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Should Thanksgiving be this… drippy?

November 25, 2009

I was trying to be helpful.  Really, I was!  I heard from a friend of ours who is an AMAZING cook that she likes to brine her Thanksgiving turkey.  Not knowing what this was, I asked and got a full description of the process.  It’s basically a marinade that you put the turkey in on Tuesday, and it’s ready for cooking on Thursday.  She said it makes the turkey really juicy and tasty.  Um… sold!

So I logged onto my favorite site for blog-stalkery, The Pioneer Woman, and found that she had posted a recipe for her turkey brine.  Imagine my elation!  She’s never led me astray, so I jumped right in.

This recipe requires a pretty varied spectrum of ingredients, resulting in about 2 1/2 gallons of liquid.   And the smell is strong, so say the least.  It’s got rosemary, orange peel, peppercorns, garlic… all very heavy scents.  But it doesn’t smell bad, just strong.

Let’s rewind a moment and begin where it all started to go wrong.  Apparently they have these things called brining bags that are meant for this very purpose.  After walking all around Kroger for 20 minutes, with my brother Brett telling me the entire plot from “Law Abiding Citizen”, we found nothing.  Except oven roasting bags, which didn’t seem right but we figured it was good enough.  Do you feel where this is going?

Next, I start up the mix and it’s super easy.  You bring it to a boil, then you’re supposed to cool the mix down to room temperature before adding it to the bag with the turkey.  Problem… I started the mix at 7 and it wasn’t cooling fast enough.  I tried setting the covered pots outside for a while, but in some freak occurence it’s actually not cold in Michigan right now.  Not complaining, just inconvenienced.  So they sat out there and got to about “tepid” before it was time for me to start brining this puppy.  We went with the warm stuff anyway, which probably wasn’t a part of the ultimate downfall, but another piece of the puzzle I didn’t get quite right.

I call Brett in to the kitchen to help me because this seems like a job for two.  Sometimes I’m smart.  Anyway, he helps me get the turkey into the bag and I pick it up to shift it and the bottom of the bag just breaks.   Good sign.  There was another bag in the box, so we grabbed it and started again, this time being very careful not to cause any strain on the seams.  We set the turkey, in the bag, into an aluminum roaster that we put inside the legit roasting pan I just bought the other day.  Brett holds the bag open and I start pouring the liquid into the bag.   I get about half of the mix into the bags, and it’s already looking a little full.  This is about when Brett loses his grip on one side of the bag and a bunch of the liquid sloshes out all over the counter, drips down the countertop and then starts oozing across the floor toward my nice clean socks. 

I hate wet socks.  In case you were wondering. 

Well, we’re nothing if not 100% types, so we hit the gas and dump in the second half.  I keep touching the bag which feels like it’s ready to burst, and I keep telling Brett that if the bag bursts, the mix will be all over the refrigerator.  He’s placating me, telling me it’s going to be fine, but I just know this is getting dangerous. 

So, in an effort to shut me up, Brett participates in transferring the entirety of our brining contraption (turkey, bag, liquid, aluminum pan, legit pan) into a Hefty Steel Sac garbage bag, which we proceed to tie tightly and transfer to the refrigerator.  Not 30 seconds passed before I heard a dripping sound and found that a bunch of liquid had already poured from the inner bag and into the outer bag.  We kind of shift the inner bag around so the top is facing up and then tuck the garbage bag corners into the legit pan.  I don’t feel good about it.

And my socks are wet, which is annoying me.

This morning, the outer bag was definitely the only thing keeping our refrigerator from completely flooding. The inner bag didn’t hold up very long, which makes me question how well this bag would hold up in an actual oven!  I think Reynold’s is full of crap.  So my mom is going to Sur la Table today to buy a real brining bag and they are going to transfer everything and hope it works.

There you have it.  The series of unfortunate events that ultimately resulted in wet socks and turkey wrapped in a garbage bag. 

Have I ever told you how I hate wet socks?  I really, really do. 


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