Rhythm 'n QUE presents:  Another Excruciatingly Detailed Real-Life Adventure
    
The Two-Hour Turkey!

    
It's not Thanksgiving without a turkey, right?  Well, we might be willing to deviate from that, because let's face it, all the things we've done to turkey -- roasting since early-morning darkness, frying, mummifying in butter-soaked cheesecloth -- are mostly resorted to in order to disguise the fact that turkey is often a dry, stringy experience that one needs a holiday to justify.

We have, however, finally found one way to cook the turkey that made it a pure delight.  And wouldn't you know, we took pictures!

The stats: 15 pound turkey. Put it in brine** midnight Tuesday. Removed from brine midnight Wednesday, and it sat in a bag in the chiller for 12 hours-- removed noon Thursday. Here it is, in all its raw glory, with some herbed compound butter next to it ready for slathering. You haven't lived until you've picked wet bay leaves out of your bird's armpit.
    
    
VQ had prepped the Weber with the rotisserie ring, a drip pan and some coals.
    
    
He'd taken out the battery pack and rigged the temp probe so that he could monitor it from inside the house -- yes, it's raining here in the Ninth Ring of Hell! The cool weather made it feel very festive.
    
    
The compound butter was applied under the skin, and all over the outside of the bird, and a little more seasoning applied. We put a couple of silicone trusses on it, then slid in the spit and fixed the prongs.
    
    
Out to the Weber it went, and we let it go for a spin. It immediately became apparent that flexing the bird did as it turned around meant that the wing truss was going to wander, so we tried some string. VQ added some more briquettes and a little chunk of cherry, and we were off to the races.
    
    
The Weber settled right in at 350, and held steady. An hour later, we went to check progress. By this time we'd abandoned both trusses, and just let it flail. The bird was oozing butter foam from everywhere, and keeping itself basted as it turned.
    
    
VQ used his supremely accurate and definitively swift black Thermapen to determine that at an hour and 15 minutes, it was already reading 148 in the thigh and 139 in the breast!   FREAKOUT!!!  I ran into the house to slam the sides into the oven.

At two hours exactly, that bird was DONE. I prayed that the rest time would be enough to finish heating the side dishes. We left the prongs in while it rested, so it wouldn't pour juice all over. It sat for a half-hour in its own private little foil tent.
    
    
VQ took the first hack out of the breast so that we could see the white meat -- and let me tell you, that meat was WET. He sliced it thick like steak, and when we cut chunks on the dinner plates it just ran with juice.
    
    
The boys, connoisseurs of roasted turkey drums from the RenFaire, assured us that the dark meat was superb. All in all, I am going to have to enter this one in the record books as a very satisfactory method! But if I count on it to be done in two hours next year.... well, I'll just have everything else ready to go. 
    

    
** ...Brine?  You don't have a favorite brine yet?  This made enough for my 15-pound turkey:

1/2 C non-iodized salt (I use Trader Joe's Celtic gray sea salt, or kosher salt)
1 pkg fresh herbs for poultry (rosemary, thyme, sage)
1 pkg fresh marjoram
5 big cloves garlic, halved
1 tsp celery seed
5-6 smallish bay leaves
4 slices fresh ginger
2 big semi-tart apples, quartered
1 large onion, quartered
1 bottle white wine
Cold water & ice
Ziplock XL bag (one of the really big blue ones)
Full size pan big enough to hold your turkey
Cable tie

Put the bottle of wine in the fridge or freezer. Put salt, herbs, ginger, apples and onions in a big saucepan or dutch oven, and add just enough water to cover. Heat it to a simmer, stirring once or twice until salt is dissolved and fresh herbs are wilted, then turn it off and and leave to cool.

When brine starter is cool, open up the big blue zipbag and stand it in the roaster pan. No, I don't know if they're definitively food safe, complaint line forms to the left. Open the bottle of wine, hope it wasn't slushy like mine was when I pulled it out of the freezer! Put the cooled brine starter in the bag, including all the vegetation, then add the cold wine and some ice and stir. Drop in your turkey, and don't panic if it isn't completely covered. Mostly close the zipper on top, and burp most of the air out of the zipbag. Pull the bag up so that the brine covers the bird, twist the bag right above the brine level, then secure the twist with the cable tie. Then finish zipping the top of the bag, because the cable tie doesn't guarantee that it won't leak.

Stash turkey in the refrigerator or garage. I put mine in the Carlisle (an insulated food carrier, much like an ice chest) with a pan of ice racked above it. You could put yours in an ice chest, with bags of ice on top of the turkey to keep everything well- chilled.  Brine the bird for 24 hours, then drain off all the brine and vegetation and let the bird rest in the reefer or Carlisle for another 12 hours, so that the extra moisture will redistribute in the meat.

 

    


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