AKA the first year I cooked the turkey. That's right. I accomplished what I had always envisioned to be an impossible task. I cooked a moist and flavorful 14 pound bird. Surely this must have been a fluke? I'm still not quite sure how I pulled this off. I spent the whole week before Thanksgiving worrying about the many ways that I could mess this up. Would it still be rock hard frozen Thanksgiving morning? Would I drop it? would my dog Maddie eat it? Would I burn? What if it was dry? Undercooked? These were my worries.
So what did I do? I spent the days before searching for recipes and advice. I called my mom numerous times a day to ask the many questions that came up. Particularly about her stuffing/dressing recipe. I gathered this information and the night before Thanksgiving I decided that instead of brining the turkey I would salt it. Kind of like brining, but a lot easier. All you have to do is cover the turkey with kosher salt. Lots of kosher salt. Then I left it in the fridge, uncovered, in the roasting pan to dry it out a bit. This helps the skin get crispy and browned.
The next morning I took the bird out about 2 hours before oven time and let it warm up a bit. Then I drove it over to my friends house where we would be having our Thanksgiving meal. I heated up the oven to 450 F and let it get nice and hot in the oven. I quartered an onion and an apple and stuffed them inside the cavity, but only after disgusting my friend as I pulled out the hidden neck. I grabbed some butter, put some under the skin of the turkey and melted the rest. I then covered the turkey in cheesecloth and poured the hot butter all over. I poured some chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting pan put the turkey in the oven and turned down the heat to 325 F.
We had other dishes to prep while the bird did its thing. So I left it alone for 45 minutes then basted it, I did this a few more times. Then the kitchen began to smell like lovely roasted turkey. Yum! So I took its temperature and it was ready to take a little rest. I pulled it out of the oven, covered it with foil and left it along while we finished the rest of the dishes: cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes. I had already baked 2 apple pies and made cranberry sauce the day before. This doesn't even begin to take into account all of the dishes our friends were bringing. Wow, there was going to be a lot of food.
People began to flow into the kitchen and once those sides were done I was presented with another daunting task. Carving the turkey. I had quickly looked up how to do so and followed some pretty basic directions. I could do with a little practice, but all in all I did a fairly good job with the carving. As I was carving I was astonished at how moist the turkey was! I couldn't believe it. All of that worrying for nothing.
We sat around for hours, eating and overstuffing ourselves with delicious food. It was a great Thanksgiving and I was so happy to get to celebrate it with all of my friends and all of that great food.