DM Haight


We’ve all seen the Griswold’s and their turkey (and if you haven’t, shame on you.). Christmas Vacation has taught us here at KineCritical that if you intend on making something, even if you do want your in-laws to choke, at least make it right. They can choke on a bone or something.

So we want to show all of you out there in the world of Holiday Cooking, that the the most moist, delicious, tender, sweet, savory turkey you could find, is NOT that one your granny has been making since the stone age. Seriously, get rid of the potbelly stove. It hasn’t cooked anything right since Ben Franklin died.

You may be wondering why we’re so upity about the quality of turkey in films. Have you seen the Griswold turkey?
It’s not exactly what you want on Christmas night when the family is judging you because you forgot to grab the cranberries for the stuffing that you hate and sometimes do terrible things to. So instead of suffering through turkey you need water just to coax down your throat, we’re going to show you how not to mess up the Griswold turkey.

Take the time to actually think of the turkey itself. It’s beautiful; it sacrificed its life unwillingly, so show it some respect. First we brine, and depending on the size of the bird (we used an 18 pounder), you’re going to need a few days and some authentic apple cider. Don’t go with the clear liquid you can get year round. Make sure to grab at least a half gallon of that murky, sugary, appley, cidery goodness you can only get during the most wonderful time of the year.

You’re going to need a few other things as well:

1 Large onion

6 Stalks of cleaned celery

6 roughly chopped carrots

A head of garlic chopped in half, paper and all

The apple cider

A half bunch of fresh sage and thyme

A cup of kosher salt

Most people thaw out their turkey and do a day long brine, but our method is a bit different. We thaw in the brine. This imparts even more flavor, and gives you the peace of mind knowing that the turkey will have that awesome flavor, while being completely thawed. We used a larger storage bag (XL Ziplock), and poured in all the ingredients listed above, then filled the rest of the bag with cool water until the turkey is covered. Store the turkey in the fridge (if you have a bucket, use that to help store for easy removal and extra security in regards to spills or leaks) for at least three days. By doing this you’ll allow the turkey to not only thaw slowly, but all those delicious flavors  you threw in the bucket will stew together and seep into the turkey. With all the salt and cider you’ll have one of the best tasting turkeys you’ve ever had waiting for you to roast.

Three days later, pull out the turkey. Rinse it off, and get ready to feel up some turkey boobs.

You’ll need one stick of room temperature butter. Take half a bunch of sage and thyme and chop finely. Add some salt and black pepper to the mix and stir until well-incorporated. Now lift up the bird’s breast skin (be careful not to tear) and push the butter mixture around, seasoning the breast meat. Next you want to get some olive oil, and lightly drizzle it over the skin. Season with salt and pepper, and make sure to get the underside of the bird as well.

Place the turkey in a roasting pan and stick it in an oven at 350 degrees for a good for 5 hours, or until the bird hits 170 degrees, and be sure to cover the turkey with tinfoil to prevent the skin burning. Once you are in the last 20-30 minutes of cooking time, lay a bacon lattice over the turkey. This will help to add a final salty/smokey flavor, and will allow you to leave the bird alone for the rest of the cooking process.

TADA! look at that, it’s not bones and dust. Hell, I’d bet that looks like it’s even moist. Oh, why yes it is.

And there you have it. The Griswold turkey has been saved from it’s sad fate of dryness and despair. No more are the days of coughing up turkey bits for weeks on end.

Hopefully your bird will survive the in-laws seal of approval, and be enough for a sandwich later in the week while you’re watching Chevy Chase and co. in Christmas Vacation. Enjoy, guys!


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