Friday, November 29, 2013

I'm SOOOOOO Full!!!

I bet everyone either heard or said THAT yesterday!!!!  It was the same at my house!!
Although I usually spend Thanksgiving with an Escapees Group in Los Banos, I accepted an invitation to my friend Chris' house for Thanksgiving dinner.  They were my test subjects for the first smoked turkey.  Thankfully they didn't croak, but it was WAY too smoky.  In the end, because I was again attempting to smoke turkeys for us, they loaded up all their goodies and came to MY house.  Really, I think they all just wanted to play with Cooper and Jessie!!

I purchased larger 10 pound breasts for this smoking project.  Naturally, the thawing of the turkeys didn't go as expected.  I actually had 33 pounds of turkey defrosting in my refrigerator, which turned it into a freezer.  With no progress in site, I took them out for a cold water bath, then separated them on different shelves.  A final water bath the night before, a good dose of seasoning with another 12 hours rest and they were finally ready to go in the smoker.  All went as planned there ... not so much for the REST of the dinner.  Here they are about two hours in when I stopped the smoke and let them continue to slow cook.
Since everything smothered in gravy is better ... I also cooked a turkey in the oven for the wonderful drippings that result in the best gravy!!  THIS is what started the problems ... I was in too much of a hurry and got it in the oven half an hour too soon.  When trying to get all of this food on the table at the same, timing is critical!!!  With the internet down, I couldn't check the length of time required for perfect doneness!!  The smokers would be ready at 1:00 with a one hour rest.  THIS dumb turkey went in at 7:30 and was done by 12:00.  We aren't eating until 2:00!!!  So I wrapped it up, hoping for the best.  At least we'll have GREAT gravy!!

In the meantime, Chris and her family were making up for the family pictures I was going to take for them in front of my Christmas tree.  Instead of 1:00, they arrived at 1:45 and we still had potatoes to cook and mash!!  OH MY!!!  We ARE getting rather behind!!  By the time the pictures were done and the gravy cooked, it was 3:00 ... that one hour rest for the turkey turned into THREE!!

We reheated everything and I chopped up the smoked turkey ... it was DEVINE!!!  I think I will never eat an oven-roasted turkey again!!  Even though it sat longer than desired, it was the most delicious, tender, moist with just-a-slight-smoky-flavor turkey I've ever eaten!!  The final menu consisted of turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and fresh baked bread which we sat down to eat at 3:15.  At 3:30 we were done!!!  
I'M SOOOOOO FULL!!!!!  On top of that, we had pumpkin pie, banana cream pie and baklava (that's tomorrow's story!!).  It was wonderful to spend the day with this great family!!  
Although I wasn't supposed to be IN the photo shoot, once we get started, it's hard to stop.  We got some great family images, some father-daughters, some sisters, some mom and daughters ... and then we got carried away with Miss Sydney in her white dress, levi jacket and red cowboy boots.  It turned into a full blown photo shoot!!!  
We also tried to get Jessie to sit with Cooper, but she wasn't having any of it.  She got jealous of the attention and tried to bite Coops head off.  Like the spoiled child she is, she was banished while we finished with my Christmas card picture!!
What could be better ... great friends, good food and photography all in the same day!!  The best part????  I have another smoked turkey in my fridge that I'm having for breakfast, with mashed potatoes and gravy!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!!

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