For several years before we started full time RVing we hosted Thanksgiving at our little condo in Miami Beach for any family and friends we could rope into coming. We would clear out all the living room furniture, rent two long tables and chairs, and set up for as many as 17 people. Fantastic and loud events, everyone of them.
Once we began our RV adventures things obviously changed. For 2015 we did Thanksgiving with my mom and stepdad Tim in Wilmington with just the four of us. Back in Florida this year we had a similarly intimate gathering at Xavier and Joy’s; just the four of us and a lot of food.
Aside from gathering with friends and families, Thanksgiving gives me the opportunity to cook another Turkey, something that has become one of my favorite kitchen oriented tasks ever since I learned the secret to making the bird come out delicious. As many of you can attest, cooking something as large and unwieldy as a turkey has the danger of drying out a significant portion of the lean white meat in order to get the fatty dark meat up to proper temperature. As I have no doubt written before, there is a simple two step solution to this problem that results in fantastically juicy meat of both types and also cuts the cooking time in half or even less.
I am a bit evangelical about this, so expect to hear the same spiel this time next year: First, brine the turkey for 24 hours. Dissolve a cup of salt and half a cup of sugar in hot water, add whatever spices catch your fancy, cool it with some ice, then completely submerge bird in the solution along with more water and a bunch of ice. Keep the whole thing either refrigerated or in a cooler over night. This process infuses the turkey with additional moisture that protects the fragile white meat during the cooking process.
Second, spatchcock the thing. This is a fancy word for cutting out the backbone and then butterflying it. This will result in a much flatter and wider lay out, which allows for more evenly distributed heat and a much faster cook time. This year we did our 12 pounder in only 90 minutes, most of it at 350 but cranked up to 450 for the last ten minutes to brown it.
We supplemented this centerpiece with short pork ribs, mashed potatoes, spicy corn, rice, salad. Thanks to Joy and Xavier for hosting us in their driveway for another four days, and letting me create a mess in their kitchen again. I hope to do the same to some Central Florida relatives abode over the Christmas holiday.