Monday, December 5, 2011

Smoking a Turkey

I did not roast a turkey for Thanksgiving this year because my brother-in-law offered to do it. So what we did was take a turkey out of the freezer on Thanksgiving day that I had purchased last year when it was on sale before the holiday. I let it defrost for 4 days, and then brined it in the orange cooler for 3 days in a solution of 2 cups kosher salt, 1 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup Montreal Steak Seasoning. Boil the seasonings in enough water to dissolve into the water and add it to the cooler with enough additional water to submerge the bird and cool the solution down.  Then add ice on top of it all to keep it cooled down so the meat does not go bad.  You need to make sure it is iced during the three day process, but we only needed to add a little bit of additional ice once a day. 

After three days, we brought out our smoker that I got for FREE when we lived in an apartment complex for a short time in-between houses. Yes, that's right, this was left in the trash next to the dumpster after somebody moved out of the complex.  We fired up some charcoal briquettes, threw on  some Mesquite wood chips I purchased on clearance a couple of years ago. We put the turkey in the smoker at 11:00 a.m. and took it off at 4:30 p.m. We added additional charcoal and wood chips once during this process.

The finished bird awaiting consumption.  It was DELICIOUS!  The turkey was the BEST we had ever had, bar none. It was moist with just the right amount of smokiness. If you can get your hands on a smoker, I highly recommend it! Even if you don't have a smoker, the turkey tastes almost as good roasted in the oven after you brine it.  As I've mentioned previously in another post, turkeys are a great value for your money pound for pound. If you have room in your freezer, buy some extra birds and roast them once every couple of months. The meat can then be worked into other recipes like casseroles or the pot stickers I made the other day to enjoy another day when you are short on time.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Frugal Turkey

I still had some left over turkey from Thanksgiving (roasted by my brother-in-law) that I had to use up before the meat went bad. I decided to make some pot stickers with it. I had some left over ham meat too, so I took the meat off the bone and put the turkey and ham in the work bowl of my food processor and gave it a whirl. I estimate I had about a pound of meat. To that, I added
about four sliced green onions, two cloves of grated garlic, a splash of sesame oil and sake and some black pepper. If you don't have sake, you can use sherry or omit altogether.  I did not add salt because the turkey had been brined and the ham is salty as it is on its' own. To that, I added two eggs to bind the meat and make it a bit wet, since the meats were already cooked.

I already had a package of round pot sticker skins purchased for $1.79. If you can't find the round ones, you can use won ton skins. You can easily find tutorials for making pot stickers on YouTube. They are not all that hard to make. Here is the first batch frying in a skillet with a bit of canola oil.  

You want to fry the bottom of the pot stickers until they get a bit of burned on the bottom like this. Then, you put a bit of water in the pan just to cover the bottom of the pan and steam the dough of the pot sticker to cook them through. Slap a lid on top and let it cook until all the water is gone. You may or may not want to repeat this process.

Serve them with a some steamed rice and dipping sauce made from equal parts soy sauce and rice vinegar and, if you like spicy foods, some Chinese hot pepper oil. The proper way to serve the pot stickers is to place them on a plate bottom side up to show the crusty bottom.  (I did not know this until very recently. . .)  Total cost for approximately 50 pot stickers came out to a whopping $2.00!

Bon appetit! 

P.S. Please excuse the grainy photos. I don't know why the Blogger app does this. . .