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2020 Thanksgiving Menu

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Blackhorse

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Do you think that straining it in a fine mesh strainer would significantly degrade the outcome as opposed to using cheesecloth. I mean other than visual clarity.
 

RSteve

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I actually strain twice if I want a clear stock. The first straining is with one strainer sitting inside another. If it's reasonably clear, that's the end.
If, however, I see particulate from the spice mix, I strain through cheese cloth. As I wrote earlier, I usually use some mixing pickling spices and they may break apart during the cooking process.
 

Old Corps Piper

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RSteve, (as I started saying over on the "coffee pod" thread) I like your idea of parting out the bird first. It would be a great way to make sure that all the cuts get cooked to order. For several years now I have been "buttonholed" with doing a smoked turkey. Can't complain, I started it and now the family expects it. At first I used a Weber, but now I have different grill/smoker and I honestly like the way the Weber did it better. I think it has to do with dome design... couldn't be me. Either smoker produces a delicious bird, but it does call for considerable watching/checking and getting consistent doneness can be challenging. I enjoy the cooking process, but despise the Thanksgiving clean-up... come to think of it, your method would help in that regard as well. Kudos!
 

RSteve

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My stock is cooling, ready to be jarred and frozen. I strained it twice through a doubled strainer and then through cheesecloth placed in the doubled strainer. The color is NOT golden. Because of the greens and red onions, it almost looks like beef stock, but is very tasty. Cleanup, as you might expect, was messy. Most of what went into the crockpot was fat, skin, and bone. The stainless steel bowls I used in the straining were very greasy. In a couple of hours, I'll cover the stock and put it out on my deck to get cold and for the fat to solidify on the top of the stock. I'll retain the fat and use it to make a roux with flour and corn starch for gravy.

If the stock doesn't freeze outside overnight, I expect that it'll be quite gelatinous.
 
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ZachJJ

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I am tired of the trad meal, too. I have never been a huge fan of turkey either. Pretty bland because we are Michigan Dutch, who have famously white bread palate and food preparation skills.
I found out that the local Chinese BBQ place will cook your turkey in their special glaze they use on the duck feast; ginger, garlic, lemongrass, et al. You buy your own bird and drop it off frozen. First-come picks your pick-up window. So we are picking up our cooked bird at 4:30 PM Thanksgiving day.
I am actually excited this year!
 

Blackhorse

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That sounds fantastic!

Me? I LOVE roast turkey. I love the white and the dark meat...the crackly crunchy skin...the stuffing...having it cubed with curry over rice...sandwiches with cream cheese and cranberry...ooooooo. I could do a turkey ever few weeks and have no problem with it.
 
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RSteve

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My stock, when cooling outside, didn't freeze, but the stock is very gelatinous, as I expected. What I didn't expect and is a surprising treasure is the quantity of fat that I skimmed off the top of the stock. I'll freeze it until I need it. I'll melt some of the chicken/turkey fat to baste the turkey parts and shave some solid fat to slip under the skin of the turkey breast. Yes, most folks use butter, but American butter is generally 30% water and European butter is about $7.00 lb. The poultry fat is a byproduct freebie and is already nicely seasoned. It also can be used in place of butter for dressing and mashed potatoes.

I don't dare think about the quantity of cholesterol in the chicken/turkey fat.
 

RSteve

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You buy your own bird and drop it off frozen. First-come picks your pick-up window. So we are picking up our cooked bird at 4:30 PM Thanksgiving day. I am actually excited this year!
How do you know that you're getting the turkey you brought to be cooked? Maybe a tattoo?
 

Blackhorse

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We’re seriously thinking about ordering a take-out turkey dinner from a famous local German deli/restaurant. Everything is included...even fondue... and the cost would be less than the groceries we’d have to buy to make the same thing! What’s up with that? Anyway, one way or the other we won’t go hungry.
 

RSteve

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We’re seriously thinking about ordering a take-out turkey dinner from a famous local German deli/restaurant. Everything is included...even fondue... and the cost would be less than the groceries we’d have to buy to make the same thing! What’s up with that? Anyway, one way or the other we won’t go hungry.
I vowed last year that I was going to do that for every major family dinner. Counting the money and time spent, it no longer seems worth it to me to cook. When I mentioned it to my daughters, both expressed their disappointment.
Truth be known, both as a volunteer and to help a friend who is a caterer, I've catered events that exceeded 700 people. There's little in the kitchen I can't do, but I'm just getting to the point that I simply don't want to do it anymore. This Thanksgiving I expect to be cooking my last big holiday meal. Post pandemic, when the world is "normal" I'll take the family to a restaurant.

Added: When I was at Costco last week I spoke with one of the the guys loading the chicken rotisserie. He said the week of Thanksgiving is probably their biggest week in the year for sales of rotisserie chicken. Keep in mind St. Paul-Minneapolis has a huge immigrant population who may celebrate Thanksgiving, but not with turkey.
 
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Blackhorse

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The dinner for eight I ordered is really good stuff. Some of it deli level goodies. Their apple walnut stuffing is killer. Average cost is $14 per person. Like you said, given the quality, time, effort and cost...it’s a really good thing.
 

ZachJJ

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How do you know that you're getting the turkey you brought to be cooked? Maybe a tattoo?
I guess I don't, but then I only dropped off a 10 lbs. bird (just me and the wife) so anything else is likely to be an upgrade. :censored:😅
 

Blackhorse

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I guess this year the smaller birds are in the highest demand. A ten pounder is about the smallest I’ve heard of. They figure a bit over 50% of a small bird is usable meat...so you’ll net about 5 pounds. Remembering the line from an Indiana Jones movie...”You have chosen wisely.”
 

ftrplt

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Total changeup for me/us this Turkey Day! Not going to visit wife's out-of-town family this week!! Having one couple join us for adult libations and dindin. Doing a big ol' prime rib roast, my world famous (!!!!) Caesar salad, garlic mashed potatoes, our friend's green beans & homemade rolls plus the usual quantities of beer and, of course, "red, red wine (rose & white also!!). Followed up with an apple crumb cake topped with fresh whipped cream!!! That ought to hold us for a while!!!!
 

D.L.Ruth

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We're trying something different this year. We ordered a Thanksgiving dinner from Cracker Barrel, it's a traditional dinner and we will only have to finish off the cooking.
 

Blackhorse

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It’s a delicious time of year. Not too good fer the turkeys...but the rest of us sure enjoy it!
 
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