Thursday, November 27, 2008

low hanging breastesses are best

On the turkey, that is. When you cook it.

My husband, SAM, used to take his morning coffee at a diner with a man named Harry who shared his prized Thanksgiving Day tips. Many moons past Harry was a cook in the Army Air Corps during WW II. He later owned a popular local restaurant. Somewhere in between Harry cooked for Lyndon Johnson when the President was visiting Bergstrom Air force Base. LBJ was impressed, especially with Harry's enchiladas. LBJ requested Harry, and his enchiladas, anytime he was at his Johnson City Ranch, an hour or so from here.

So over the course of the past several years, Harry gave SAM numerous kitchen pointers. The most enduring and the most shared is baking the turkey with the breast facing downward in the pan. This way the juices from the dark meat marinate the breast.
This advice resonated for SAM. He cooked a turkey for the first time during his former marriage. His wife came home and started laughing because he put the turkey in the pan upside down, breast side down. They laughed even more when they tasted the result: They both swore it was juiciest turkey they had ever eaten.

Harry's second turkey pointer: never cook bread dressing inside the bird. It dries out the meat. In order to cook the turkey long enough to get the dressing cooked through, the meat is overcooked. Overcooked equals dry. So cook the bread dressing on the side in the stove.

Third pointer: Stuff the bird with fruit. Jenn at Juggling Life knows about this one, and a few more tips besides. In Harry's words, use anything you've got in your fruit bowl. SAM uses apples, oranges and onions. The fruit juice bastes the meat with the most refreshing flavor. SAM also uses Harry's suggestion of placing garlic cloves into the side of the turkey.

Juicy turkey with a tang of orange and garlic. Breast side down. Good stuff. Thanks, Harry, goddess rest your soul. And thanks to watershed for the turkey pic.
Oh, and here's my one pointer: Husband cooks the bird while wife blogs about it. Fabuloso!

Happy Thanksgiving, all!


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

The turkey's nice, but the countertop is gorgeous!

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Mary said...

It seems to me these are good tips for roasting chicken too?

Happy Thanksgiving dear living in Texas friend!

Queers United said...

I am sad, not that I am judging I just assumed you would also be veg, oh wellz.

Vodka Mom said...

At first I thought you were talking about ME!! man. okay, so pass the wine.

Mental P Mama said...

Upside down is almost always my favorite way to go;) Blessings to you and yours.

Alison said...

Hi PhD ! I think I'm returning? A friend sent me your pussycat around the toilet bowl clip and I thought, "Gee oh gee, how I miss Phd!"

david mcmahon said...

G'day from Australia. I came here from Jennifer Harvey's site. Next time send your husband round to my place and I'll show him how to do an Aussie BBQ

Have a great Thanksgiving.

flutter said...

I hope you had a wonderful time!

Anonymous said...

That sounds absolutely scrumptious! I don't usually cook the turkeys for holidays, but will have to try these tips on a small bird some other time.

Your husband cooks the turkey??? Mine sleeps.

shrink on the couch said...

jenn -- wish I could claim the tile countertop, but it belongs to someone at watershed

mary -- yes, good point. I have made a whole chicken with the garlic inserts. deeeelish.

queers -- no, I'm not a veg. I do eat a lot of beans, cheese and eggs. But I must declare right here and now, I could not live without hamburgers. Or hotdogs. So yes, I'm quite sad in the vegetarian recruiter's handbook.

vodka -- no worries. I'm sure your low hangers are quite enticing too.

mental p -- thanks for the independent endorsement. It's a small club, I tell ya.

alison -- hi right back stranger! hope you ARE back. want to hear your update. thanks for stopping by.

david -- g'day to you, too. thanks for visiting all the way from Australia. will visit your site and hopefully learn a little about Aussie BBQ.

flutter -- definately had some wonderful turkey. hope you did, as well.

onebrick -- yes, his cooking started because he's an early riser and I'm a sleeper-inner. eventually all of my praise, "never had a better turkey" has led to a family tradition. you gotta try it sometime!

Glennis said...

What a perfectly sensible way to roast a turkey! I haven't roasted one in a long time, because we usually attend large potluck-style gatherings, or just the two of us - both cases where I don't roast turkey.

But I'll remember this idea!

Magpie said...

Damn. I could have written this post. Husband cooked the bird, started it breast side down, and stuffed it with lemons, onions and herbs...

AnnD said...

Hmmmm.....that is so cool! I am the last person in my life that would be baking a turkey anytime soon but I will pass on the message to those who do. You might be getting an email or something 20 years from now: "Okay, it's finally MY responsibility to bake the turkey! What were those tips you posted in 2008?"

Anonymous said...

I may well try these out at Christmas.

I rather like the last piece of advice though. I do generally leave the cooking to al on Christmas Day. Bit rich really, inviting your ex round and then expecting him to cook but he doesn't seem to mind!! At least the food is edible if he cooks it.

JCK said...

What a fabulous tip post! Great ideas.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Keep that man in the kitchen. ;)

Jennifer S said...

Well, your title gave me hope, just before you snatched it away again. :-)

That's a beautiful bird. I'll have to try the fruit trick next year.

Mary Alice said...

I do the fruit thing...but I have always put low hanging breastesses in a year I'll let em hang low.

e.beck.artist said...

this year, our turkey was cooked upside down... um... accidentally ... and it was GREAT ... so moist ... and now, come to find out, that's the right way!

Mels Place in Big Bear said...

You know that is a good looking bird when I'm stuffed with turkey and still want more!

brneyedgal967 said...

I did my first turkey breast side down by mistake. I cooked the subsequent 20 or so turkey's like that on purpose.

Yes - the best darn juiciest turkey you've ever eaten.

Another hint: turn it on it's back for the final 30 minutes uncovered to brown it - so it doesn't look so pale and naked when you set it to carve.

brneyedgal967 said...

On another note - if I were to roast myself, I could lay on my back and the breasts would fall under my wings to be on the bottom where the juices are.

Gravity sucketh.