If there is one thing I’ve learned about turkeys, it’s that people are very particular about their bird. What is the best way to prepare it? Is brining the best option, or is it a complete insult? Some swear by frying the turkey, but that could be dangerous. You could also tent your bird, but then foil is a terrible option and who would even think of that. The most important piece of advice that you must follow or you’re overcooking your bird is that it’s all about “the baste.” If you don’t baste every 30 minutes, then prepare for disaster. After searching for the perfect beginner-friendly advice, I became more confused and intimidated. I decided to shut off the computer and walk away. I was going to wing it.
Okay, it’s show time.
Turkey doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t require days to prepare. My turkey thawed fine and was ready for my herb butter rub. I made my rub with my favorite butter in the whole wide world, the Organic Valley European Style Cultured Butter. I witnessed my niece eat this butter, stick in hand as if it was ice cream and I cringed. With a satisfied, greased smirk on her face, she exclaimed, “Don’t knock it ‘til you try it, Aunt Kaylan.” Such wise words from a six-year-old because boy that butter is good! I added fresh rosemary, garlic, thyme, parsley and a little lemon zest.
Now for the turkey rub down. Touching raw meat isn’t one of my favorite things to do. I tried to rub the turkey down with zip-lock bags over my hands. It didn’t work. I cringed, I closed my eyes (this makes it worse by the way), and I protested each rub. I shot sarcastic, pleading looks at my laughing husband for help. Yeah, there was no way he was going to trade in his amusement.
I finally placed the turkey into the electric roaster. I added chicken broth, butter, rosemary, onions, guessed the cooking time and closed the lid. That was easy enough. The first half hour approached and I realized I was about to make the biggest mistake in turkey roasting. I didn’t have a baster. Here I am, on Thanksgiving without a baster. I completely ignored the fact that this piece of equipment was pretty darn essential. Naturally I attempted to be creative with ideas on how I was going to baste this bird. My husband (being the saint that he is) went to the store to save our Thanksgiving meal and my sanity. #hero
Want to know how I showed my appreciation to my husband after returning with the baster? Remember when I described myself as Ms. Frizzle in the kitchen? Well while I was attempting my hand at this new tool, I almost shot him and our sweet pooch in the face with blistering hot turkey juice. It shot out fifteen feet and landed across the kitchen, BEHIND ME. Smooth, Kaylan, real smooth.
After three hours of roasting it appeared the turkey turned out rather well. It wasn’t the prettiest of turkeys as far as presentation goes. I was supposed to tie the legs together but I didn’t. I’ll be honest; I used all my bakers twine for my Pinterest projects last year and didn’t think to replenish my stock. This caused the turkey to lay more flat compared to staying intact.
Reflecting back, this was a great challenge. I tried something new and I did pretty well at it! This gave me an opportunity to talk with coworkers who shared stories, advice and some words of encouragement (thank you!). My husband and I created hilarious holiday memories and continued on with family traditions while starting our own. Sorry for almost burning your face, I love you.
So when it comes to trying something for the first time, “Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.”