Friendsgiving 2011

Turkey time, same as the first!

First off, I gotta talk about the great turkey-napping of 2011. We do almost all of our grocery shopping at our local ShopRite, especially after our local SuperFresh closed down. We found out on Sunday that we had acquired enough PricePlus points to qualify for a free turkey. Sweet! I went back on Tuesday to pick it up, and while checking out, the cashier informs me that I’ve already redeemed my free turkey. When? 4:30pm today, while I was at the office. Apparently, according to the cashier, there have been people using other customer numbers and redeeming/stealing the free turkeys. Unbelievable. I don’t know if this is a situation where people are trying various home phone numbers, or it’s an inside job by fraudulent ShopRite employees. More than likely, I’m thinking it’s an inside job. Sad.

In the end, since we were buying a turkey now with our own cold hard cash, I put back the ShopRite brand turkey and went for a Butterball. I didn’t know if it was truly better, but it costs more, and another customer endorsed it. Why be cheap?

Our guests were bringing appetizers and liquor, so we were responsible for the turkey, the sides, and dessert. Nums started cooking up the sides on Friday, and we started the brining process. Now I’ll admit that roasting our first turkey for a large party of our friends intimidated me. I’ve read the horror stories of undercooked or dry turkeys, and I’m not much of a roasting meats kind of guy. Still, my wife’s confidence in turn gave me confidence.

We kept it defrosted in the refrigerator until Friday, then we started the brining process of letting it soak overnight. First, I had to do all the prep work of opening it up, taking out the insides, etc. It went into the covered tub we borrowed from my sister on Thursday with all the brining juices and spices. Then I covered the bin, and put it outside in our backyard to stay cold overnight for 12-16 hours. The bin would obviously not fit in our refrigerator, and the outside overnight temperature would be in the mid-30’s, much like our refrigerator. Saturday afternoon we walked through the rest of turkey prep by watching some step-by-step Food Network video.

Our slowly arrived around 6pm. Unfortunately, we had some last minute cancellations from guests, so we had more food leftover than expected, but the dinner went very well. We actually fit just about everyone around the dining room table, and the turkey and sides were delicious. As a matter of fact, all the appetizers were delicious too.

So all in all, it was a good experience. While it was originally daunting, roasting a turkey wasn’t all that bad.

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