How to Cook Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Jane Snow gave some great tips on cooking the bird for Thanksgiving.  In case you are

[caption id="attachment_257" align="alignright" width="112"] Jane Snow[/caption]

not familiar with Jane, she was the former food editor of the Akron Beacon Journal, and is still one of the most respected “foodies” in the area.  You can go to www.janesnowtoday.com and sign up to get her weekly cooking column e-mailed to you.  There are always great tips and recipes.  This is a sample of her weekly column.

For Friendsgiving earlier this month, I brined two turkeys and roasted one in my kettle grill and one in the oven. Hands down, everyone’s favorite was the grill-roasted bird. Oven-roasting is more convenient, though, so I’ll once again share directions for both methods. First, brining: From 1 to 3 days before Thanksgiving, stir  1 cup of salt into a half gallon of warm water to dissolve the salt. Unwrap thawed turkey and wash inside and out. Place turkey (minus neck and giblets package) in a large food-grade plastic bag or a sparkling-clean plastic cooler (my method). If using a plastic bag, reduce the salt by half.  Add the salt water and enough cold water and other liquids (orange  juice, white or red wine) to cover the turkey. Toss in a few cloves of peeled garlic and sprigs of fresh thyme, if desired. Store the bagged turkey in the refrigerator; keep the cooler-brined turkey cold by adding large chunks of ice daily (I freeze ice in quart containers). When ready to cook, wash the turkey inside and out, removing pads of fat from the edge of the body cavity. Pat dry and rub the skin with oil or butter.

Grill-roasting: Build a large (30-briquette) charcoal fire on one side of a kettle grill. Soak hickory chips in warm water. When coals have ashed over, add a couple of more briquettes and place an oblong foil pan in the bottom of the grill, on the side opposite the coals. Add a half-inch of water to the pan. Scatter a few wood chips over the coals. Place cooking grid over the coals and pan. Place turkey on a rack on the cooking grid over the foil pan. Cover with lid, making sure vents are fully open. Cook for about 3 to 31/2 hours for an 18-pound turkey, adding more briquettes and soaked wood chips and turning the turkey every 45 minutes so that both thighs get time near the coals. The turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh not touching the bone registers 180 degrees. Let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature, tightly covered with foil, before carving.

Oven-roasting: I use the high-temperature method, which means the stuffing must be cooked separately (make a very moist stuffing, cover pan with foil and bake 30 minutes before serving). Truss the turkey if desired and place on a wire rack over a roasting pan, making sure no part of the turkey extends over the sides. Pour about a half-inch of water into the pan. Roast uncovered in a preheated, 475-degree oven for 13/4 hours for an 18-pound turkey or 2 hours for a 22-pound turkey, covering breast loosely with foil if it begins to brown too much. Remove turkey from the oven when the temperature registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, not touching the bone. The turkey will continue to cook as it rests. Cover tightly with foil and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  Until next time, From our Butcher Block to your Table.


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Sauerkraut, Blackeyed Peas, Mashed Potatoes

It doesn’t get much better than this.  I was born in Texas, so we don’t have sauerkraut without blackeyed peas and mashed potatoes.  The Butcher has been wanting sauerkraut so this past week I dutifully made him a healthy sized batch.  This ought to hold him until New Year’s Eve.

Sauerkraut, Sherman Provision Style

3 pounds of trimmed boneless pork loin

2 pound bag of sauerkraut

16 oz. jar of sauerkraut

3 apples peeled, cored and sliced

3 Tablespoons of brown sugar

I browned the pork loin in the oven.  I put some Olive Oil on a cookie sheet and heated the oven to 400 degrees.  I seared both sides (10 minutes on each side).

I layered the sauerkraut (both varieties) in a roaster pan.  I put the apples and brown sugar on top of the sauerkraut.  I put the pork loin on top of the apples.  I turned the heat down in the oven to 350 degrees and cooked it for 5 1/2 hours.  The pork loin should be falling apart.  Stir to mix the pork into the sauerkraut and apple combination.

Blackeyed Peas

2 pounds of Blackeyed Peas

Smoked meat (I used about 2 pounds of smoked porkchops)

1 onion diced

Soak the Blackeyed Peas for several hours, and rinse well.  Put the Blackeyed Peas in a roaster pan, add the onions and the smoked meat.  Add enough water to cover the blackeyed peas.  Put on stove and cook over medium heat until boiling.  Turn down to simmer, cover with a lid and cook several hours until Blackeyed Peas are tender, and smoked meat is falling apart.  Keep checking to make sure you have enough water.  You don’t want to burn your blackeyed peas.

Red Skinned Mashed Potatoes

5 red skinned potatoes, washed and quartered

3 Tablespoons of butter

1/2 cup of milk

Boil potatoes for 45 minutes until fork tender.  Use a hand masher.  Add butter and milk to the potatoes and mash.

Dip the potatoes on the plate.  Cover with the sauerkraut mixture.  Put the Blackeyed Peas right next to the potatoes.

You are in for some good eating!  Until next time, From our Butcher Block to your Table.

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Sherman Provision Oven Fried Chicken

I have a couple of priceless stories to tell you about this recipe.  Pam, who is a regular customer at my store, told me she couldn’t cook.  I told her that was nonsense, that cooking was simply “following directions”.  I gave her my Oven Fried Chicken recipe.  I Mauri-1told her to put potatoes in the oven and to make a salad, and dinner was ready.  That was on Wednesday.  On Saturday Pam was back in my store.  She was ecstatic.  She had made the dinner for her husband as a surprise.  He loved the chicken.  He told his wife to quit her job and start a catering business with this recipe.  I had another customer who shall remain nameless.  I had given her the Oven Fried Chicken recipe.  She was in the store and I heard her tell The Butcher she needed to talk to me.  I went out to see her, not knowing what to expect.  She told me, “Honey, I made that Chicken recipe for my boyfriend.  We have been dating for 5 years, and after he ate that chicken, he almost proposed to me.”  I told her if he didn’t propose after he ate the Oven Fried Chicken that she should look for someone else.


4 Whole Chicken Breasts with skin and bones (split so you have 8 breasts)
2 cups of Runion Mix
2 TBLS Sherman Provision Rotisserie Chicken BBQ Rub
2 TBLS Butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Moisten chicken breasts and shake off excess water
Combine Runion Mix, and Sherman Provision BBQ Rub in a plastic bag and shake
Add chicken one piece at a time and coat with the Runion/Seasoning mixture

Put butter on a cookie sheet (with at least 1 inch edge), place in preheated oven
After butter is melted, place chicken (fat side down) on the cookie sheet
Bake for 35 minutes, turn and bake for additional 20 minutes

For boneless, skinless chicken breasts decrease cooking time to 20 minutes per side.

Be sure to pick up your very own copy of this recipe the next time you are in the store.

Until next time…From our Butcher Block to your Table.

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