Turkey waiting for the grill
This Thanksgiving, neither my brother or I went home to Chicago for the weekend. My brother was just beginning finals season for the fall semester of his second year at DU law school, and I would be traveling home the following weekend for a job interview and graduate school visit. So, we held Thanksgiving at my brothers place in Denver with a friend from CC and my brother’s dog.
The big question was how we would do dinner. Do we make a traditional turkey feast? Do we go low key and just make something simple? Do we relieve the stress completely by ordering in or even going out somewhere? When one is a senior in college, thinking about the life ahead where there are no dining halls or meal plans, cooking such a momentous and grand feast as Thanksgiving dinner comes as the type of challenge that needs tackling. Despite the absence of a meal plan last year as well as this year and my growing cooking abilities, this was still the perfect opportunity for my brother and me to test our “real-world” prowess.
We decided that in order to do this, we must do it right. That meant cooking enough food to feed about 15 people despite really only feeding three mouths. So, we took on the task of making all of the necessary side dishes along with cooking a 12 lb. turkey. Once we had decided what we were cooking, the next step was thinking about how we would cook everything. It was unanimous that the turkey must be done on the Weber charcoal grill. My dad sent us a video of Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass instructing folks on how to brine and grill a turkey. We followed Kass’ directions and brined overnight in a mixture of apple juice, salt, rosemary, sage, and thyme. The next morning, we removed the turkey from the brining bag and prepped it for the grill.
While we prepped the turkey and the grill, my brother continued the parade of side dishes in the kitchen. He prepared a green
Turkey in the brine bag going into the refrigerator
A little charred on the edges, but it tasted SO good.
bean casserole, stuffing, sweet potatoes, a cranberry crumble, and mashed potatoes. His girlfriend, gone for the holiday, had prepared a tomato pie for us as well. To top it all off, my grandmother, sad that my brother and I would not be joining the family in Chicago, ordered an apple and pecan pie from a local Denver bakery. When I say we had enough to feed maybe 15 – I’m not kidding.
The bird was miraculous. After about 2.5 hours, we had a juicy, tasty, and well-cooked turkey. We proceeded to stuff ourselves to the point of explosion, yet still had enough to feed each of us for the next week (which is exactly what happened). After a long day of cooking and enjoying a beautiful Colorado day, I could not have been more proud. I think sometimes we underestimate the things that we are capable of.