Planning for Thanksgiving...the MEAT!

Is it too soon? Thanksgiving IS more than a month away - and the turkeys won't go on sale for at least another 3 or 4 weeks.

Turkey sales - I love finding turkeys for less than 30 cents a pound to fill the freezer. OK - I'd love even more to find turkeys that weren't raised via injections of whatever-the-hell it is they put into them to make them so big at a price I can afford. That will come! Two years ago, Harry hunted and gathered, picking up a turkey plus whatever else he needed to buy to get the minimum required purchase and filled our freezer with 6 turkeys. Last year, money was tight but we managed to get 4 turkeys in the freezer. I think there's still one in there...hmmm...

I used to do the long-touted rub-butter-all-over-the-turkey-inside-and-out method. After learning to play with homemade rubs and marinades, I realized I could do much better justice to the largest part of the Thanksgiving meal. The first time I tried a turkey rub, it was to season our first deep-fried turkey. I couldn't reconcile adding butter to a turkey that was going to be fried in peanut oil and you know what? It's a REALLY good turkey rub!

You've already decided what main dish you're going to fix for Thanksgiving - turkey, pork, chicken (more on that soon!), prime rib, seafood. What not change things up again with an appropriate rub for your turkey or pork! I have a few recipes below.

Oh - and while you're planning your Thanksgiving dinner? I can't find a video of Daddy Wags singing "Two Bags of Guts in Every Turkey" so I'll leave you with my OTHER favorite Thanksgiving song...

Meat rubs are increasing in popularity as a way to season meats without continual basting or using cooking bags. Rubs for Thanksgiving meals can be both dry or soft-butter based. My preference is a dry rub, but I have also had success with herbed butter as a rub for roasted Thanksgiving turkeys.
Dry rubs all employ the same process. Combine the dry ingredients, then pat an even coating over the skin of the thawed meat. Allow the meat to rest in the refrigerator, for at least 30-60 minutes prior to cooking in order for the rub to become a crust. When deep-frying a turkey, generally a heavier crust is desired.

You may notice that the sea salt may seem disproportionate to the rest of the ingredients. Sea salt usually has a much more "salty" taste that standard table salt. It is much better to have your guests add a little salt to suit their tastes at serving than to attempt to serve a too-salty main dish.

Dry Rub for Roasted Turkey

1 tablespoon ground sage
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all ingredients in small bowl. Rub approximately 1 tablespoon of mixture inside turkey cavity. Sprinkle remainder evenly over completely thawed turkey, pressing into flesh. Roast turkey as you desire.

Dry Rub for Deep Fried Turkey

3 tablespoons ground sage
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in small bowl. Rub approximately 1 tablespoon inside turkey cavity. Sprinkle the rest of rub evenly over completely thawed turkey, pressing into flesh. Allow turkey to rest in refrigerator while preparing fryer. Deep fry turkey, in a safe place (away from your house), according to manufacturer's instructions.

Mustard Turkey Rub

I love leftover turkey sandwiches with yellow mustard. This rub doesn't have a taste quite that strong, but it is a pleasant seasoning.

2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons granulated garlic

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Rub approximately 1 tablespoon of mixture inside turkey cavity. Sprinkle over the outside of turkey, covering all flesh surfaces evenly and lightly. Roast as you desire.

Moist Mayonnaise Turkey Breast - coats 3-4 pound turkey breast

If you've ever been a victim of dry turkey, this recipe may help you serve your first moist turkey ever.

1 ½ to 2 cups good mayonnaise (not low fat or fat-free)
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ground sage

Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Cover completely thawed turkey breast with mayonnaise, evenly. Sprinkle dry mixture over mayonnaise evenly, forming a dry "crust" over mayonnaise. Allow to rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes so that crust can set. Roast according to manufacturer's instructions.

Herbed Roast Turkey

A traditional herbed rub, the butter will assist the skin in browning.

6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 sprigs fresh sage

Combine all ingredients well, except sage sprigs, in a small bowl. Rub a small amount of mixture inside cavity of completely thawed turkey. Rub 1 tablespoon mixture under the skin of each breast, and place one sprig of sage under the skin, pressing the skin back into place. Rub remainder of mixture over all of the outside surface of turkey. Roast according to manufacturer's instructions, covered until final 30-45 minutes of roasting. Uncover and continue to roast until skin is crisped and browned.

Pork Rub

Not everyone serves turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. I have a friend who is allergic to poultry, and their Thanksgiving main course is generally a pork loin or roast. This is our favorite rub for pork, whether we are roasting, smoking or grilling a pork roast.

4 tablespoons sweet paprika
4 tablespoons ground sage
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
1 tablespoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle lightly and evenly over all sides of pork roast, pressing into the flesh. Roast, smoke or grill as you desire.

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