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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Summer has flown by. Kids are back to school, the weather is getting cooler and Halloween is right around the corner. That means it time. Time to reflect on where your journey has taken you this past year, time to concentrate on everything you are thankful for.  I have many. Although this past year(s) has introduced every major life event. We made it. The Huie's are still here and we are thankful. So very thankful for being here for another year. We are thankful for all of our friends, family and health. We are thankful to have a place to call home at the end of the day. We are thankful for having such awesome children and the means to take care of them, no matter how creative and frugally that may be. We are here, and we are here together with love and hope.

Thanksgiving to us, is a time to step back and take a moment to be thankful for the big things, the little things and of the hope for tomorrow.  Thanksgiving allows us some time together as a family to re-connect and enjoy a moment of togetherness because, life passes by so quickly, as you get older these moments become so much more precious. For this I'm thankful.

Okay, now that the reflection is out of the way, lets get to the best part of the Thanksgiving celebration. The FOOD!

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to cook!  I'm still traditional when it comes to holiday fare and this is what I have planned for this year..

Turkey. I love Turkey! I happen to make an unforgettable birdie. My heat of choice? The BBQ! 
Don't let that scare you, I know what your thinking.. "But it will be dry!" 
No it won't trust me because here is my secret to a deliciously juicy bird:

Things you'll need: 
• A Turkey! (I usually go for a large bird so we have left overs)
• A large cooler or brining bag
• Brine Mix 
• An aluminum roasting pan 
• Tin foil
• Applewood chips
• Bacon

To brine a turkey you'll need to have a large tub, cooler or brining bag that you can fully submerge your bird in.

I like the brining bags sold by epicure (food safe) but an old cooler will do the trick as well.

You'll want to start the brining process about 24 hours before you want to cook the turkey. This allows the brining procedure penetrate the Turkey and plump it up! 

I like to warm the water and stir in the brining solution so it dissolves easily.

Let the solution cool to room temperature and transfer into your cooler or brining bag. Gently lower the Turkey into the solution. If its cold enough where you live you can leave it in the garage or outdoors. If the temperatures aren't that cool where you are, that's ok. Put a few bags of ice in and keep it closed!

I can usually fit it in our fridge. Hey, it's a worthy sacrifice for 24 hours! 
Try to time it so that your turkey (in the brine solution) is allowed to come to room temperature before you are ready to cook it.

Have your pan ready, and slowly lift the turkey out and place it in he pan.
Pat dry with some paper towels.

Now is a good time to make your smoke pack.  Soak your applewood chips in warm water for about an hour, drain and wrap in a foil pack. Poke the pack on the top with a fork

Massage your Turkey with 2 tbsp of butter. Real butter.... All over.. Massage it with love! Then add a dry seasoning mix. You can buy a pre-made rub or make one of your own.

I like to make my own with sage, rosemary, cumin and fennel.

If you like to stuff your bird, now is the time to do it.
Personally, I don't. I prefer to do my stuffing separately, but I do cut in 1/2 an onion, orange and an apple and place them inside the cavity. 

Now you are ready to put the turkey on the BBQ.

Just kidding! Don't forget the most important part! Covering the turkey in.. You guessed it! Bacon! 
Place strips of bacon over the wings, thighs and breast, it not only adds a layer of protection, but also slowly bastes the turkey with bacon grease and keeps it nice and moist.

Pre-heat your grill and turn off the centre burners. Put the pan with the turkey in the centre (indirect method) place the smoke packs on either side and leave on medium heat

Let it smoke like this for about 1.5 hours.  Baste with the juices at the bottom of the pan. Check the temperature.. Cover and roast another 1.5 hours. 
Check the temperature adjust cooking as necessary. Leaving uncovered.

Turkey Farmers of Canada recommends cooking a whole turkey to an internal temperature of 170°F (77°C) in the breast and 180°F (82°C) in the thigh.

Once the internal temperature has been reached, remove, turn off the Bbq and tent the turkey. Let it settle for about 20-30 minutes.

Don't forget to use that yummy, buttery turkey juice to make gravy!

Carve and enjoy! 

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