Thanksgiving is just over a week away and already a turkey frenzy is taking over. We, at Ace Hardware, are not immune. In fact, we’re right in the middle of it.
Most people think of the grocery store when they contemplate their Thanksgiving Feast. We’d like to propose that you think of us first. Here’s why:
We have every conceivable item needed to roast a turkey, fry a turkey, smoke a turkey or grill a turkey. We have fryers that fry the traditional way (and the best oil for frying) and fryers that fry without oil. (yep you heard us right…no oil) We also have specialty charcoal, wood chunks, grills, smokers, oil, thermometers, rubs, marinades and injectables. Think of us as Turkey Central.
We also have recipe books with tips on grilling the entire Thanksgiving meal.
To get you started here are some of our favorite recipes and helpful turkey tips:
Let’s start with fried turkey.
Thanksgiving would be no fun with a serious accident so here are some safety tips to be mindful of if you plan on frying your turkey:
Never leave the fryer unattended.
Fryers should always be used outdoors. Place the fryer on a solid level surface a safe distance from buildings and flammable materials.
Do not overfill.
Don’t use on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage or enclosed space.
Keep children and pets at a safe distance.
Wear long sleeves and safety goggles to protect from splatter.
Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before it is placed in a fryer.
Keep a fire extinguishers close to hand.
Many chefs recommend brining a turkey before frying. Here is a simple brining recipe courtesy of Chef Alton Brown at the Food Network:
6 quarts hot water
1 pound kosher salt
1 pound dark brown sugar
5 pounds ice
Place the hot water, kosher salt and brown sugar into a 5-gallon upright drink cooler and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve completely. Add the ice and stir until the mixture is cool. Gently lower the turkey into the container. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure that it is fully immersed in the brine. Cover and set in a cool dry place for 8 to 16 hours.
Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking.
If you’re interested in Alton’s frying technique, you can find the recipe here at the Food Network.
Of course if you fry, grill or smoke your turkey, that means that you do it without stuffing inside the bird. Here’s a great recipe for oven baked stuffing or as they call it in the south…dressing.
These “Stuffin Muffins” courtesy of Rachael Ray at the Food Network are simple and delicious:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 stick butter, softened
1 fresh bay leaf, available in produce department
4 ribs celery and greens, from the heart, chopped (save time and purchase celery already washed, trimmed and cut into sticks, this makes chopping fast work)
1 medium to large yellow skinned onion, chopped
3 McIntosh apples, quartered and chopped
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
8 cups cubed stuffing mix (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
2 to 3 cups chicken stock, available in paper containers on the soup aisle
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil to skillet and 4 tablespoons butter. When butter melts, add bay leaf and add the vegetables as you chop them, celery, onions then apples. Sprinkle the vegetables and apples with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Cook 5 to 6 minutes to begin to soften vegetables and apples then add parsley and stuffing cubes to the pan and combine. Moisten the stuffing with chicken broth until all of the bread is soft but not wet.
Butter 12 muffin cups, 2 tins, liberally with remaining butter. Use an ice cream scoop to fill and mound up the stuffing in muffin tins. Remove the bay leaf as you scoop the stuffing when you come upon it. Bake until set and crisp on top, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove stuffin’ muffins to a platter and serve hot or room temperature.
Finally, no matter how you prepare your bird, proper food safety is important. For comprehensive tips on how to keep your feast from becoming a germ fest, go to http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/types/turkey/
Don’t forget condiments AND dessert. We’ve got that covered too!