And I am back from Teslacon 2015! I know, you’d think 16 hours in a van would be plenty of time to write up the first post of the week, but my body had other ideas (like re-watching Star Wars: A New Hope in preparation for the next film in the series). Anyhoo, due to the lack of energy from Thanksgiving this week, this will be a fairly short post.
Speaking of which, Happy Thanksgiving. I hope yours was as fun as mine. This was our first year hosting, so that was an adventure in itself — my own doing because cooking up a full turkey is usually a once a year affair and I had the perfect idea for it.
So if you hadn’t already figured out from the title of this post, I love Bob’s Burgers. One the many things I love about it is how the writers tack on the holiday themed episodes without resorting to cliches or detracting from the character of show. This especially rings true with Thanksgiving, where simply making it Bob’s favorite holiday speaks more volumes about the character and where the story is going than any true meaning of the holiday morality episode ever could.
That said, another thing I find fun is how Bob Belcher sort of reminds me of my own dad . They’re both swarthy, snarky, mustachioed men with a love for cooking in some of the craziest ways possible. In fact I’m pretty sure I’ve picked up my weird but delicious food tastes from my dad. Heck they even kind of look like each other.
They’re also the Kings of Thanksgiving in their own world. Over the years my dad has tried a little of everything to cook up the perfect bird and found really the best way to go is to brine it to add moisture and flavor, and then deep fry it to seal all those delightful juices into it while also crisping up the skin. So it only seemed fitting that I was going to have my dad teach me how to deep fry a turkey.
Granted he’s so into it at this point, he has not only one, but two electric turkey fryers. Due to the dangerous nature of the things, I would actually recommend investing in or borrowing one for the purpose of this recipe as they allow better control over the process.
So for this brine I decided to go with the very first Thanksgiving special where Bob’s landlord borrows his family for the day and leaves Bob to cook dinner — and then drown his sorrows in absinthe to the point of calling the turkey “Lance”, talking to him, and then hallucinating a scene straight out of My Neighbor Totoro.
Now I know absinthe is expensive, but don’t worry, friends. This anise flavored spirit also has a just as boozy New Orleans alternative at half the price called Herbsaint.
In honor of Linda’s Thanksgiving song I also added cranberry juice, which gave the turkey skin a gorgeous red tone and a sweetness that paired well with the anise and ginger I mixed in.
I won’t lie. Deep-frying never produces a photogenic turkey. It is worth it, though. The flavors you get will be subtle but tasty, the boldest flavors will be in the skin, the surface breast meat, and the dark meat.
A pinot noir pairs pretty nicely with this dish, though we actually made some mulled apple cider. Want a tasty cocktail? Put some sugar in the bottom of a glass, add a big splash of Herbsaint, fill the rest with mulled cider and stir.
Lance, the Absinthe-Brined & Fried Turkey
Equipment: Stock pot, brine bag or bucket, large cooler, ice packs, twine, heat resistant gloves, electric turkey fryer.
- 13-14 lb whole turkey, excess skin trimmed, and neck and giblets removed.
- 2 gallons of canola oil
- 1/2 gallon unsalted vegetable stock
- 2 large sprigs rosemary
- 1 cinnamon stick
- handful fresh thyme sprigs
- 7 leaves fresh sage
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 Tb black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 cups Herbsaint
- 60 fluid oz cranberry juice
- 1 cup kosher salt
- peel of 2 oranges
- 2 Tb minced garlic
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- gallon of heavily iced water
- 2 Tb garlic powder
- 1 Tb onion powder
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 Tb salt
- Two nights before brining, bring a stockpot with all of the brine ingredients except for the ice water to a boil. Cover pot and turn off heat. Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight.
- About 12-13 hours before you want to cook, pour the brine and iced water into a brine bag. Put in the turkey, breast side down. Seal up the bag while pushing out air. Twist the excess part of the bag so that the turkey is completely submerged and tie with twine. Put the whole bag into a cooler with ice packs on top until about a hour before you plan to serve.
- Drain brine bag in the sink and rinse off turkey. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and then apply the spice rub to all parts of the skin. Tie the wings and legs to the body, and the ends of the drumsticks together with twine. Place the turkey spine side down into the fryer basket and tie a layer of twine across the top and through the holes of the basket to keep it from floating while cooking.
- Set up your turkey fryer outside with newspaper underneath to catch any dripping grease. Heat up the oil according to the fryer’s instructions (ours was at 400 degrees). Put on the heat resistant gloves and carefully put the fryer basket into the fryer. Cover the fryer if it has one and cook to the amount of time indicated for your fryer and size of bird (ours was 45 minutes).
- When the turkey is ready to remove, remove the fryer basket while wearing gloves and set aside to cool. Cut the twine holding it to the basket and transfer to roasting pan to cut the rest of the twine and start carving. Serve.