|40 Pound Pastured Turkey|
I said in an earlier post that I would not be raising any more turkey and listed the reason why. I've changed my mind!
This is Stomper, or was Stomper anyway. We killed him last Saturday so he could sit in the fridge for three days before going into the oven. I know it's hard to tell from the pic but your looking at 41 pounds of turkey! He was so big we had to buy a metal garbage can to scald him in before plucking. It took my husband, my son and myself to ready this bird for Christmas dinner.
I didn't have a pan that came close to being big enough to cook this bird in (neither did any of our friends). My son came up with the idea of making our own pan from aluminum foil which we put on an oven rack. We poked holes in the foil so the juices could run into a pan on a lower rack. Then it occurred to me that this monster may not fit in the oven. On top of that I've never seen a 40 pound turkey much less cooked one. I decided the best way to cook it would be to put it in the oven on 250 degrees overnight. It took 14 hours! I turned off the oven and let it sit for another hour.
Folks.. this was hands down the best turkey I've ever eaten! Wonderfully flavorful, tender and juicy beyond belief. The drippings were so rich they were almost black. We will get 11 meals from this bird! Soup, turkey pot pie, hot turkey sandwiches..as an added bonus, I'll get about two gallons of rich bone broth as well.
The down side to all this is, I miss Stomper. He was a very vocal bird and more like a dog than a turkey. If I was outside Stomper was right with me, he liked to have his head patted, and was constantly under food. It was not easy to turn him into dinner, not for me, my husband or my son. In fact, he was supposed to be Thanksgiving Dinner, but none of us had the heart to end his life. The thing is he was raised to be food, not a pet. He had a good free-ranging life, and a humane death.
Why am I telling you all this.. maybe trying to work through the seasons and cycles of this way of life. Maybe to let those that don't yet know that this is not an easy way to live, but the most rewarding life there is. In this life you reap what you sew, I've always known this but nothing brings it home like trying to be responsible for your own food. If you don't plant it, you won't have it, if you don't preserve it, you won't have it, if you don't kill it, you won't have it, unless you buy it from someone else, I try to keep that to a minimum.
At any rate, I was grateful to have raised this turkey and very grateful for the meals he will provide for my family. I don't see how I will ever eat another bland, flavorless, ill treated, antibiotic filled, disease ridden, toxic store bought turkey ever again. So if I want turkey for dinner I have no choice but to raise my own and take the good along with the bad.
I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas!
As a side note, I checked the price on line for free-range turkey, our turkey would have cost us $280.00 (give or take).