Thanksgiving in February! (AKA Adventures with Turkey and Sodium)

So there was this turkey. A Heavenly Hams turkey, to be precise. I got it via nefarious means, and it sat for awhile, lounging in my freezer and leering at me every time I went to get some ice cubes. You see, I’ve never made a whole turkey. The only sort of whole creatures I’ve worked with before, aside from various crustaceans, have been cornish hens. Which, I should mention, are puny. So I was quite intimidated by the prospect of somehow dealing with this ginormous turkey in my freezer. And boy did it know it, lording that fact over me for weeks on end, watching me quaver as I located lesser foodstuffs in it’s new icy abode. However, my bravery soon grew large enough to match my stomach, and the time came to cook that little bastard.

My next concern was locating a container for the thing. I managed to finally wedge it into a pot. The turkey lapped out of the top only slightly, though I was unable to actually put the lid on it. I had concerns that the bird would get dried out, but I was saved by two things. The first was that it was still rather nicely covered with a turkey skin that I planned on disposing with as soon as the turkey was cooked all the way. Some people actually eat turkey skins, which I find to be an abomination of all things good and pure in this universe. The second part that saved the turkey from the fate of dryness was the fact that it had been seriously injected with some sodium liquids at some point, for preservation purposes and/or flavor purposes.


About 90 minutes later, the already-cooked turkey was now properly hot again, and ready to be gnawed upon. I had some mixed feelings about this bird. The meat was quite saltier then I was used to home-cooked turkey being (not made by me, in the “wow, someone else cooked a turkey that I get to help eat!” sense). However, the meat was rather tasty as compared to lunch meat turkey, still having the over-saltiness going on, but having more flavor, as well as the texture being far superior to any processed slice o’ bird. I ended up hacking the turkey up into pieces, and my freezer now contains several “Hey, this can make a few meals!” sized bags of turkey.

The next adventure was the gravy. I’ve never made homemade gravy before, and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to try. So, of course, I decide to base my entire process of making gravy off of remnants of knowledge left over in my head from conversations I’ve had with other people about gravy. Err, apparently I hadn’t had all too many gravy conversations in my life. Here’s now I made my gravy, and keep in mind that you should not follow these instructions unless you want salt paste: I heated up the remnant juices in the pan, and whisked in some corn starch until it started to look vaguely like gravy. Yup.

Gravy...or salt paste?

It almost had the appearance of gravy, minus the weird chunks. I just figured my whisking wasn’t up to par. Anyhow, I went ahead and slopped it all over a piece of bread. Mmmm salt paste! It’s like I put apple butter on bread. Except instead of being made with apples, it was made with turkey. And instead of using sugar to make it, salt was used. MMMMMMMMMM.

turkey dinner

The lesson in all of this: Don’t make gravy like I do.

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