Welcome to Part 2 of The Politics of Gobbling! See The Politics of Gobbling Part One for the back story.
But first, from time to time I get accused of not being sensitive to our vegetarian friends.... to that end, if you are veg or if you are icked out by meat, please look away. This won't be overly graphic but I wouldn't want anyone to barf on their keyboard. But if you'd like to know how to save money, eat like a king, and learn a "new" skill, read on! Lets talk turkey!
As you know, we recently "dressed" (the polite way to say butchered) three of our big ol' Bourbon Red tom turkeys. They volunteered with their ruckus behavior - and because they were getting pretty darn big. So we had Turkey Day on Tax Day and had a great time. It really worked out well once we got the logistics down. First a quick nod to my pal, Buster, for his fabulous tips on his BYC thread about dressing his 50 lbs turkey..thanks, buddy! (NOTE: be warned, his post is graphic)
Our toms were big - not crazy big like Buster's 50 lbs monster, but big. We think all three dressed out to over 20 pounds each (probably closer to 25). The big story in this post is what happened after the turkeys rested in the extra-cold-beer-fridge for a couple days. Aging the meat makes it more tender and delicious.. so we let it set for 3 or 4 days.
Since its a little silly for just the two of us to roast a 25 lbs turkey.. I part turkeys up into manageable pieces and then freeze them for easy and quick dinners later. Even if you don't raise your own turkeys you can part up store bought turks when you find them on sale. Thanks to our local grocery store wars all of our local chains had 17lbs turkeys on sale for $5 last fall...so we loaded up at all the stores and had lots of cheap dinners using this parting up method.
OK here is where we get graphic....so turn away, or cowboy up and keep reading......
Here is the smallest of the three turkeys:
To be sure, we are the worst pluckers EVER and I'm sure that The Farm Master, known as Bourbon Red, is cringing at our shabby work...but really... we had enough chaos going on outside when we dressed these birds, so we did a rough pluck then I finished up when I'm parting them up inside. Here we go:
Start by removing the wings. Use your knife to cut around the joint, then thru tendons, then you should be able to twist and pull...and voila. Wing #1. Do the same on the other side.
Next, work on the thighs and legs. Use the same method of cutting around the joint, then thru, then twist and pull. Its easiest to cut the thigh off first, then take off the drumstick if you'd like them separate.
I put some of the thighs and drumstick in the crock pot to cook very slowly and the rest were put thru the Kitchenaide mixer/grinder attachment for ground meat. See how red and rich the meat is?
Now remove the breast -- see that I'm using a boning knife. Just following along the keel (breast bone) and get as much of the white meat as you can.
The last step is to cut the back from the breast section of the carcass. This can be tricky but there is a logical "break" between the two parts. CAREFULLY cut between the backbones..or if you have a big ol' clever then just give it a good whack.Or if you are super strong just break it. (Be careful!)
Put the neck, wings, and the rest of the bones in a big stock pot, cover with cold water and simmer for the richest, most luxurious stock ever. I let mine simmer over night HOWEVER I have the most reliable stove ever so I can do this with confidence. Please don't burn your house down or boil your pot dry.
When the stock is done I pick thru the leavin's, toss the bones, pick out the best pieces for us, then mound up whatever's left for the house cats. I don't give this to the dogs as the bones are too brittle... but cats will pick around the bones just fine. Our Teddi Grumpkins loves the neck pieces the best - she is going to eat like a queen for days!
The breasts will be frozen for easy dinners later. I really like Sunset magazine's method of cooking turkey parts in a 400* oven for about an hour over a bed of root vegetables. Of course I top with a little bacon for full farm effect.
I was supposed to take a picture of the completed dish, but honestly we attacked it like a pack of wolves. So the next night I made the same thing... and still didn't get the "after" shot... so..um.. here's what was left:
Seriously, we ate so much we were in a turkey coma. Normally we have enough for supper, sandwiches the next day, and then will use the veggies and the last bits to make a heavenly hash for breakfast the next day. But... dang that was good turkey. The dogs reported the next day that SOMEONE was standing by the light of the fridge about midnight snackin' on the last bits. We never did get our hash for breakfast.
That wasn't too icky was it? Really - this is a great way to get a lot of meals out of a typical holiday-only bird. Why wait for the holidays? Turkey is great on the grill and is a super quick, hands free supper.
There was a ruckus in the turkey yard earlier... it was the younger jakes ...I believe they are "volunteering" to come to dinner..and as good as our turkey dinner were, I believe we'll be dressing and parting up some more turkeys very very soon.
Happy Turkey everyone!