Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cheap Bastid's The Bird, Bird, Bird--The Bird is the Word

Today’s the day. I’ve got the day off and then I’m working for the next 6. So today I have to do up my grocery list for Thanksgiving and check out where I can get “The Bird”.

But then again, we don’t buy a whole bird. Nope, there’s just the 2 of us—plus Carolyn’s Mom and brother and daughter Megan for Thanksgiving. Enough for a bird—but I get a whole turkey breast instead. Lots easier, and everyone seems to prefer white meat anyway. (Actually we’ll get 2 to make sure we can send Mama Stella home with a whole “lobe” of breast for left overs and so that we’ll have plenty of leftovers too). Now, that’s decidedly un-Cheap Bastardly but, what the hell, it’s Thanksgiving.

I’m looking for the Dolly Parton of turkey breast. Triple-D’s! Or bigger.

Then when I cook it on Thanksgiving, I’ll put it on the grill. I set up a “2-zone” fire with one burner turned off and the other burner set as low as it’ll go. This will let me cook that breast (in a foil pan with a small rack under it) to perfection in about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. And that leaves the oven available for all the other baked dishes.

And let me tell you, there’s something sensual in mixing up a couple of sticks of softened butter with garlic and chipotle and thyme and rosemary. Then slowly peeling the skin back on that breast and sliding your fingertips under the skin—kind of like how you always fantasized about sliding you hand under your girlfriend’s blouse to caress and fondle…oops, nevermind, that’s getting just a little bit weird.

Anyway, you have to season the meat. The meat is under the skin. So you’ve got to either stick your hand in there with the butter/seasoning mix or scoot a table spoon under there and squish it off through the skin. And all I do to the skin is a thin skim of cooking oil and then sprinkle some of the seasoning on it.

We’re all out there on a quest to find the perfect bird. Full-breasted. A bird that sings to us—“Hey, big spender!” A bird that our fantasies tell us should look like this.

Except I can’t buy it today. All the cooking shows and recipes say that you should thaw your bird out in the refrigerator. Now, how many people—other than 22 year old guys living in an apartment with a full size fridge with the only thing in the fridge being 8 beers, a third of a left over pizza and a half eaten sub sandwich—have enough room in their fridge for a whole bird to sit there for 2 or 3 days thawing? I sure don’t.

Actually I came up with a solution to that a few years ago. Ice chest! Just put the bird in it, close the lid and let the bird thaw. If need be you can add a bag of ice to maintain the thawed temperature.

So, here’s my idea of the perfectly cooked turkey breast. If I can get it off the grill looking like this I know that we’re going to have some great eating, some great leftovers and some great stock when I cook down the carcass the day after Thanksgiving.

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