Tuesday, November 25, 2008

to smoke or not to smoke

No, I’m not thinking of picking up the dreadful cancer causing smelly habit of smoking cigarettes. A friend mentioned that a group of people were going to smoke their turkeys in a big pit overnight and asked if I wanted to join them. Wow, the thought of not having to cook a turkey and have my oven on for 3-4 hours is very tempting.

I’ve not had a smoked turkey in a long time other than the lunch meat that I purchase at the local deli. I know these are not close in comparison except by name as the taste of a fresh smoked turkey is out of this world.

I’m a little uncertain what to do. You see the one thing my son and his girlfriend requested for Thanksgiving dinner is lots of leftovers. No special dishes that they must have or it wouldn’t be thanksgiving. Just leftovers.

Now that is one thing I can do is cook too much food. The reason for the request for leftovers is a good friend showed me what she does with leftover turkey dinner over 10 years ago. My son absolutely loves it. My friend would layer the leftovers in loaf pans; put in the freezer and weeks or a month down the road you have a wonderful quick meal. And I have to confess I think it tastes better then the actual dinner, it is very moist.

To make this layered turkey dinner in a loaf pan start with a layer of stuffing. Next put a layer of pulled turkey followed with a layer of mashed potatoes. The last layer is the gravy. It can be tricky figuring out the amount each layer should be, it’s more personal preference on what you like the most but the best advice I can give is, Leave Room For The Gravy!

Remember that when food freezes it expands so if you don’t leave room it will pop the container lid off. I drew a diagram for you of the layer amount, as you can see an artist I am not.

layers of the casserole

Now I’m going to let you in on a little secret. There have been times that there weren’t enough leftovers to make a casserole for two. So what I’d do is whip up some Stove Top stuffing or instance mash potatoes and gravy depending on the need. The only thing I couldn’t whip up is turkey. If there weren’t enough leftovers then we didn't have a casserole that year. I know using instant foods is sacrilegious but it worked.

So you ask why the dilemma then, why wouldn’t I want a mouth watering no fuss cooked by someone else turkey? My concern is that the smoked flavor of the turkey will taste funny in the leftover casserole.

I will need to consult my turkey consultant, no not call the Butterball Hotline but call my dad. He’s the one who takes care of the turkey in our family and he’ll hopefully have some sage advice.

I’ll let you know what I decide to do.

Editor Update: Checked with dad and he said to go ahead with smoking the turkey but to remember that there would be no crispy skin. Uh oh. Called Mr. T, he nixed the turkey smoking. And I quote, ‘the skin is the best part’. A chip off the old block; like mother like son. The ole bird will be cooked in the oven.

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