some Help

Got cooking questions this morning and mom finally left the phone off the hook? Here are a few places to look for help:

The Splendid Table radio program will have a two-hour on-air helpline, starting at 8 a.m. our time. Call 1-800-537-5252. They’ll also host a live online chat at , and will take questions there.

Not sure if that turkey is safe to eat? You can call the USDA Meat and Poultry hotline at 1-888-674-6854. Live people answer the phone. Hours, however, are limited to 8:00 a. m. to 2:00 p. m., Eastern Time.

Butterball has a hotline on which you can talk turkey with trained experts. Call 800-288-8372.

For your baking issues, Betty Crocker has tips on their website as well as a hotline 1-800-446-1898.

And then, there’s always 911 for when you accidentally put that frozen turkey in the deep fryer.

Things You Shouldn’t Do With a Turkey, Part 1

This Thanksgiving, I’m rehashing a project photographer Carolyn Yaschur and I put together in a bout of silliness. It was intended for one of our old entertainment sites, but since it sort of involves food, I’m reprising it this year for The Food Life.

For those who haven’t seen it already, I was hoping it would provide a little Thanksgiving meal-planning stress relief.

I’ll publish part two with another video and a couple more photos of “Things You Shouldn’t Do With a Turkey” at about noon Wednesday.

You Shouldn’t Take a Turkey to the Beach

Carolyn J. Yaschur | Kitsap Sun
Carolyn J. Yaschur | Kitsap Sun

You Shouldn’t Play Poker With a Turkey


You Shouldn’t Take a Turkey To Prom


You Shouldn’t Play Football, Walk a Dog or Bungee Jump

In retrospect, we probably shouldn’t have wasted a turkey (or Turkey’s little cousin), and we probably should have waited until he defrosted before shooting video, but hopefully it gave you a little chuckle.

Leftover Turkey Recipes: Turkey Chilaquiles and more

Yeah, there’s sandwiches, casseroles, shepherds pies and turkey noodle soup, but I was looking for something that was not even close to traditional Thanksgiving food. And I found one in Bon Apetit Cookbook: Fast, Easy, Fresh. It’s a little Mexican dish, and it’s delicious.

Turkey Chilaquiles

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onion, divided
2 cups diced cooked turkey
1 4-ounce can diced mild green chiles
3 cups purchased medium-hot salsa with chipotles and garlic (from about two 16-ounce jars)
4 cups unsalted tortilla chips
2 cups crumbled queso fresco, cotija cheese, or feta cheese (about 8 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Sour cream

Preheat oven to 450-degrees. Heat oil in a heavy large ovenproof skillet. Add 1 1/4 cups onion; sauté until onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and green chiles; sauté 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in chips. Sprinkle with cheese. Place skillet in oven; bake just until cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup onion and cilantro; drizzle with sour cream.

More turkey leftover resources:

The Seattle P-I has an article called “You Won’t Believe It’s Leftover Turkey” with a recipe for turkey and ham pizza as well as a recipe for turkey fried rice.

In the Kitsap Sun, In the Kitchen columnist Ann Vogel offered recipes for a low-calorie Tex-Mex turkey chili, an herbed mashed potato soup and a turkey and fresh fruit luncheon salad.

Examiner.com has a recipe for something called a Hot Brown, an delicious open-faced turkey sandwich created in Kentucky.

The Oregonian’s food section has recipes for a Turkey and White Bean Escarole Soup, a hearty, noodle-y Baked Turkey Tetrazzini and others.

How to Prep Poultry, a Video

I wanted to make a little how-to video on prepping a turkey, but there was no way I was going to cook a turkey this weekend, so I practiced with a chicken — and videotaped it. Later in the week, I’ll share the great chicken recipe that went along with thie little chicken. So enjoy my cheesy little video and the tips I’ve written afterward. You can watch the full-sized version at kitsapsun.com/videos/

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When Turkeys Go Ballistic

Here’s a recipe for disaster: several gallons of flammable liquid and an open flame. These are the two main elements involved in deep-fried turkey, which explains the inherent appeal to chefs of the male persuasion. But if you don’t want to lay waste to everything within a five-mile radius of your back porch, you’d do well to follow the advice of champion turkey caller (and pretty good deep-fried turkey cooker) Al Prante.

Prante of Vaughn is president of the Narrows Strutbusters Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. His freezer is amply stocked with wild turkeys, and when Thanksgiving rolls around, his wife Cheryl gets a break from cooking the bird.

One advantage of deep-frying a turkey is that it’s fast, Al said. He can cook an 18-pound bird in an hour. Another advantage is taste. Al injects the raw bird with marinade, and the cooking process infuses the meat with flavor.

The other great thing about deep-frying turkey is that it’s incredibly dangerous. One can experience not only the thrill of the hunt, but the challenge of trying not to burn down the house. Al, thrill-seeker though he may be, takes a number of precautions when preparing his bird for consumption.

First of all, forget the back porch. Al sets up his deep fryer in the driveway, well away from the garage with a  “spatter pan” underneath.

Second, he makes sure the turkey is thoroughly thawed. “People who put a frozen bird in that pot are just asking for an explosion.” (Don’t mention you heard it on the Kitsap Sun.)

Don’t try to do a turkey larger than 20 pounds in a deep fryer, Al advises. Better to cook two 15-pounders than get in over your head with a 30-pounder.

Third, Al carefully measures the amount of oil that will actually be needed to avoid spillovers. Planning ahead, what a novel idea. He puts the turkey in the empty pot then fills the pot with water enough to cover the bird. He removes the bird and measures the height of the water from the top of the pot down. He subtracts another 1/2 inch to account for expansion of the oil during heating, and marks the level to which he should fill the pot with oil. For an 18-pound bird, he uses about 4 gallons of oil. (Some recipes recommend peanut oil, but Al uses corn oil from Costco because it is cheaper, and he can’t tell the difference.) Al than dries the inside of the pot and the bird (inside and out) because oil and water don’t mix.

He lights the propane flame and heats the oil to 350 degrees. Meanwhile he has injected the turkey with marinade. His preferred brand is King Cooker, available at most sporting goods stores. It comes in a number of different flavors. Al’s favorite is garlic butter and herb, with cajun spice a close second. He has tried, with good success, injecting each half of the bird with a different flavor. Like a doctor giving a novocaine shot, Al pokes around to infuse a wider area of flesh with the liquid.

When the oil is ready, Al puts on his protection, an apron and good quality rubber gloves that go up to his elbows. He grabs the bird by the legs and ever so slowly lowers it into the oil, as it hisses and spatters like an angry cat. How slow should you go? Al takes two to three minutes to ease the turkey into its bath, often stopping for a few seconds at a time.

Allow 3 1/2 minutes per pound.


Happy Thanksgiving.

Chris Henry, South Kitsap reporter

The Secret to Super-Moist, Juicy Turkey

My turkey triumph came a few years back after reading a newspaper article on brining. It assured me that soaking the raw turkey in a bath of salty water, was THE way to ensure your turkey comes out moist and juicy from the oven. And, it can reduce cooking time by up to a half hour for a 12-pound bird. The Cooking for Engineers blog has a great explanation about how it actually works.

There’s debate as to whether a brined turkey tastes better and it’s effects on the gravy.

But I have to say, it’s one of the best turkeys I’ve had (next to my mom’s, of course).

A couple things to remember before trying this, though: If you’re going to brine, don’t buy a Kosher or self-basting turkey or it’ll end up too salty. Also, make sure you’re going to have enough room in the refrigerator and that the weight won’t bust one of your shelves.

Below is a basic brine recipe. Some prefer to use stock instead of some water (like a recent Alton Brown recipe , but you’ll have to reduce the amount of salt to make up for what’s in the stock. It’s really pretty flexible.

Basic Brine
1 cup of kosher salt (reduce to about 1/2 cup if using table salt)
1/2 cup of sugar (optional)
ice cubes
1 gallon of water

Boil about two quarts of the water with the salt, sugar and seasonings, just enough to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add ice cubes to cool the mix down to 35-degrees and mix it with the remaining water in a large stock pot or plastic bucket.

Put in turkey, breast-side down. Make sure it is completely immersed.

Put in refrigerator for 8-24 hours. The longer it stays in the brine, the saltier the meat will become.

Once you’re ready to cook the bird, rinse off the brine, pat dry and prepare the turkey as normal.

Turkey Day De-Stressing Tips, Take 1

Thanksgiving turkeyI’ve been researching some Turkey day tips, and during the next week and a half, I’ll share some of my own as well as things I found out in Internet-land.

My experience cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my family is a little limited since I’ve only been married three years. But I’ve watched and learned from my mom as I grew up, and had a few of my own learning experiences. The very first time I tried to make Thanksgiving dinner at my home with my family and my then-brand-new in-laws. I wanted the meal to be memorable and gourmet and perfect. I spent days looking up recipes, researching how to make the best turkey, what you could do to spice up the stuffing, all the way down to making a pumpkin cheesecake.

Come Thanksgiving morning, I realized all that time I spent reading up on what to do with a Turkey doesn’t do a whole lot of good when faced with a fleshy 12-pound mass o’ bird. So at about 8 or 9 in the morning I ended up with one hand holding a phone to mom and the other in the butt of a still partly frozen turkey trying to dig out the giblets. I’d already sent my husband out to get breadcrumbs for the stuffing and was about as mature as a five-year-old with a temper tantrum as I tried to explain to my mom that this turkey did not have said giblets. Somehow, magically she was able to talk me down from my cookzilla moment, but not before I sent my husband out to the store – again – for pretty napkins because those picnic napkins were NOT going to be good enough. Eventually I found the little bag of giblets and the neck, she talked me through a stuffing and even after a few more hiccups, I think that maybe the meal turned out just fine.

Lessons learned that day:

  • Keep it simple. Practice if you can, and if you have to look up a cooking technique, bag the recipe.
  • You can make the fanciest side dishes and salads on Earth, but in the end, all people want are the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. And plain pumpkin pie is just fine.
  • Put out snacks. Nuts, cheese and crackers, some veggies, just nothing too filling so you don’t feel bad when the turkey comes out an hour later than planned, and so you can keep people out of the kitchen.
  • Keep a phone handy and mom’s number on speed dial.

I’ll have more practical tips and recipes coming throughout the week, so stay tuned. Please also feel free to share some of your holiday de-stressing tips or holiday horror stories in a comment below.

(Photo by iStockphotos)