>Mister Bird


This post will probably let everyone know how mildly obsessive I am, but I’ll take that risk. In preparation for someday hosting Thanksgiving at my own home (still a few more years at least), I decided this year to roast my first turkey, so that I have a couple years to practice and get it right that way it doesn’t deflate like in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

This decision also came about as a result of finding an 11.5 lb turkey at our grocery store for $5.41, and I’m pretty sure it’s physically impossible for me to pass up a bargain like that.

I decided to take the less-intelligent route of not finding a recipe and just following the basic instructions on the turkey label, combining that information from whatever was stored in my brain from helping my mom every year.

Here is the basic recipe I followed.

Thaw turkey. They say to give four hours per pound in the refrigerator, or 4-6 hours in a tub of cold water for an 8-12 lb bird. I did small combination of both – about 36 hours in the refrigerator, and about 5 hours in a tub of cold water. And let me tell you – THAT BIRD WAS STILL FROZEN. I have memories of my mother swearing up and down that she would never buy another frozen turkey for the rest of her life, and I think I just learned why. Unfortunately, these are also the cheapest birds, so, pick your poison.

Back to the recipe. Once I finally got it thawed, I hoisted Mr. Bird into my recently-sterilized sink and removed the giblets and the neck, which I’m sad to say weren’t as neatly packaged as when you buy Whole Roaster Chickens. For the faint of heart, I didn’t take pictures of this part, but I will show you a picture of Mr. Bird chilling in the sink. Everyone, meet Mr. Bird.

Once I got him cleaned up, I got my pan ready. Since I have recently set up my kitchen, I don’t have any huge roasting pans, and I forgot to pick up a tin foil one at the store, so I had a redneck moment and created my own roasting set-up. Which consisted of wrapping a 15×10 jelly roll pan and a 13×9 Pyrex baking dish in foil. Because we all know that I’m obsessive-compulsive with foil.

I think we’re ready for when UFO’s attack.

You can also see in the above picture a ginormous plastic bag. This is a trick I picked up from my mom –  to buy the Oven-Roasting bags. The box claims to give you moister, juicier roasts and turkeys, so I figured hey, why not! The bag doesn’t make too much of a difference as far as cooking directions go, except the main instruction for that is to sprinkle 1 tbsp of flour in the bag and shake it around, supposedly to help keep the bag from exploding. Although they have you cut in steam-vents so I’m not sure what purpose the flour serves. But I did that anyway, since I have recently learned my lesson about food exploding.

Next! I cut two small onions into quarters, and then put them in a mixing bowl with a hefty drizzle of olive oil, and who-knows-how-much garlic powder, sage, montreal chicken seasoning, and about a tablespoon of italian seasoning. I tossed the onions in this mixture and then, erm, placed them gently up Mr. Bird’s derriere.

After this violation, I figured I’d help him relax and get ready for his trip to the oven sauna by giving him a nice massage with the remaining oil and seasoning mixture. I had made sure to have a lot leftover – it was probably equivalent to about 3 tbsp of the mixture.

Once he was thoroughly coated in the oil mixture, it was time hoist Mr. Bird’s obese body into the roasting bag, which was barely a one-person task. These crazy people who roast 24-lb birds must have personal assistants. 
At this point, Mr. Bird was starting to get suspicious that something might be going on, but I assured him that he should just relax and enjoy his spa experience.

I tied the bag up and cut in 6 1/2-inch slits as steam vents, and slid Mr. Bird into his 325 degree sauna.
Say goodbye to Mr. Bird. It looks suspiciously
like a body bag doesn’t it?
One benefit of not having a huge roasting pan was that I didn’t have to truss up the bird too much. It had already come with a convenient leg clamp, and the wings stayed pinned to the side because he was nestled nice and cozy into the 13×9 pan.

Fast forward 3 1/2 hours, per the instructions on the label. Since Mr. Bird was in a roasting bag, I didn’t bother with attempting to baste him, although they mentioned that if you felt like untying the bag every time you could feel free to baste. In hindsight, I probably should have done this and cooked him for a little less time, because like most turkey in my experience, it was a little bit dry. But, still, triumph!
Golden brown and smelling delicious, it was finally time to eat! Well, after we let the bird stand for 20 minutes. Scott held his position as man of the house and carved the turkey.
Perhaps not the best method honey.
That’s much better.

Mmm…yum. Mashed garlic potatoes and steamed broccoli on the side – nothing too fancy this time.

Let’s play a guessing game. Let’s guess which plate is Scott’s best friend, Christian’s?
Hmm….which one could it be.
Oh wait, yup, you guess right. Never fear though moms,
I made him go back and get some veggies. (In all fairness,
he was so excited about the turkey he just forgot about sides.)
So, hurray for success on my first turkey attempt! Next time I’ll be trying to figure out how to make Mr. Bird a little juicier. (Maybe I should get him a little drunk like Martha Stewart does…)

One of the best things about this adventure? My leftovers for lunch at work tomorrow look like this:
Stay tuned for recipes that will help you use up your turkey leftovers later on this week!

And let’s not forget, thank-you Mr. Bird, for your service and dedication to our meal. You were delicious.
May he rest in peace.

2 thoughts on “>Mister Bird

  1. >I definitely suggest brining…I do that when I roast chickens and it makes a really big difference. The meat is much more juicy that way.Of course, you'll need a big container to brine a turkey! A lot of people use coolers.Kristen

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