3 Tips for Your Thanksgiving Bird

Thanksgiving just looks different this year.

I would LOVE to enjoy a large holiday gathering with extended family, but that simply isn’t going to happen next week. Instead, we’re opting for cooking a simple meal at home and enjoying some Zoom calls with grandparents, aunts, and uncles who live out of state.

Before you get out your roasting pan, we have a few tips we hope will help make your Thanksgiving meal a delicious one, even if it isn’t quite the same.

Thanksgiving Poultry Options

1. Size. If that 18-pound bird in your freezer is looking a little large for your small gathering, we have some great options for you.
Instead of a whole bird, we have Turkey Pieces available. You can even get just your favorite cuts. Everyone wants a drumstick? Not a problem! Breasts, Thighs, Drumsticks, and Wings are available in the farm store.
Consider an alternative to turkey this year. We also have 5-8 pound whole roasting chickens if you’re looking for a smaller spin on the traditional bird.

How to Brine Your Holiday Poultry

2. Plan. The idea of making a plan this year is rather ironic, so maybe think of this as timing instead. In order for the next step (brining) to be successful, you do have to get an early start. Make sure you have all the materials and ingredients to prep the meat you’ve chosen and plan to start, up to 3 days (plus thawing!) before cooking if you have a large turkey.
3. Brine. Our family discovered the technique of brining a few years ago and it has absolutely transformed cooking white meat around here. No more dry meat. Every bite is succulent, tender, and delicious. 
Poultry is perfect for brining! And it’s so forgiving – even if it’s slightly overcooked, the meat is still juicy, not dry. It really helps bring stress levels down a notch when you’re tasked with getting that holiday meal just right.
We follow a recipe from Michael Ruhlman’s book Charcuterie.

Brining Times:

Submerge the meat in brine. 
▫ 5-8 lb. chicken: 18 hours
▫ 10-15 lb. turkey: 24 hours
▫ 15+ lb. turkey: 24-36 hours
▫ Turkey breast: 12-16 hours
If you’re cooking a whole turkey, you can brine it in either a food-grade five gallon bucket or a large brining bag. I rarely have enough space in my fridge for a five gallon bucket, so I’ve often opted to brine it in a bag and put it in an ice chest filled with ice. (We even did this one year and had the turkey brining in an ice chest in the back of our van all the way to Virginia. It stayed cold and resulted in an excellent turkey!) 
After Brining
Once the meat has finished brining, remove it from the brine solution, pat dry, and refrigerate uncovered for 3-24 hours. The longer it rests, the meat will become more evenly seasoned and the skin will be more crisp.
Roast until internal temp is 165 degrees. We personally prefer the meat at 175 degrees. Don’t go by time; go by the internal temperature. Remove from oven and rest for about 15 minutes after cooking to allow juices to settle.
Here are a few tips:
◾ Make sure all of the meat is covered in brine. For a 15+ pound bird, you may need to double the brine recipe.
◾ Make sure you have a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.
◾ Be sure to plan ahead and allow time for the meat to rest after both brining and cooking.
◾ Don’t leave out the sugar or honey as it creates the beautiful golden color!
◾ If it appears the skin is getting dark too quickly, tent with foil.
◾ Remember that brined meat cooks about 20% faster than unbrined meat and adjust your cooking time accordingly. 
I know it seems like a bit of an undertaking. It takes time to plan it out, but the actual process is not difficult and the results are definitely worth the effort! 

Milking Facility Update

We’ve made some exciting progress the past few weeks! We’ve nearly completed demolition. Here you can see the excavator tearing away large slabs of concrete where the cows used to gather before being milked.

Here the guys are pouring concrete for the new dairy processing room. We’re all pretty excited about the heated concrete floor so we can more comfortably produce your favorite JakoPure dairy treats!

P.S. Plastic Bags Needed

We are low on plastic bags in the farm store. We would love to take any extras you have. We’re committed to reducing waste around here and we’re simply not going to buy plastic shopping bags. Thanks for helping us out!