Photo from the NY Daily News

Photo from the NY Daily News

This morning I spend some time working researching ham prices in the home state of Michigan. One ad that I came across offered a Paula Deen Crunchy Glazed Spiral Ham from Smithfield. The ham comes wrapped in a beautiful blue package with the southern queen herself right on the label. Check out this YouTube video to see what I am talking about.

Is It Worth My Money to Buy Paula Deen’s Smithfield Crunchy Glazed Ham?

I am going to answer NO to this question. I don’t think it’s worth the money. Check this example. D&W Market in Michigan is selling Smithfield Honey Glazed Spiral Half Ham for $1.27/lb. The Paula Deen ham costs $2.77/lb. So let’s say you get a 8 lb ham which is about the average size. You would be spending $12 more for the Paula Deen ham. Basically you are buying her glaze for $12. Even if the ham is tasty and it probably is this is not a good deal at all.

What Is In Paula Deen’s Crunchy Ham Glaze?

So what is exactly in this glaze? I couldn’t find the answer online or at the Smithfield website. I was able to find one of these hams at my local Meijer store. Here is what I found on the ingredient list for the glaze: Sugar, Brown Sugar, Water, Honey, Maltodextrin, Corn Syrup Solids, 2% or less of the following: gelatin, soybean oil, spices, salt, potassium sorbate, potassium benzoate. Yep, definitely some ingredients that I would never naturally use in my kitchen. What makes this glaze crunchy? Corn syrup solids?

Other Options for a Crunchy Glazed Ham

There are other options out there that I think would be more economical. Alton Brown has a recipe for a ham with a glaze made of ginger snap cookies, mustard, and brown sugar. This will give you that crunchy glaze and it’s not going to cost you $12 for those extra ingredients, in fact when you are done you will probably have leftover mustard and brown sugar (you probably will eat any remaining cookie with the ham is cooking!). I think this is much better option to get that crunchy glaze you want. Buying the other ham would basically mean you are paying Paula Deen to make the glaze for you and have her face on the packaging.

What About Using a Paula Deen Ham Recipe?

If you still want Paula to be a part of your ham experience, she does have several recipes online that you can give a try to. The one that sounded unique to me was her peanut butter glazed ham. The glaze is made of peanut butter, garlic, soy, and honey. I haven’t tried it before but I might for a different kind of flavor.

As I was searching for a Smithfield/Paula Deen commericial I came across this video of Paula being hit in the face with one of her very own hams. I attached it below to provide you with a quick chuckle.

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The first biscuits that I ever made were Alton Brown’s original biscuits from an early episode of Good Eats starring his late grandmother. That is a good classic recipe that turns out a good biscuit. But what I like about Alton Brown is that he doesn’t just rest on his laurels. I believe in always striving to improve my recipes. I think some of the best recipes I have are ones that I worked on over years, changing little things here and there. Alton has done that now with his biscuits. On an episode of the Best Thing I Ever Made, Alton pulls out his current, best biscuit recipe. This one uses a mix of all-purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour (there is the healthier part!). It also opts for lard instead of butter or shortening. The lard will help make for a flakier biscuit.

Check out Food Network’s website to print out the recipe. You can watch a video of Alton making the biscuits. Here are my notes from my experience with this recipe

1. The first time I made these they didn’t turn out that well. I saw the episode but didn’t make the biscuits for a while. Then I just looked at the ingredients and went to work. I missed a couple steps when I did this – such as folding the dough and placing the biscuits in a round cake pan. I put them on a half sheet pan. Big mistake. They need to be right next to each other to rise the best or they just end up spreading horizontally when they should be vertically.

2. I was out of buttermilk when I made these the second time. So I used Alton’s substitute of mixing 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice with 1 cup of milk. That worked out fine.

3. I came out with 10 biscuits total, after re-rolling out the dough. I had to squeeze them in to fit them into my 9 inch round cake pan. The one he used in the video had a lot higher sides than mine.

4. I bake mine for around 21 to 22 minutes – were golden brown on top. As Alton recommend make sure you wait at least 10 minutes, so they don’t turn out gummy inside.

Alton has definitely improved his biscuit recipe. These have more flavor than the original and a better texture. Kudos for him not resting on his laurels. It also gave me a reason to bring out my honey collection as there is no better use for honey than biscuits.

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This weekend was a lot of fun-food wise that is. My daughter Grace (age 4) has been talking about making tamales ever since she watched an episode of Special Agent Oso called “Tamale’s With Love.” For those of you who have not had the privileged (ahem!) of seeing this show (a million times like I have), it gives 3 “special steps” on how to accomplish a task. This time it was making tamales.

On Saturday Grace headed out with daddy to collect the materials needed for the tamales: corn husks, masa harina, pork shoulder, cumin, lard. All of the makings of a delicious Mexican dinner. The process of making tamales is definitely not just 3 steps, it’s more like 8, so we cooked the pork on Saturday afternoon and assemble them on Sunday after Church. We did our own hybrid version Alton Brown’s recipes for tamales, you can find them HERE.

Following your child’s lead with food is a wonderful way to encourage them to try new foods. Grace has never had tamales, and we were excited that she wanted to try something so adventurous. Her excitement and enthusiasm made the whole day so much fun for everyone. The smells and textures of the food are also important aspects of appreciating flavors, and we always look at it as a process. Exposing children to various cultural foods can be a great springboard for all kinds of discussions about geography and native foods around the world.

We began the assembly of the tamales by making the masa. Masa is corn flour that smells so delightful. Grace and Faithy both helped mix in the liquid and lard to make the dough. Then we soaked the corn husks in water. We talked about how the husks protected the corn on the stalk, and now it is going to protect our tamales when we cook them.

Both girls had a blast smooshing the masa dough into the husks and rolling up the shredded pork filling. Even Faithy (who is only 2) was able to manage the entire process except for tying them together at the end. They were able to get messy and have fun, but they were also helping to prepare dinner.

Once we rolled up all 40+ tamales they got a steam bath for an hour. The whole house smelled like the small streets of a Mexican village.

Once the tamales were finished cooking, it was time for tasting…..or at least, that was the plan. Faithy took one look at the meal and refused to even try a bite. Grace ate about 1/2 of a tamale and said “I don’t love it.” with a sad look on her face. I think she was so excited about making them herself that she was disappointed that she didn’t like them. She did finish her entire tamale, and said “I still had fun making them though!”. SO even though we didn’t have a huge success in the eating department, the girls learned a lot about food, and participated in a fun project with Mom and Dad. And Mom and Dad LOVED the final product–the really were delicious!

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Living on a tight budget causes you to learn how to take cheap cuts of meat and turn them into flavorful dishes. One of those cheap cuts that I use and have talked about before on this blog is bottom round. It’s a cut that will be tough if you don’t do it right. I previously talked about how to roast this cut. But today I am going to take a different direction, one influenced by Alton Brown. Bottom round can be turned into a swiss steak that you can cut with a fork come dinner time.

Below you will find my notes from Alton’s Swiss Steak recipe. The recipe is available for printing via Food Network’s website.

1. You will first need to take your bottom round roast and trim of it any excess fat. Then slice the meat into as close of slices as you can get to 1/2 inch. I have some brand new knives, making the slicing task much easier.

2. Alton uses a needle blade meat tenderizer. You can buy these online via Amazon. I actually got mine as a gift one year bought at Cost Plus World Market.

3. For the dredging I opted to use potato starch instead of all-purpose flour. My son seems to have a sensitive to wheat. Going gluten free with the potato starch was a better option for our family. I also have to watch out for gluten in the stock I am using unless it’s homemade.

4. When you born the meat make sure to watch your heat. Cast iron heats up pretty good. You don’t want really high heat or you will blacken instead of brown. I had to turn my heat down as the surface was getting too dark.

5. Instead of canned tomatoes, I pulled out some tomato sauce from the freezer that I made late last summer. I didn’t want any chunks of tomatoes in it, but you don’t have to follow my example if you don’t mind chunks.

6. I did not have any smoked paprika on hand. Next time I want to use it to add a smoky component to the dish, which I really think completes it.

7. I cooked mine for 2 hours. At that point was a easy to cut with a fork.

Definitely a tasty way to stretch a piece of beef that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. It was easy to make and I had enough leftover to serve again. The only thing I was missing was the smokiness from the smoked paprika. I really got to try that next time, I think it would put the dish over the top.

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Oh citrus what would I do without you in the winter? I never run out of the things to do with you. Sweet treats are definitely high on the priority list. Like sherbet. Fruity, creamy, and delicious. I have made sherbets in the past. I have made Alton Brown’s orange sherbet, which is my go to recipe. I went to it again this weekend. But I change the game a little bit. Instead of the standard juice orange, I opted for something more wild, almost scary even – blood oranges. I knew they would get the sherbet a beautiful color and their flavor would be unique enough to be worth the effort.

Here are my notes from the recipe:

1. In order to get the required 2 cups of blood orange juice I had to squeeze 9 Blood oranges. Since they vary in size and amount of juice plan to use 8-10 blood oranges.

2. One thing I changed from the original recipe was omitting the vanilla extract. I like it in the regular orange sherbet, but I didn’t want anything to get in the way of that unique orange-berry like flavor the blood orange offers. I also left out the lemon juice. Blood oranges have an acidic bite to them, so I didn’t feel the lemon juice was necessary.

3. In the past I just mixed the mixture together in a bowl, but this time I followed his instructions and did in the food processor. This help to assure no big chunk of orange zest throwing off the texture. If you have a food processor or a blender make sure you do the same.

4. I churn my ice cream/sherbet/sorbets in a Cusinart ice cream maker. I have the ICE-20 model, and I have never had a problem with it. They do have a newer model available now.

Blood Orange Sherbet (Inspired by Alton Brown)
 
Ingredients
  • 7 ounces sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons finely grated orange zest
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice, approximately 8-10 Blood Oranges
  • 1½ cups very cold whole milk
Instructions
  1. Juice enough blood oranges to arrive at 2 cups.
  2. Weight out 7 ounces of sugar. Add that to your food processor or blender along with salt, zest, the juice and the milk.
  3. Mix until all the sugar has been dissolved.
  4. Place the mixture into a pourable vessel and refrigerate for at least an hour, up to overnight.
  5. Pour into ice cream maker and process until it's like soft serve ice cream. Allow 2-3 hours in the freezer before consuming for optimal texture.

 

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Giada's Cranberry Orange Turkey

This past Thanksgiving, I picked up 3 turkeys over 3 trips to the grocery store. I couldn’t pass up paying under 60 cents a pound for meat. I tried Alton Brown’s Dry Brined Turkey with 2 of the turkeys, which was amazing both times. I wanted to try something different for the 3rd one as well as review another chef’s recipe. Just after the New Year I pulled out of my turkeys out of it’s cold winters nap and broke out Giada’s recipe for a Cranberry-Orange Glazed Turkey. The daunting task of this turkey was having to break down into pieces as the recipe calls for. But the fun part is getting to make a tasty, tangy glaze with cranberry and orange juice. Below you will my notes from this recipe. To print out the recipe, visit Food Network’s website.

1. The recipe calls for an 11-pound bird. Mine was a little bit over 12. Anything in that ball park of 11 is good. I wouldn’t want to try to cut up a 22 pounder!

2. Cutting this thing was a challenge. I followed the YouTube video below as a guide as I have never done it before. As you can see from above I had a little trouble keeping all the skin attached to the breast meat. In the end, I got all the pieces I wanted even if they weren’t perfect looking. Unless your writing for a food blog, don’t worry about being perfect. This kind of thing takes practice. Or you could do what Giada did and have your butcher do the work for you.

3. The recipe said to cook it for 1 hour 10 minutes before adding the glaze. I decided to check the temperature after that time and I had already reached my thermal destination. So I brushed on the glaze with my favorite OXO silicone pastry brush and just put it back in for 5 minutes to solidify the glaze. I then brushed on some additional glaze.

4. I opted for 100% juice instead of cranberry cocktail. I used Old Orchard which isn’t 100% cranberry, it has cranberry juice in it mixed with some cheaper juice fillers (like apple juice).

5. I decided to make a double batch of the glaze. I already had the ingredients on hand as you don’t use all the juice concentrates and marmalade. I wanted to be sure I had enough glaze to add to the gravy without worrying about having to go light on the turkey. I still had some leftover in the end, good for freezing for another day. I took the leftover orange and cranberry concentrate I had and mixed it all together with some water to make a cran-orange juice.

6. To make the gravy, you use the pan juices. The challenge is that there is a lot of fat to deal with. I don’t own a fat separator so what I did was pour the juices directly from the sheet pan into the widest bowl I had clean. Then I placed that bowl into the freezer for about 10 minutes. This helped to harden up the fat. I then used a turkey baster to suck out as much fat as I could. Don’t worry about getting every last bite.

7. To finish the gravy, I took 1 cup of homemade giblet stock from my last turkey that I had froze. I melted it in a large non-stick frying pan. Mixed in the pan juices, brought it all to a boil. Then I added 3 tablespoons of the glaze. Allowed it to reduce for about 4 minutes. Added 1 tablespoon of butter for that creamy mouth feel.

Final Thoughts
The flavor of the turkey was outstanding. Not too sweet and not too tart. The gravy was unlike anything I ever had. It had that great turkey flavor from the pan juices and stock, but it also the addition of the cranberry-orange glaze brought it to a whole another dimension. The turkey itself wasn’t as juicy as the brined ones I have made. It wasn’t dry by any means thought and the unique gravy helps to compensate. My family enjoyed experiencing a turkey with a different flavor. Next Thanksgiving I will probably still do Alton’s method, but that isn’t a knock against Giada’s turkey, just a testament to how good Alton’s is.

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As our yearly calendar comes to an end this week many people begin thinking about what they want to do in the new year. Here at Eat Like No One Else we are the same way. One of the issues I want to talk about more in 2013 is GMOs (genetically modified organisms) or GM foods. More and more research is being conducted that is showing the danger of these foods. Avoiding these foods, going back to the way God intended is very “Eat Like No One Else”. The majority of our population is eating these foods daily without a clue. So I wanted to begin my journey into bringing you more information on food that are non-GMO by starting with a food most of us have probably consumed over the holidays in some form of another – the sweet potato. Not just your everyday sweet potato, I am going to introduce you to the Stokes Purple Sweet Potato.

 

Reasons to Buy these Potatoes
1. That purple color means lots of antioxidants that are oh so good for our bodies.
2. A non-GMO variety that has been messed around with in a lab
3. Not overly sweet

I spotted these purple “cousins” to the spud during Thanksgiving season. They originated in North Carolina. The climate and soil where they are mostly grown around Hanging Rock State Park and the Sauratown Mountain range help produce a sweet potato of such unique color and with rich nutrients. They are also grown in California. Each state produced about 30 acres worth in 2012. They are distributed by Freda’s Produce and Stokes Foods. The ones I purchased had the Freda’s label on them. They have been in the wholesale specialty produce business for 50 years, based out of Orange County, California. They launched the Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes nationwide for the first time this past Thanksgiving. Check out this cool video below from Freda’s about their newest addition.

As I mentioned these sweets had their origins in North Carolina. Stokes Food has the patent on the variety and name “Stokes Purple”. For more on that story here is another video for your viewing pleasure:

The flavor of the potato is outstanding, part of that is due to it’s more dry texture that leaves you will less water and more flavor. I think these characteristics make them an excellent choice for homemade sweet potatoes fries (check out my recipe). They also are not as sweet as other sweet potatoes, which I approve of. Unlike purple beans, these purple sweet potatoes don’t lose color when cooked in fact that purple color even intensifies as well as their health benefits. If you want to see their vivid color on full display trying making my Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi.

I made them for the first time for Christmas dinner. I choose to steam them. I started steaming my sweet potatoes after watching an episode of Good Eats. Alton Brown said that while you can bake them that takes time and mutes their sweetness (probably why people decided to throw piles of brown sugar or marshmallows on them). Boiling is not a good option as sweet potatoes water log really fast. So steaming gets the job done fast without sacrificing the flavor or texture.

Steamed Purple Sweet Potatoes
 
Ingredients
  • 2 medium to large Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes
  • 2-4 tablespoons butter
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Peel your sweet potatoes, then cube them.
  2. Place them into your steamer basket (see notes if you don't have one) and steam them until fork tender
  3. Mix in butter, salt, and black pepper to taste.
Notes
If you don't have any special steaming equipment just take a pot that you had a lid for place a mesh strainer over top. Add the sweet potatoes. Fill the pot with enough water to just come underneath the potatoes. Add the lid. Bring the water to a boil, then turn down to simmer. Cook until tender.

 

Where to Buy
Here are some spots that have had them at one point or another. Stokes Foods expects to have inventory of them from the 2012 crop until about April or May 2013
The Produce Station (Ann Arbor, MI)
Hillers (Ann Arbor, MI)
HEB (select Texas locations)
Central Market (select Texas locations)

Check out Stokes Food website for more on where to buy them. You can buy from them directly. They ship 8 lb. or 15 lb. boxes by the US Postal Service, and 10 lb. or 40 lb. boxes by UPS from the farm.

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For the second year in a row, Food Network hosted a Thanksgiving Live special. People are invited to use e-mail, social media (facebook, Twitter), and Skype to ask some of Food Network’s greatest stars (Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, Giada DeLaurentiis, Ree Drummond, Sunny Anderson, Rachael Ray, Alex Guarnaschelli and Aaron Sanchez) their Turkey Day questions. And the show is live (from Chelsea Market in New York City) so anything can happen. Here is my recap of the show.

Alton starts with Sunny Anderson and appetizers. She goes with a pumpkin, sage, and shredded rotisserie chicken all wrapped up in an empanada or you could use wonton wrappers. Pretty easy to make and it can get your guests appetites a rolling along to the main course. Alton wants to start it out with a drink.

Concord Grape Royal | Click here for the recipe
This is a drink that can made without alcohol. It involves reducing Concord grape juice, along with some rosemary, crystallized ginger and then add some balsamic vinegar and reduced again to make a syrup. For the non-alcohol drinkers just add some club soda and serve. You usually don’t think of adding rosemary, ginger, and vinegar to grape juice but those bold flavors are something I would be willingly to experiment with.

Sopes | Click here for the recipe
Aaron Sanchez offers a vegetable appetizer that is corn masa tart. It features masa, peppers, wild mushrooms. crema fresca, and queso fresco. Nice choice if you don’t want to do over-do with meat. You could also use tostadas or tortilla chips.

Skype Question: What Can I Bring If I am Traveling a Long Distance
Our first Skype question of the day is to answer the question of what do with when you want to bring a dish but you have to travel a distance. Ree Drummond recommends bringing something you can bring that you can serve at room temperature such as a cranberry sauce. She like using pomegranate juice in hers. I like adding some ginger ale to my homemade sauce.

Holiday Bacon Appetizers | Click here for the recipe
Not exactly the most gourmet appetizer as it is just Club crackers with bacon on top and some cheese. It might be tasty, but I expected something a little better.

E-mail Question: How Do I Know What Kind of Turkey to Buy?
Rachel Ray likes to buy fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving and buy a frozen one to keep for later. Bobby uses a kosher turkey, which is a turkey that has already been dipped in a salt solution before hand. Alex Guarnaschelli talks to a turkey expert. He talks about a couple types of turkeys:
Broad Breasted White – standard supermarket turkey, with more breast meat and small legs.
Organic – a Broad Breasted raised on an organic, vegetarian diet
Kosher – dipped in a salt solution
Wild Turkey – lean and gamy tasting
Heritage Bird, Red Bourbon – gamy, not as much as wild turkey, more dark meat than standard turkey

Turkey Cooking Methods/Recipes
As mentioned above Bobby like a kosher bird. He isn’t a brine fan, he just likes to season it and kick in the oven (his words!). He likes to stuff it with roasted lemons, roasted garlic, rosemary, celery, carrots, and shallots. He adds some chicken stock to the pan to keep the bird moist as well as to make gravy with later. Rachel Ray goes with a brine. She brines it in apple cider and she is planning to smoke it, for a smoky-sweet combo (click here for he recipe). Giada has hers cut up, roasted and adds to it a cranberry-orange glaze (click here for the recipe).

Twitter Question: How to Brown the Turkey Without Burning It?
Rachel says to turn the heat up at the end to brown the skin. Alton has always recommend going with a hot temperature first, then turn it down to finish. I always opt for Alton’s way, just like I did when I tried his Butterflied, Dry Brined Turkey this year.

Battle of the Dressings
Aaron offers up his favorite dressing: Chorizo and Cornbread Stuffing. This dressing contains Aaron’s very own chorizo recipe with beef and pork. Ree offers up her Cornbread Dressing. She likes chunks in her dressing, almost like a panzella. Her cornbread is cooked in a cast iron skillet for the rustic charm.

Viewer’s Choice: Giada’s Side Dish
Viewers had a choice of what they wanted her to cook: Green Beans with Lemon Vinaigrette and Almonds or Mashed Potatoes. The winner was the mashed potatoes much to Giada’s joy as she already burned her almonds for the green beans while Alton was talking. The mashed potatoes contain mascarpone cheese, which Alton loves getting Giada to say over and over again.

Double Stuffed Butternut Squash | Click here for the recipe
Rachael baked a butternut squash (30 mintues) then removes most of the squash. She takes the squash combined it with ricotta cheese, paramesan, cheddar, freshly grated nutmeg, and chicken or vegetable stock, and browned butter. All of it is mixed together and added back to the butternut squash skin. She crumbles some sage on top for service.

Grapefruit-Campari Cranberry Relish | Click here for the recipe
Bobby is asked to try a different spin on cranberry sauce. Oranges are often paired with cranberry, but Bobby opts for another piece of citrus, grapefruit instead.

Alex’s Dessert
Before the show I went through the recipes listed on Food Network’s site and picked one to try out myself before the show aired. I choose Alex’s Citrus Flan. However the viewers picked her Raspberry Crumble Tart. The dough for this tart was unique in containing raisins. The filling is made of raspberries, jam, sugar, and cornstarch.

Sunny’s Fried Apple and Pear Ice Cream | Click here for the recipe
A strange choice for a dessert. A lot of work forming balls of ice cream with apples and pears and then having to deep fry them. If you noticed when her ice cream balls hit the oil nothing happened as it appears her dry fryer wasn’t on or up to temperature. This dessert just doesn’t make sense for Thanksgiving. It’s something you want to serve right away, so really something for a special night not a holiday. Still this might be a fun to try out.

Gravy
One viewer was trying to make their own gravy but was concerned about lumps. The biggest thing they recommended was to make sure to be stirring often and use flour never corn starch. I like using a combo of flour and potato starch keeps the gravy from becoming a huge mass. I wrote a post last year about how to fix your gravy if it becomes lumpy.

Carving
Alton carves a whole turkey with an electric knife in 1 minute 11 seconds!!!! And he still had all his fingers when he was done. The electric knife is the easiest and fastest way to carve a bird.

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Dry Brined Turkey

In November 2011 I watched with eager anticipation Alton Brown’s Countdown to T-Day. The Good Eats episode Romancing the Bird is a classic that influenced me so much in the kitchen. I really wanted to see what Alton came up with. His original turkey recipe is beloved by so many. It’s the most commented recipe on all of Food Network’s website. How could you top that? Alton presented a new method. Unfortunately for me by the time I saw the episode I had no time to try it out before Thanksgiving. So I have been waiting an entire year to have my chance again and I took it the day that turkeys went on sale.

Dry Brined Turkey

Alton identified some problems with the wet brined turkey. The skin doesn’t crisp up well, the drippings are too salty for gravy making, and if you brine it too long you end up with mushy meat. So how does one fix this problem. Get rid of the water. But without the water won’t the turkey become too dry? That is where the butterflying method comes in. By removing the back bone with shears or an electric knife (which is what I used) and flattening the bird out you can cook it faster.

Below you will find my notes from this recipe. To print out the recipe, visit Food Network’s website.

Dry Brined Turkey

1. I purchased my turkey on Sunday. I picked a 11-pounder. I had my wife thaw it while I was at work that night. The turkey goes into cold water which you should change every 3 hours or so. Use a brick if the turkey floats, it needs to be fully submerged. The rate of defrosting is about 2 lbs every hour, so it took around 6 hours.

2. I made up the dry brine in my electric grinder. You want to try and find rubbed sage instead of the more powder stuff. It is more potent. It was made by rubbing the sage leaves through a mesh screen. I found some on sale same day I got the turkey.

3. Removing the back bone is never as easy as Alton makes it look (see the video I posted below). It took me a bit of struggle to get all the way through. I found the electric knife to do a good job. My kitchen shears are in need of sharpening. I saved the back bone along with the neck and giblets that I made stock with on the day I cooked the turkey (click here for my instructions on making gravy with giblet stock).

4. Try to distribute the dry brine as evenly as you can get it, on both sides. Use all of it, even if you think you don’t need to. If you have a bigger bird you may need to make more, just try and keep everything in proportion.

5. I am fortunate to have a good sized fridge so I managed to get it on in without touching anything. You are suppose to leave the turkey uncovered for 4 days. You don’t want moisture to build up underneath your covering. This is a kind of dry age method like top notch steakhouses do with their steaks.

6. Compare the two photos of the raw turkey. You can see the skin has dried out and appears more translucent.

7. To roast the turkey you place it directly on the oven rack. That may seem weird but there is a very good reason – panzanella. You place the roasting pan would have used for the turkey in the rack underneath it. It is filled with cubed root veggies. The drippings fall down onto the veggies adding flavor.

8. My turkey was done at right around 90 minutes, that is when the internal temperature reached 155 degrees (a probe thermometer is your best friend). Carry over heat brought it the perfect temperature of 165. I was excited to have nailed that temperature perfectly.

Final Thoughts
Unbelievable. I love the original Good Eats Turkey, but I think we have a new champion. The meat was so juicy and flavorful, particularly the dark meat. Even the inner most part of the breast takes like the dried herbs. I also liked the ease of this recipe. The hardest part, the butterflying was done days before I had to cook. So when I was tired after working 8 hours it wasn’t too much trouble to cook the turkey. I will no doubt do this method again. It was worth the year of anticipation. Major kudos to Alton for not resting on his laurels and coming up with a new Thanksgiving hit!

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One of my favorite part of the Thanksgiving season is all the Thanksgiving shows on Food Network leading up to the big day. I love trying out new recipes from different Food Network personalities. It’s a great way to learn new techniques and flavor combinations that you can then become creative with. Last year I tried out a Shaved Brussels Sprouts from the Neeleys. I like the idea of chopping up the sprouts in a food processor. I have used this technique and tried out other flavors since.

Below you will find a list of shows airing on Food Network before Thanksgiving. I will review a selection of them myself so keep checking back for updates.

Guy’s Big Bite: “Thanksgiving”  | Saturday, November 10th @ 7am | Click here for recipes
Thanksgiving classics with a twist are prepared including Birthday Pork Roast, Red Devil Cranberries, Three Cheese Red Bell Pepper Ravioli, Whiskey-Glazed Sweet Potatoes.

Paula’s Best Dishes: “Thanksgiving Party” | Saturday, November 10th @ 10am | Click here for the recipes
Paula treats a group of deserving young men to a Thanksgiving meal that includes: a turkey-and-sweet potato shepherd’s pie, a harvest salad with a sweet-Dijon vinaigrette, and a cranberry upside-down cake.

Trisha’s Southern Kitchen: “A Yearwood Thanksgiving”| Saturday, November 10th @ 11am | Click here for the recipes
Trisha hosts Thanksgiving. The meal includes a roasted turkey, cranberry-orange relish, cornbread dressing, and a sweet-potato souffle.

Giada at Home: “Thanksgiving Sides” | Saturday, November 10th @ 11:30am & Monday, November 12th @ 3pm
Side dishes for Thanksgiving are prepared. Recipes include: baked-mashed potatoes with peas, Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs, sweet and savory root vegetable stuffing with apples and dried cranberries, and persimmon-pumpkin pie. She also makes a turkey cookie centerpiece that the kids will love.

Paula’s Best Dishes: “Turkey Time”| Sunday, November 11th @ 7am
The host’s cousin, Johnnie Gabriel, helps prepare Thanksgiving recipes including: roasted turkey with maple-apple cider, apple-cranberry stuffing, mashed potatoes with parsnips and rutabagas, and pumpkin pie.

Paula’s Home Cooking: “Southern Thanksgiving Leftovers”| Sunday, November 11th @ 7:30am
Dishes are prepared from Thanksgiving leftovers.

Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day: “Thanksgiving Before and After”| Sunday, November 11th @ 9am | Click here for the recipes
Dishes to be enjoyed before and after Thanksgiving include barbecue-turkey gumbo, bacon and brussels sprouts-mac and cheese, and egg noodles with turkey, fennel and onions. I will be giving at least one of these recipes a try (like my facebook page to find when I post my review)

Sandwich King: “Thanksgiving Sandwiches”| Sunday, November 11th @ 11am | Click here for the recipes
Jeff transforms Thanksgiving leftovers into sandwiches. Included: stuffing used as bread, and a turkey hero is made with cranberry barbecue sauce. Also, Jeff’s spin on his mom’s mashed potatoes. I want to try using the stuffing as bread recipe once I have my leftovers ready (like my facebook page to find when I post my review)

BF’s Barbecue Addiction| Monday, November 12th @ 9:30am
Bobby Flay grills a Thanksgiving feast. On the menu: Cajun brined turkey, grilled Idaho potatoes with crabmeat and green onion dressing, grilled crawfish, eggplant casserole with red pepper pesto and Cajun breadcrumbs.

Alex’s Day Off: “An Early Thanksgiving”| Monday, November 12th @10:30am
Turkey with spicy sausage stuffing, sugar-cranberry with homemade crust, stove-top green bean casserole with fried shallots.

Giada at Home: “Thanksgiving”| Monday, November 12th @ 3:30pm | Click here for the recipes
Giada switches it up, preparing pork chops for Thanksgiving. Recipes include: Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina Cheese Crostini
Honey-Mustard Pork Roast with Bacon, and Chocolate, Chestnut and Orange Trifle

Barefoot Contessa: “Thanksgiving Pot Luck”| Monday, November 12th @4:00pm
A Thanksgiving feast, featuring turkey roulade, homemade gravy, roasted vegetables, cranberry conserve, and gingerbread cupcakes with orange frosting.

Barefoot Contessa: “Thanksgiving”| Monday, November 12th @4:30pm
A Thanksgiving meal. Featured: Cornish hens, corn-bread stuffing, celery root puree, Italian broccoli.

Down Home With the Neelys|Tuesday, November 13, @ 10:00am
The Neelys celebrate Thanksgiving with recipes for stuffed turkey breast with sweet Italian sausage stuffing, white cheddar mashed potatoes, shaved brussels sprouts with bacon and walnuts, and pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting.

Cooking for Real: “Game Changing:| Tuesday, November 13th @10:30am
Turkey with quick pan gravy is made, along with cherry-lemon relish and parsnip puree.

30-Minute Meals: “Gobble It Up”| Tuesday, November 13th @2:30pm
Thanksgiving dinner with an Italian twist, featuring turkey ragu with polenta and dark greens with cranberries.

Barefoot Contessa: “Thanksgiving 2.0″| Tuesday, November 13th @4:00pm
Thanksgiving dishes are prepared, including truffle butter turkey, sausage stuffed mushrooms, roasted brussels sprouts, and turkey hash browns.

Barefoot Contessa: “Thanksgiving Countdown”| Tuesday, November 13th @4:30pm
Herb roasted turkey breast, served with sausage and herb stuffing, homemade gravy and celery root and apple puree.

Throwdown With Bobby Flay: “Pumpkin Pie”| Wednesday, November 14th @ 9:30am
A pumpkin pie bake-off against Michelle Albano, owner of Michelle’s Pies in Norwalk, Conn.

5 Ingredient Fix: “Thanksgiving” Wednesday, November 14th @ 10:00am
How to prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Included: a two-day timeline, a shopping list, tips for choosing a turkey.

30-Minute Meals: “Keep On Giving” |Thursday, November 15th @ 2:30pm
On the Menu: turkey pot pie topped with cranberry-orange corn muffins, honey mustard dressed greens with apples and pears.

Big Daddy’s House: “Gobbling Good” | Friday, November 16th @ 9:30am
On the menu: mini quiche with Thanksgiving stuffing, sweet and savory turkey paninis, roasted corn and brussels sprouts succotash, and spiked apple cider cocktails.

Good Eats: “Fry Turkey Fry”| Friday, November 16th @ 11:00am
A look at deep-fried turkey. Included: how to get the best flavor and texture when deep frying the bird.

30-Minute Meals: “Thanks Me Later” | Friday, November 16th @ 2:30pm
Included: turkey cutlets with gravy, raw stuffing salad, walnut ice cream with maple cream berries.

Barefoot Contessa: “Turkey–Not Just For Thanksgiving” | Friday, November 16th @ 4:30pm
Herbed butter roast turkey, paresan popovers, vegetable tian and creme brule.

The Best Thing I Ever Made: “Easy as Pie” | Saturday, November 17th @ 8:00am
Alton Brown, Anne Burrell, Scott Conant and Sam Choy share their favorite pie recipes. Included: shepherd’s pie, grape-caramel pie (click here for Alton Brown’s recipe), Turkish borek, and cream pie.

Giada At Home: “Thanksgiving Favorites”| Saturday, November 17th @ 11:30am
Cranberry-orange glazed turkey served with roasted root vegetable salad and pumpkin and goat cheese risotto.

Deen Brothers Thanksgiving| Saturday, November 17th @ 12:00pm
Bobby and Jaime Deen cook Thanksgiving dinner for the entire family, including proud mother Paula.

Alton’s Countdown to T-Day| Saturday, November 17th @ 1:00pm | Check out my episode review
Alton makes a stress free turkey day but starting the planning 4 days ahead of time. In this Good Eats special he makes: Bourbon Pecan Pie, Butterflied, Dry Brined Roasted Turkey with Roasted Root Vegetable Panzanella, Turkey Giblet Gravy, and Whipped Potatoes

Guy’s Bite Bite | Sunday, November 18th @ 10:30am
Turkey Cordon Bleu is made, along with twice-baked sweet potatoes and green-bean casserole with homemade mushroom gravy

Fresh Food Fast | Sunday, November 18th @ 10:30am (Cooking Channel)
Honey-lemon-thyme roasted Cornish game hens, pan-roasted Brussels Sprouts with pancetta, cheddar and green onion spoon bread, and butternut squash cobbler

Good Eats “Romancing the Bird” | Sunday, November 18th @ 11am
Alton Brown’s classic episode where he finds a way to reverse the “dry turkey curse” that has plagues his family for years. Includes the instructions on how to make the Good Eats Roast Turkey, the most commented upon recipe in Food Network website history.

Thanksgiving Live | Sunday, November 18th @ 12:00pm (replayed at 6pm), Monday, November 19th @ 4pm, Wednesday, November 21st @ 10am
Thanksgiving related questions and deilemmas posed by viewers as well as offer tips, hints, and recipes to make the holiday meal a success.

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