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November 12, 2008

John's excellent adventure deep-frying a Thanksgiving turkey

I am so impressed that Multimedia Editor Emeritus and Biker Dude John Lindner does the cooking at Thanksgiving. I'm not impressed with him. I'm impressed that his wife managed to talk him into taking over the holiday kitchen chores.

I want a husband who cooks Thanksgiving dinner.

Er...maybe I don't, after reading what John fixed. Plus, just the mention of creamed corn makes me squeamish unless it's actually made with cream, which only seems to happen at my house. EL

Creamed corn

One year, for Thanksgiving dinner, I pulled a fast one. Rather than make a mockery of a good turkey's violent death (again), I roasted a batch of Cornish game hens.

The kids loved it because each got a personal bird. Me? I felt iconoclastic for a few minutes. Win-win. But novelty dies young and packing stuffing up seven or eight oversized pigeon butts requires more patience than I consider healthy. I haven't cooked Cornies since.

Last year, expecting a walk on the wild side, I deep fried a tom.

I was lured to fying by the danger. Internet articles warned me that boiling grease would explode all over my face, turning me into a fragile version of Hell Boy (Hell Geezer?). Friends warned that I'd blow myself up and burn down the house. (Turkey frying involves one of my favorite gasses: propane. I love it. It's probably the closest I'll ever come to handling dynamite. See video.) My kids worried that I'd embarrass them by catching fire and running around the yard fully involved, my screams matching the pitch and decibel level of the oncoming fire department sirens. Cool. I borrowed a frier and bought 24 bucks worth of peanut oil.

Disappointingly, the frying process proved anticlimactic. I speed-cooked an 18 pounder in 90 minutes* and nothing went awry. The bird tasted OK, but not worth 24 extra bucks for the jug of oil. Frankly, I know of two bottles of $12 wine that would have more than made up for any lack of juiciness in the bird.

Deep frying did offer one saving grace: for once, the family and guests stood around all day worried that their meal would be ruined not by a burnt bird, but by a burnt cook. It's not often one gets to upstage the bird.

By the way, I hate creamed corn.

*Might have been closer to 130 minutes.
Posted by Elizabeth Large at 11:39 AM | | Comments (7)


Wow, that video was amazing!

My brother deep fries his turkey every year. Before the turkey gets submerged in the oil though, my brother injects this creole butter seasoning under the skin of the bird in several spots.
My mom likes it because she doesn't have to cook the bird, but doesn't mind making all the sides.

For years my DW would not allow us to have a gas grill because of fear that something like that pictured would occur. I finally convinced her that we had not seen reports of large numbers of small propane tanks combustingt spontaneously, so we now have both a gas and a charcoal grill. Now I have to find things for two that are worth firing up the grill for. Two hamburgers or hot dogs are not. Steaks, potatoes and veggies maybe.

jl, my hero, wrote: I was lured to frying by the danger.

The Alpha Male School of the Culinary Arts.

When I grow up, I want to be just like jl.

Is that Stacy Keach narrating? (He played Mike Hammer. The PI whose gun was named Betsy.)

There's a line from a John Wayne movie (or maybe some other John) in which a classic western geezer (possibly Walter Brennan) is moving a large quantity of TNT or Nitro. His line has been a guidepost of my life:
"Never handle less than it takes to kill ya."

I feel like such an underachiever after watching that.

I felt like that film should have Godzilla in it somewhere..

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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