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Bourbon & Maple Glazed Turkey

For those of you who have followed the blog for a while, you may remember that last year Dan and I fried our first turkey together. It was an awesome learning experience and that turkey was delicious, but it was kind of terrifying and afterwards I got a lecture from the Captain about wearing protective wear (says the guy who fries turkeys in his garage).  So, this year, we went into the whole turkey frying thing a little more cautiously.  Meaning, Dan read the transcript from the Alton Brown turkey frying episode. Y’all, that is exactly why I love my husband.  Because he reads tv show transcripts to learn. For funsies.

Alton Brown has never lead us astray, and this turkey was no different.  His recommendation, to prevent the thing where the oil gets all furious when you put the turkey in, is to lower the temperature to around 230, add the turkey, add more oil if necessary, and then raise the temperature.  It worked like a gem.  This turkey was incredible.  I apologize in advance for the gratuitous photographs. I promise you, this is about 1/3 of the amount that I took.

See? No crazy bubbling over! Just a calm, happily cooking turkey.

Later, there was the bubbling that says “I’m going to be delicious!”

The most delicious turkey I have ever had.

The bourbon-maple glaze.  And, below, our friend Chris holding up the back of my “studio” so it wouldn’t blow over in the wind.  Also, I think he was trying to figure out a way to steal the turkey without anyone noticing.

Bourbon & Maple Glazed Turkey

To fry a turkey, you need a large burner, a pot meant for turkey frying (you can get them cheap at any home improvement store), oil to fill your pot, and an oil thermometer.  If you’re not frying, this glaze would still be delicious on a roasted turkey, just apply it before, during, and after roasting.

To begin, heat your oil to around 230.  Take your turkey out of the brine, and attach it to the hook.  Lower it, slowly, into the oil.  If necessary, add more oil so that the turkey is covered.  Raise the temperature to 375.  Cook for 2-3 minutes per pound, or until golden brown.  We cooked out 12 pound turkey for 31 minutes and it was perfect.

About 10 minutes before your turkey is ready to come out of the oil, combine 2 1/2 cups maple syrup and 1 cup bourbon.  Simmer, stirring together.

When your turkey is ready, lift it out of the oil and allow it to drain.  Place it on a platter and carefully remove the hook.  Immediately cover in glaze.  For the next 30-40 minutes (or an hour if you’re very patient), glaze every 10 minutes as the turkey cools and its juices redistribute.

At the request of the group I left the glaze on the table so people could pour more on their turkey.  It was pretty delicious and totally addictive.

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Bourbon Brine

As you may know, I’m a big fan of a brined, fried turkey.  That’s the way we make it at home, and that’s the way Dan and I have made it for the past two years.  Not only is the end result totally moist, delicious, and perfectly seasoned, it’s a lot of fun.  And quick.  Have I mentioned how quick and easy it is?

This year, in keeping with the bourbon theme, I decided to brine the turkey in a bourbon and brown sugar solution.  The end result, even before the maple-bourbon glaze that everyone was dipping their faces in by the end of the night, was an out-of-this-world turkey.  Perfectly salted with hints of sweetness and a spicy bourbon flavor.

 

 

Bourbon Brine

 

Water

4 cups bourbon

2 bay leaves

3/4 cup kosher salt

1 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp pepper

Pinch of red pepper flakes

5 cloves garlic

 

Fill your pot halfway full of water.  Add all ingredients but the bourbon.  Bring to a boil, then let cool completely.  Add the bourbon, then add the turkey.  The brine should cover the turkey completely, add water as necessary.  Cover and let sit for two days.

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Bourbon Pecan Pie

Originally my dessert plan for fake Thanksgiving was to make a classic apple pie, and add some fun how-tos on making the top crust more fun and playful (I still plan on doing that post, it just might not be part of this Thanksgiving spread).  However, the day before the big meal I was discussing the menu with my friend Sara, and she made a face.  Her patented “meh, that sounds boring” face.  Instead, she suggested, I make a pecan pie.  I explained that I already had a pecan pie on the blog, and that the point of fake Thanksgiving was to offer up new, exciting Thanksgiving ideas.  Her response was something along the lines of “well, put bourbon in it.”  I can always count on fellow southerners to suggest boozing things up.

So, when I was making the pie dough, I added some bourbon.  And then a splash more.  In fact, I substituted almost all the water in the pie dough recipe for bourbon.  And then later, when I was making the filling I added about a quarter cup of bourbon.  And then I figured, if I’m going to do this I might as well do it right and added another quarter cup.  Then topped it off with a splash more.

This is may be the booziest pie ever.  But I have to say, it’s also one of the best pies I’ve ever had OR made.  I’m not just flattering myself, I’m pretty critical of what I make.  This is amazing. As in, I want to make another one right now just to eat by myself. If you’re thinking of making a pecan pie for Thanksgiving and your family is cool with a little (lot) of bourbon, DO THIS.

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Pie Dough (makes two crusts):

2 1/2 cups all p flour

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup vegetable shortening, cold

1 1/2 stick cold butter

1/4-1 cup bourbon

Splash of ice water

Spices/flavor enhancers

Pie Filling:

1 stick of butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup corn syrup

1/4 tsp salt

3 eggs

1 1/2 cup chopped (or crushed) pecans

1/2 cup bourbon

Start with your dough. Sift dry ingredients.  Add shortening and break it up with your hands as you start to coat the flour.  Add butter and work it in until it resembles coarse corn meal.  You should be able to pinch the dough together to form chunks.  Add the ice water/bourbon, a little at a time, stirring in with a wooden spoon  Only add as much as it takes to make a ball.  Any more than that and you will be left with chewey crust.  However, make sure you’re using enough for your dough to hold together.  If you’re adding honey, now would be the time to whisk it into the water.  Be cautious with the amounts you chose, you don’t want it to get too sticky, I don’t recommend more than 3 tbsp.

Form a ball and divide it in half.  Cover each half with saran wrap and flatten into a disc shape.  Pop in the fridge for at least half an hour.  Take half the dough out of the fridge, and roll it out on a lightly floured surface.  It also helps to cover your rolling pin with flour.  Fit the dough into your pie dish.  The rest of your dough you can use for another pie.

Next, time for filling. Melt butter and set aside to cool.  Beat eggs, then add sugar, syrup, bourbon, and butter.  Whisk together.  Incorporate pecans.

Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.

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