It’s Beginning to Smell Like the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

I’ve been so busy trying to make sure I had the perfect turkey this Thanksgiving, I almost forget to share this recipe! I’m sorry if this is too late for your Thanksgiving festivities this year. For many years, the turkey was one of my lease favorite dishes at my Thanksgiving feast. It’s not that I don’t like turkey – it’s usually my go-to for sandwiches – but the Thanksgiving turkey is always dry. I always assumed it was just because of the meat, but realized that there is a trick to help make any size Thanksgiving turkey moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. So, what’s the secret to the perfect Thanksgiving turkey you ask – brining!

Ingredients (for a 14 – 17 lb. turkey):

  • 1 turkey, thawed
  • 6 pack of beer ( I used Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale)
  • About 5 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 cups Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 8 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 medium-sized onions, halved
  • 3 cups ice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

Cooking Directions (Preparation):

  1. In a large pot, add water, salt, garlic and onions and stir occasionally.
  2. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
  3. Add beer and ice.
  4. Allow mixture to cool. (Tip: Put the covered pot outdoors for a bit to cool faster.)
  5. Rinse your turkey and remove the “giblet” bag from inside the cavity.
  6. Place your turkey in a large bucket and pour the brine over the turkey until it is covered.
  7. Brine for 12 – 18 hours.
  8. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well. (Tip: Don’t forget to rinse the inside as well!)
  9. Place the turkey in a pan with a rack and allow to dry for about 12 hours.

Now, it’s time to get your bird in the oven!

  1. Preheat your oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
  2. Cover your turkey with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.
  3. Stuff your turkey with butter and rub some butter underneath the skin of the turkey.
  4. Get your oven bag out and sprinkle the flour on the inside of the bag.
  5. Put your turkey in the bag and seal.
  6. Place the bag in a roasting plan with 1 cup of water.
  7. Your turkey is done once the internal temperature reaches 160° Fahrenheit. (Tip: A 14 – 17 lb. turkey should take about 4 1/2 hours to cook.)

Beer of the Week: Brooklyn Brewery – Oishi

Inspired by Sorachi Ace (7.6% alcohol), this session beer is the first beer from Brooklyn Brewery’s The Worshipful Company of Brewers program. The program gives the company’s brewers the opportunity to brew customized beers in small batches. About 40 barrels of each style are available at Brooklyn’s brew house. Tom Villa, who has been brewing with the company since 1998, is the first brewer to be featured in the program. Visit Brooklyn Brewery’s brew house and try some before it runs out!

BK Brew House

Brooklyn Oishi (3.9% alcohol): “Oishi” or “delicious” in Japanese pours a cloudy golden yellow with a white head. Subtle citrus – mostly lemon zest – and Sorachi Ace hops create a refreshing aroma. Overall, this beer tasted like a pilsner with hints of wheat and citrus. A subtle bitterness and a peppery bite are also noticeable in the background. The flavor is simple enough for all beer drinkers, yet complex at the same time to satisfy even the biggest beer snobs. Oishi is highly flavorful and drinkable.

I didn’t realize that Oishi was part of a brewing program and almost avoided trying this beer because of the low ABV. Glad I didn’t pass this one up!

I’m excited to see what other great beers will be produced by the Worshipful Company of Brewers program. Guess I’ll be visiting Brooklyn Brewery very soon! Cheers.

Pumpkin Beer Cupcakes

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. What are you going to bring to the Thanksgiving get together this year? Maybe an appetizer or a dessert? No! Impress everyone at your Thanksgiving festivities this year – don’t bring a boring pumpkin pie like everyone else. Make these delicious Pumpkin Beer Cupcakes from The Days of Dawn and your dessert will be the talk of the party!

Ingredients (For the cupcakes):

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin ale ( I like Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery)
  • 4 tbsp. butter (1/2 stick)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

(For the frosting):

  • 6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp. salted butter
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup

(For the candied bacon):

  • 3 – 5 slices of bacon
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar

Cooking Directions (For Bacon):

  1. Start by placing the bacon slices on a cold baking sheet, sprinkle with brown sugar evenly, and place in cold oven.
  2. Turn oven on to 350 degrees and check back in 15 minutes.
  3. You want the bacon to be crispy, but not charred, so remove when they’re the perfect, sizzling crispness and cool.
  4. When bacon is cooled, chop into small pieces to sprinkle on top of the frosting at the end.

For Cupcakes:

  1. Since the oven is already preheated, prep the cupcake liners in the tin.
  2. Then combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. In a non stick frying pan, melt butter over low heat until slightly browned.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine browned butter with granulated and brown sugars; whisk together until combined.
  5. Add eggs, pumpkin and beer to the butter sugar mixture and fold together with a spatula.
  6. Then slowly fold in the dry ingredients.
  7. Using a tablespoon, spoon batter into cupcake tins evenly and don’t over-fill!
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean, then cool.

For Frosting:

  1. Beat together cream cheese, cinnamon, maple syrup and butter until well combined.
  2. Slowly beat in powdered sugar until desired sweetness and consistency.