Monday, November 28, 2011

Tom the Turkey Stole the Show This Year! - Pit Roasting a 36 Pound Turkey!

I have mentioned in previous posts that we raised a turkey especially for Thanksgiving this year. Well, he grew up and we prepped him for our Thanksgiving feast. WOW! Was he Big!!

He wouldn't fit in our oven. So we dug a deep pit outside and lined it with bricks. In the meantime, I pulled the turkey out of the fridge (it took up a full shelf) and I put him in my MIL's bathtub, filled it with water, and poured in about 12+ cups of salt. There was actually the top inch of the turkey that didn't get covered in water. So I poured a bag of ice over it to keep it cold. After a few hours in the tub I seasoned and stuffed the turkey with spices, fruits, veggies, chicken broth and ginger ale. Then we wrapped the turkey in about four layers of tin foil. We then wrapped it in chicken wire.

Going back to the pit: In order to heat the bricks up we started a fire the night before Thanksgiving and kept it burning through the night. Leif and his mom took shifts to keep the wood on the fire. At around 7:00A Leif and I went down to put the turkey in the pit. We moved the coals to the side, lowered the turkey into the pit breast down, threw a wet sheet over it, covered that with coals (next time I would use burlap because the sheet held a lot of water and put some of the coals out that could have been useful for the top of the turkey), and then we buried the turkey with the dirt that we had dug out to make the pit. He cooked in there for 6 hours.

While he was cooking we cooked and baked all of the other yummy fixins' for the dinner. I ended up making three really yummy pies. I made a German chocolate, a pumpkin, and a pumpkin cream cheese. I used one of the pumpkins we grew in our garden for the pies. They go a long way. And, MMM! Yummy! I made an amazing sweet potato casserole thanks to a recipe my sister sent me. There was so much good food. More food then we could fit on our plates. We've eaten leftovers for lunch and dinner the whole weekend. It's been Awesome!

So going back to the turkey. We pulled him out of the ground an hour before dinner was scheduled. We put in the thermometer on the back (top) and it wasn't cooked all the way (Bummer!) However, we turned him over and the breast that had been directly on the bricks was finished. So we cut that off and served it for dinner and then put the rest in the oven to finish cooking. It turned out great and we have enough meat to feed us through the winter (for real!)

We had a really nice time visiting with family throughout the afternoon and evening. We've enjoyed sharing meals and adventures together throughout the weekend as well. We went Christmas tree hunting. But that's a story for a different post.

We experienced a fun homestead style Thanksgiving this year and it was a lot of fun! The best part was sharing the fun with the family for sure!


Sandra said...

That is one HUGE turkey. Wow! How fun to cook it in a pit. You guys know how to fatten them up :)

Celestial Earth Woman said...

Wow! Tom Turkey WAS huge!
How are you, Lena?
Loved the photos and the story. We used to smoke them or use the bag in the oven. I think your idea is great and it was probably really yummy.


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