Talking Bird One-to-One

On the Cooking of ‘Bird;’

I’ve been cooking for decades,.. I credit a lot of my open-mindedness to cooking to my first step-dad, L.D. Hunter. He was a good feller, and his ma was wonderful in the kitchen. I was, indeed, lucky to have known them the brief time I did.

Having given my testament, I have to admit, my brand of cooking is somewhat bastardized. I have no other way to describe it but as ‘American-Style’ cooking. My formal education in food service ended in 1985,.. food service course 7-85 at Camp Johnson, in Jacksonville, N.C. . I believe it’s Johnson,.. part of Camp LeJeune there. I fell asleep during the final exam and awoke to,..’OMG !!,’ and 15 minutes to do the test. I was a partier, hah. Enough ’bout schooling n stuff,..let’s get to talkin’ ‘bird..,’ by golly.

**grabs a coffee n sits back in the Judge’s chair..**

My mom grew Up on a poultry farm,.. chicken n turkey’s knew no boundaries as range-fed birds were the norm. for the family business/livelihood. She still hates poultry to this day. I, on the other hand, enjoy the tastes of herbs n such,.. ‘flavourings,’ if you would, enhance poultry. Well, enhance everything but coffee and tea {them are black, no sugars, please-extra strong if you would}. The most basic rub you can make for any meat is pretty easy to prepare. Four dry ingredients you can get at Wal-Mart, Aldi’s,..just about any discount store. Never mind expensive stuff,..I have always cooked with generics for m’self.. if I cook at all. Those four dry ingredients are :: Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Salt, Pepper. Greek?? Italian?? French?/ I have no clue as to the origin. This is your basic ‘meat rub,’ for me, anyhow.

Proportionalizing the ingredients is a little more difficult as,.. for each home has it’s own tastes. I get a bowl,..flat round one, to either grab the finished rub and apply it to the meat, or to just be lazy and add meat to the dish and pat it a few times, flip, pat some more. Up to you. I add, for this rub, (eyeballing the amounts here) about 1 cup salt, 2 tblsp. Of black pepper, garlic powder– about 3 or 4 tblsp., and same for onion powder [3 or 4 tblsp.]. Cookbooks and such should be seen as ‘guides,’ not chiseled instructions in stone brought down by the mighty Moses, experiment for your own tastes.

A good thing I found to do is really pretty simple, and it adds heaps to cooking the bird. Get yourself some bullion cubes, beef ones,.. or them granuals, if you prefer. Just get what you like and can afford. Okay,..Put your basic rub together and get a bit of butter or [olive] oil warming on low heat,..kind’ve a mid-sized sauce pan. You’re going to need the heat but,.. not HOT heat,..warming heat for to dissolve stuff. Take that beef bullion and [unwrap if needs be] put it into a zipper bag, freezer-type is better, and mash it Up with a hammer,..or a ‘meat maul’ [tenderizer??],.. you just want the bullion as fine as you can get it, a few lumps isn’t bad,.. that’s why we’re heating Up the butter or oils. You get the rub and that bullion and mix into the liquid,..warmed by now,..and stir with a wood spoon, something won’t tear Up your pans n such. Slower is better,.. the more time it takes for the concoction to dissolve,..the more the flavours mingle n say hello to each other. Add in some poultry seasonings, fajita seasons,..just what comes to mind as your building your ‘birdstock.’ Some favourite spices I like to add are:: basil, thyme, lemon basil, sesame seeds [ gotta’ love them ], maybe a titch of cumin or curry.

Okay,..let those spices n such mingle for awhile. Sit n have a coffee or tea,.. heck, a beer or two, even. So far, so good. Dig through your drawers [not your pants],.. and look for that thanksgiving bird injector you use once or twice a year for turkey. Re-warm your mixture,..just warm it, though, ok?? Stirring it Up good so’s the concoction looks like a modern-day piece of art [whatever happened to the Rembrandt school of painting??]. Turn off the heat to the mixture and break out your bird!! Wash over it pretty good,..get into crevasses n stuff,..take off any fats you can but, leave the skin on it. If you enjoy bird without the skin, take the skin off after the bird’s done, We’re wanting to inject that concoction under the skin of the bird. This helps keep it from burning, and applies the flavours directly into the meat, the skin minimizing evaporation of flavourings.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. , and break out your baking pan[s] and line with foil to make cleaning Up easier. Bake for at least 1 hour if the pan is anywhere close to ¾ full [I’m talking a cake pan, 8×9, size], I generally cook bird for 1 ½ hours to insure it’s done-ness. No meat thermometer?? Bird is pretty-well done if you can take and twist a leg bone and pull it out of the meat with little or no resistance (I generally get leg quarters from Wal-Mart, at this writing, $6.00 for 10 lbs. [here] a few pennies less but, a real good buy for meat).

A little hint for a quicker and easier dinner ?? I cook for m’self, and found this to make dinner even tastier. You add rice [enough to cover the bottom of the pan about 1/16″ deep], peas and carrots [I use canned ones, less expensive] to the pan and mix ‘em all Up. Add a small dollop of margarine or butter,..and lightly salt n pepper over the mixture. Add that injected bird over the rice n stuff,..add vegetables,..butter squash, broccoli, name it !!, Carefully add water to the pan, to about 1/2-way full… then bake it all together for about 1 ½ hours..give-or-take. Use a meat thermometer for the bird. The rice will be a lil crusty-ish on top, add more water if you’d prefer it not to be.

There’s ya a heavenly dinner !!!

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