My DIY Blog xmas special: Turkey, part 1
Ho ho ho, it’s xmas holidays off-topic time! Along this very ‘as it happened’ idea, I thought I’d DIY something completely different (in the form of a turkey) to celebrate the holidays. I selected two recipes to build upon, the apple cider brined turkey and bacon-wrapped turkey.
I should mention that I’m not by far an experienced chef nor do I know much about cooking. Nonetheless, to me cooking is DIY as much as electronics (plus I’m a sucker for anything “hands-on”), so I certainly won’t let the lack of knowledge in the finer nuances of this art stop me. Learning by doing applies equally much to both topics.
I won’t be following either of the recipes to the letter, so if you want the originals do visit the links above. Since I write this as I go along, I have no idea about the end results either. I’ve prepared a turkey a few times before, but those experiments have been far from good. Thank god my wife is going to oversee the project (while helping with the photos)!
Now then, let’s see what I end up with. This first part is simply about:
My past turkey experiments weren’t brined, so I was anxious to test it this time around. Based on the ‘apple cider brined turkey’ recipe, I left out ginger and replaced oranges with two clementines and a lemon on my recipe.. A ball-park ‘citrus’ flavor (if you will) as I didn’t have oranges at hand. Ice cubes were replaced with whatever amount of cold water required to fill up the brining bag.
- 2l apple cider
- 1.5dl salt
- 1 dl sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely crushed black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon coarsely crushed allspice
- 6 whole cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 6kg turkey (thawed if frozen)
- 2 clementines, peeled and split to slices
- 1 lemon, quartered
- cold water to fill the brining bag
For the cider, I used a mix of generic non-alcoholic cider and Thatcher’s Old Rascal. Sticking strictly with the latter might’ve been great for flavor, but it seemed like a waste of perfectly good cider (brine gets tossed afterwards). Better have one (and more) for the chef!
After boiling the brine needs to be cooled down. Living in Finland is a benefit here: With the wintery weather outside (temp. -6°C atm), cooling down is a swift process. It took about equally long what I needed to prep the turkey and a brining container.
I didn’t have a large enough pot to brine the turkey in, so I desinfected a plastic trash bin and inserted two large cooking bags inside it. Bags equal less cleaning, and the the double layer comes handy in case the inner bag breaks in the process!
To soak the turkey entirely, filling up the bag after the brine required about 3l of cold water. This made me wonder whether the brine got thinned/watered down too much. Remains to be seen if double the brine would’ve been a better approach..
Just to have a little electronics DIY flavor, I decided to seal the bag with zip ties :)
And that’s it for part 1. The turkey will enjoy the company of brine for 12 hours (or so), and then it’s oven time. Stay tuned!