Thanksgiving 2011: The Prep

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

November 23, 2011

Turkey Brine

The bucket and brine for last year's 22lb turkey. This bucket (with lid) was purchased as the end-all brining tool. This year, I'm using a cooler. Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

I love Thanksgiving. It warms the heart with memories, and it stirs the soul with the coordination it takes. It’s a perfect blend of my culinary dreams and project coordination skills: married on one delicious day.

That is, if all goes according to plan.

This year, I decided to get my turkey from our local farmer. We’ve been working with him for almost two years, and I’ve got 80% of our meat products out of the grocery store and in his control. So, I thought, why not the Thanksgiving bird. Heck, I’ll even buy two. If I had two 16lb turkeys, what joy would that yield at Christmas time.

All my tools have been purchased for larger turkeys. Last  year I maxed out my pan’s capability with a 22lb turkey. So, two 16lb or 18lb turkeys would be ideal.

The turkeys didn’t grow that way. They got bigger. In fact, many were in the upper 20lb range, some yielding over 30lbs!!

These are big birds. And, my bird is 28lbs. TWENTY EIGHT POUNDS!

What is a gal to do?

Tell her story. So, that’s what I did. Suddenly, my joyously planned occasion was turning into a dreaded chore filled with anxiety over how I’m going to brine and cook this bird. I am even exploring a new menu — so the turkey must be predictable!

One friend suggested a cooler for the brining. I just need to thoroughly clean it out. Then, another group I was with, for work, suggested I ask Levi’s school if they had a large pan in their kitchen. It turns out, they do! And, they are willing to lend me this one pan that I will return Monday.

The best news: The bird fits!

The Roasted Bird

Last year's 22lb turkey from New Seasons fit snuggly in my roasting pan. Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

Right now, Mr. Turkey is bathing in my bath, to help thaw (I forgot to take him out of the freezer yesterday (D’oh!)), then he will sit in our cooler for 12+ hours in a salt and citrus bath.

Tomorrow, I must have him in the oven by 6am.

As I review the list of items I plan to cook, and as I think about what else I need from the store, a thought has occurred. I think I can use all things purchased through my food club, that is, in my pantry for Thanksgiving. Cranberries in the freezer, pork sausage in the freezer, white potatoes instead of red…

Things are looking up. Problems have been solved with the help of my friends. Project coordination can commence.

Yea Thanksgiving!

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