As you consider preparing this recipe, it is likely Thanksgiving Day, a time when this meal is most typically enjoyed. I’ve never been one who necessarily follows every dot and tittle of holiday menu protocol. For example, there have been years when I’ve been known to prepare cabbage rolls, chicken spaghetti, or pizza for Thanksgiving! Today, over 6 months away from Turkey Day, my husband and I were able to happily savor every morsel of this wonderful feast. And rather than wait months down the road to share this great recipe with you, I wanted you to have it now so you could also relish it whenever you wish throughout the year! Regardless of what day it is, this is a meal to be enjoyed all year long!
The Best Baked Turkey
23-25 lb. turkey
½ cup and 1 tablespoon of garlic-flavored olive oil
12 oz. beer
½ tsp. and a pinch of cayenne pepper
4 crushed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon coarse-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 cups chicken stock or broth
¼ cup corn oil
1 cup water
• Injection Liquid: Mix ½ cup garlic-flavored olive oil, 4 oz. beer, and ½ tsp. of cayenne pepper
• Paste: Mix 4 mashed garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon coarse-ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, pinch of cayenne pepper, and 1 tablespoon garlic-flavored olive oil
• Baste: Mix 2 cups chicken stock or broth, 1 cup water, 8 oz. beer, and ¼ cup corn oil
The day before baking, empty the turkey cavity (saving and refrigerating the giblets in a zip-lock plastic bag), rinse and pat dry with paper towel, tuck wing tips under the back and tie legs together. Inject “Injection Liquid” with a kitchen syringe the turkey in a half-dozen places, moving needle around in each spot to shoot liquid in several directions. Massage “Paste” inside and out and under the skin. (Do not tear.) Place turkey in plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.
The day of baking, remove turkey from the plastic bag and insert meat thermometer into thickest part of the thigh (not touching the bone). Bake at 325 degrees. Cover with aluminum foil tent after turkey begins to turn golden. Baste bird every 30 minutes with “Baste”. Turkey is done when thermometer reads 180 degrees or leg moves easily in joint.
Remove from oven. Let stand for 15-20 minutes. Slice.
The Best Turkey Gravy
Turkey neck and giblets
2 onions, copped
2 carrots chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
4 bay leaves
Few sprigs of fresh thyme
9 tablespoons of fatty juices from the turkey
9 tablespoons of plain flour
6 cups whole milk
3 teaspoons sea salt
1 envelope Pioneer Brand Country Gravy mix
While the turkey is baking, place the turkey neck and giblets in a saucepan with the vegetables, herbs, and 5 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Save 3 cups of the giblet broth, drain the rest, dispose of the vegetables, and chop and reserve the giblet meat. (Refrigerate if early in the day.)
To make the gravy, siphon 9 tablespoons of fatty juices from the turkey roasting pan into a saucepan and stir in 9 tablespoons of flour. Cook, stirring for about 1-2 minutes until lightly browned.
Stir in the chopped giblets, 3 cups of giblet broth, 6 cups of whole milk, 3 teaspoons of seasoning salt, and 1 envelope of Pioneer Brand Country Gravy mix. Bring to a boil, stirring and then reduce to medium high heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Season to taste.
Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
10 lbs. red potatoes, cut into chunks (peeled if you prefer)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 cubes chicken bouillon
16 oz. sour cream
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes, garlic and chicken bouillon cubes. Cook potatoes until tender, but still firm about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water.
Mash or rice the potatoes and mix with the sour cream and cream cheese, adding reserved cooking water to reach desired consistency. Transfer to a large crockpot, cover, and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours. Just before serving, stir in butter and season with salt and pepper to taste.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
For followers of Jesus Christ, thanksgiving is more that an eating extravaganza . . . and it’s more than a one-year event, isn’t it? Every day should be a day of thanksgiving for us because, as Psalm 92:1 tell us, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.” Psalm 118:24 goes on to say, “This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Notice, it doesn’t say we only rejoice and give thanks to the Lord when things are going well, the sun is shining, and it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. It has nothing to do with a particular day, a happy celebration, or a wonderful life. It has everything to do with who He is and who we are in Him. It’s a life-long celebration of thankfulness that will continue into eternity.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)