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A Turkey Tale 2009

On our way back from Shanghai, we stopped at Metro in Wuhan and bought a mighty fine looking turkey. The price was a shocking 35.7rmb/KG ($2.38/LB). Our 15.4LB blessed turkey costs 236rmb ($34.56). Since this was our first year to buy a turkey, we didn’t mind. Plus, our friends were super excited about eating turkey meat for the first time.

The main reason we haven’t bought a turkey before is because traveling to Wuhan just to buy a turkey can cost up to $40 – not including lunch, taxi’s, etc. Since we happened to be traveling through Wuhan, the only additional expense was the taxi to/from the bus station.

Thanksgiving past:
2005 visited friends in Wuhan
2006 hosted a large banquet in a restaurant and later had a small gathering at our home where we served traditional sides with roasted duck
2007 were invited to a friend’s house for hotpot where we brought stuffing and pumpkin pie
2008 were in the states at my Great Aunt Judy’s home
2009 hosted a traditional Thanksgiving meal in our home

2009-11-25@12-36-55
After the 5 hours bus ride home, we settled the turkey in the refrigerator. Note: it took up so much room that we could not make a run to the dairy this week!

2009-11-25@12-37-16
The answer to our big question: No. The turkey does not fit in our oven.

2009-11-25@12-37-38
What a big bird! Or a small oven. However you want to look at it.

We were OK with this as we assumed it would not fit. Sandra was also thankful to have the oven free for pies, stuffing, casseroles, etc.

On to Plan B:

2009-11-24@16-34-43
We found a street duck roaster who gave us permission to bring our bird by on Thanksgiving afternoon. We offered to pay for the propane used. Roaster Wang had never roasted a turkey before, but he seemed confident in his meat roasting ability.

2009-11-25@21-34-25
Hubs spent the evening before Thanksgiving brining the turkey. Only the cheese-making pot was large enough to fit the entire turkey.

BRINE RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth powder
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoon dried sage
  • 2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground juniper berries
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 gallon cold water

Directions

Toss it together. Pour the brine over the turkey. Make sure the turkey is completely covered in the brine. Place in the fridge. Brine overnight or until time to take to the roasters.

2009-11-25@21-34-00
Once a side shelf was removed from the doorway, the pot fit in the fridge with no room to spare.

2009-11-26@14-46-07
On Thanksgiving Day afternoon, after a morning of cooking dressing, pumpkin pie, etc. Hubs took a taxi downtown with the turkey in tow.

The Roaster Wang’s wife had to cut the turkey carcass into smaller chunks to roast evenly.

2009-11-26@14-50-04
I’ve never seen a raw turkey hacked up like this. She’s never seen a bird this size.

2009-11-26@14-50-09
Everyone thought the turkey was absolutely huge. Upon comparison, one turkey leg was half the size of a roasted duck.

2009-11-26@14-55-20
Everything was hung in the oven.

2009-11-26@14-55-54
Everyone walking by wondered at the abnormally “large chicken pieces”.  Sandra encouraged me to stay with Roaster Wang for 2 hours while the turkey cooked. You never know what could happen…

2009-11-26@16-05-38
Don’t you know people stopped and asked to buy our meat! Our chunks of turkey looked lovely compared to the ducks roasting alongside them. The brined turkey smelled incredible! The Roaster Wang had to keep fending people off saying that the turkey was not for sale.

Roaster Wang said that if he’s still in this city next Thanksgiving, he’d like to split the turkey in half and allow it to cook on the three hour slow roast. Gotta love a person that’s passionate about what they do!

Though it was not requested, Hubs offered the fair price of 20rmb ($2.98) for the propane used. (A duck only cost 18rmb.)

2009-11-26@16-35-18
After it was roasted golden brown in the rotisserie, I put it back in the (washed) pot and took a taxi home. The Thanksgiving Turkey was ready just in time for our 6pm dinner.

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