Q: What cooking method did you choose?
A: A fast, hot roast. I brought the bird very nearly to room temperature, then loosened its skin and rubbed it throughout with softened butter, herbs, and garlic. I seasoned it thoroughly and stuck a quartered apple and a quartered onion in the cavity. Then I tied oiled paper over the breast (for the first 3/4 of the roasting time only) and stuck little foil shoes on the tips of the legs. I put it in a 425-degree oven and it almost immediately started spitting juices.
Q: How long did it take to roast?
A: Believe it or not, only 1 hour and 15 minutes. I've never, ever heard of such a short cooking time for such a substantial bird. It pretty much defied the laws of physics, as far as I can tell. I must have stuck the meat thermometer in it 20 times--I thought I was going crazy! It came as quite a shock to me and resulted in a hectic scramble to finish all the side dishes. The s.o. gets major props for helping me in a pinch.
Q: Was it hard to keep it moist?
A: Um, a big no on that one. All the butter-rubbing was completely superfluous (except for the added flavor, of course), because that turkey was chubby as hell. Apparently I spoiled it. There wasn't as much fat as there is on a goose, but it was damn close.
Q: Get to the point! What did it taste like?
A: The white meat tasted like turkey. Turkey times two. The dark meat tasted like duck! All of it had more texture than you'd expect from a Butterball, but none of it was chewy or tough. It was absolutely the best turkey we've ever tasted. (And still is...we have a lot of leftovers to enjoy!)
Q: Will there be future turkeys at 10 Signs Farm?
A: Almost certainly yes. I am really grateful for this entire experience. Raising my own meat might seem pretty far removed from my 16 years of vegetarianism, but for me, it's consistent. I object to factory farming--I just think it's wrong. I've been a troubled carnivore these last few years, but this is something I can support.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope your holiday was as wonderful as ours. I am so thankful for my family...my smart, funny, awesome s.o....my beloved doggies...my friends here and everywhere...and the stars spinning in the sky over our little 12 acres of heaven.