By Tom Butler
Good afternoon from Butler and Bailey Market. I hope everyone is having a good week. It has been a whirlwind around here the last few days. We spent the end of last week preparing for our holiday open house which was on Saturday. We had a great crowd for the event and I think it was a big success. All of the vendors that participated seemed very pleased with how you responded to their products and the things we prepared here in the store were a big hit also.
I usually spend a lot of time on the planning and execution of this event but this year the other folks on the staff pretty much did the whole thing on their own. It’s great to have a great staff!
I mentioned last week that we have food bags that you can buy to donate to second harvest. We have already filled up two big bins with bags and second harvest is coming today to pick up the first load. Thanks for your support of this cause. We will continue to do this through Christmas so hopefully we can reach our goal of 5000 pounds of food for second harvest.
Once we cleaned up after our open house our focus shifted to Thanksgiving Day. Our main focus is on taking care of business up until Thursday, but I imagine most of us are also focusing on getting a day off on Thursday. Thanksgiving is one of the three days a year we close. The other two are Christmas and Easter. It seems more and more grocery stores are staying open on these holidays but unless I get hit in the head real hard and lose my mind, we will always be closed. If we can’t make it on the other 362 days a year, I don’t think three more will help us.
I guess I will cook a turkey Thursday. For the last few years, family has come to our house for Thanksgiving and I have been in charge of the turkey which is kind of ironic since turkey is way down the list on things I like to eat. I always threaten to cook beef but I know my place within the family so I cook turkey.
I don’t have a secret recipe for cooking a turkey. I change it up a little every year. Sometimes I cook it in the oven and sometimes I cook it on my Green Egg. It just depends on time and my mood. There are a few things I always do before cooking, regardless of how I cook it.
The first thing I do is I always brine my turkey overnight. My brine may be as simple as a cup of kosher salt to a gallon of water or I might also add orange and lemon juice to it for some citrus flavor. I change it up based on what we have at the house. I know a lot of people that use apple cider in their brines so I may try that this year.
Butterball turkeys are somewhat brined when you buy them but the free range birds are not. I would definitely brine a free range bird. I don’t think it is as important with a butterball but I still do it. If you do brine your turkey, make sure you rinse it thoroughly after removing from the brine.
The next thing I do is let my turkey get to about room temperature before I start cooking it. This speeds up the cooking time and I think it cooks the bird more evenly.
Once the bird is close to room temperature I loosen the skin from the breast without detaching it. I do this by taking my hand and running it under the skin and keep working it back towards the legs until I have the skin separated from the whole breast. I then make a mixture of melted butter, olive oil, salt and pepper and minced garlic and basically pour it between the skin and breast. I then rub it in with my hand to make sure the breast is covered underneath the skin. I rub the same mixture on the outside of the turkey as well.
The last thing I do before cooking is put a bag of ice on the breast for about twenty to thirty minutes so the breast will be colder than the rest of the bird before cooking. The breast will usually cook faster than the thigh portion of the turkey so chilling the breast will even up the cooking time with the rest of the bird. This keeps me from over cooking the breast trying to get the rest of the bird done.
I always cook the bird at 325 and base my cook time on fifteen minutes a pound. It never seems to take that long so I check it frequently with a meat thermometer. Ideally I want to pull it out when the thigh is 165 to 170 degrees and hopefully the breast will be between 160 and 165. I will then let it rest with loose foil over it for at least thirty minutes and then carve.
That’s about all I know about cooking a turkey but they must turn out good since the family still gives me the honor of cooking it every year. I should probably screw one up then maybe they would vote to have beef on Thanksgiving?
I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving!
Thanks for letting us be a part of your community,
Click here to view past blogs
Butler and Bailey Market
7513 Northshore Dr.
Knoxville, TN 37919