We made the annual pilgrimage (sorry I had to) to Guildford Ct on Thursday morning to celebrate Thanksgiving with the whole clan. Cindy was a gracious host once again. All the crazy sisters had been tasked with what they were each in charge of bringing. Their culinary expertise well honed after years of parties, holidays, mass family gatherings. Equip these women with a Costco card and a heat source and they can feed a football team on a level that is worthy of a food network special (Title: Cooking Through Chaos). Nana, the leader of the pack, brought the famous rice stuffing. The youngest generation fell in line as we have been trained to. We tackled the prep, presentation, and Mt Gay consumption with vigor. No small dog underfoot or hilarious maternal jab could slow us down. Connor and I whipped up some “Wallace mustard” and “boozy balls”, CIA trained Justin was in charge of the brine, baste, and general oversight. Austin, as he has since he was 4 years old, made apple sauce from scratch to perfection. Maggie and Laura chopped, whisked, and sipped with a grace none of the young men could come close to possessing. We also snuck in a tray of pigs in the blanket, as is the tradition.
The main man event went down outside around kitchen stadium north. A monster turkey, after being treated to a 12 hour brine, was lashed to the rotisserie spit for a 3 hour high temp smoke. Another smaller brethren of turkey number 1 was also brined 12 hours and got the expedited treatment in 3 gallons of 450* peanut oil. Between the two cooking stations we had a roaring fire to take the bite out of the air. As the sun began to set we heard the victory cries of the wild turkeys taking their nightly perch up in the trees – they had made it through another year. As the food was laid out across the long table, we too took our perch for the evening and reflected on what we had to be thankful for..the most important of which was all around us
Brine below (updates to follow):
For the fryer – 1 pound salt, honey, 4 bay leafs, 20 peppercorns, Which one? The fried one was 1 pound salt, honey, 4 bay leafs, 20 peppercorns, gallon apple cider, gallon stock, 1/2 pound ice.
For the smoked: 1 pound salt, 3 oranges, 3 apples, 15 cloves, 15 peppercorns, 2 sprigs of thyme and rosemary each, the a gallon of apple cider, gallon of stock, 1/2 pound ice