|The fancy turkey comes in its own box! 23.1 pounds of potential deliciousness!|
|I used two, 4 oz. jars of shio koji.|
I decided to keep things simple with the turkey this year. The last few years I've been dry brining it, then using my small army of mini fans to dry out the skin for two days.
I won't be doing the mini fans, mainly because I didn't have time to clean out the refrigerator, but also because it seems to make the turkey skin crisp at first, but leathery after it cools. Leathery is not what I'm going for.
Instead of dry brining, I will be marinating the turkey in shio koji. Shio koji is rice fermented with the same mold that is used to make miso. Yes, I will be massaging mold into my turkey. And it will be fabulous. I hope.
I use shio koji all the time, mostly in salad dressing as an emulsifier (1 : 1 : 1 of shio koji, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil). I also marinate bone-in chicken breasts overnight and roast them to use in all sorts of dishes like chicken salad, tacos, enchiladas, somen topping...The shio koji gives the chicken an umami flavor that it normally lacks. It's like a brine, but with a richer flavor and minus the spongy texture that comes with a liquid brine. The last time I did the chicken breasts, I thought, why not use it on turkey?!
|Peek-a-boo! I fold over the top of the brining bag like a cuff so that the zipper part doesn't get all dirty and hard to close.|
|Massaging with shio koji|
I use the shio koji from Nijiya because I know they make it themselves. I know that the shio kojis are all probably the same, but some of the other brands of shio koji seem like they're so processed just based on the packaging. I'm too lazy to make my own.
As you can see from the beginning of my post, I finally splurged and bought a Diestel turkey. No, I didn't win the lottery. The lady at Whole Foods tricked me. She said that the Diestel was the same price as the Mary's turkey that I've been ordering. I ordered it, then when I got home, I noticed the order said Heidi's Hens Organic. I called and they told me Heidi's Hens was the same as a Diestel. Then I realized that it wasn't the same as Mary's. It's the same as Heidi's. But I decided to get the $2.79/lb. turkey anyway. It's my favorite day of the year and I could support a sustainable food producer. Might as well try it.
I brought out the trusty brining bag from Surfas. It says 24 x 24 on the label, but I don't know exactly how big it is. I know in the past it has fit a 25 lb. turkey with plenty of room to spare.
I put the turkey in the bag and poured on two jars of the shio koji. I massaged it into the skin, and poured some in the cavity as well. I added my usual flavorings of thyme, lemon zest, and garlic, sealed the bag, and placed it back in the ice chest. I flipped the bag over every 12 hours or so. It seemed to release a lot of liquid, which was similar to the dry brining, except it didn't reabsorb the liquid. We'll see on Thursday if that will be a problem. It will marinate for two days.
|The fancy turkey has a plastic doohickey! Good bye to my nemesis, the metal doohickey!|
The best part about the fancy Diestel turkey was that it didn't have the metal doohickey that anchors the legs into the cavity when you open the turkey package. Oh man, I've had some epic wrestling matches with the very cold/almost frozen turkey trying to get the metal thingy out. I've even used pliers to help. The Diestel had a plastic doohickey (I'm sure there is a name for it, but I prefer to not know) that was SO EASY to remove. I didn't have to wrestle at all! That alone made the $2.79/lb. worth it. Let's hope the flavor does too!