Not even January, and already I've had it with the snow.
Going to the chiropractor today, get the back back in line after heaving the shovel around, then I'll go home and heave the shovel around some more.
Jim down on the corner has a monster snowblower, and he's been doing the sidewalk almost for the whole block.
I'm gonna buy that family dinner over the holidays.
So lets see...I bet you watched Monday Night Football last night.
Even though I've had it with Lovie, Ron (why the wait til the end of the game before you let Forte go outside?), and Bob, it's alway awesome beating the Packers.
And Mark DeRosa's gonna play for The United States of America in the World Baseball Classic in March. Judging from the snow that's already fallen this winter, that's only about 27 hours of shoveling snow from now.
I haven't really been paying attention, but it's just about the Holiday break, and with the free time I'm so gonna catch up on the Blackhawks.
There are 3 games to go before the giant outdoor Event game vs. the eternally evil Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field, and the Hawks are getting super hot right at the right time.
Last night they beat the Calgary Flames in Calgary in overtime 3 to 2 for their 6th straight win.
In advertising, you make alot of friends - editors, color correction guys, reps for directors, special effects people, and it seems like lots of them have Hawks tickets and out of the blue you'll get a call from somebody with an extra ticket.
Hasn't happened once this year.
That can only mean what I'm reading in the paper - the Hawks are seriously good.
I made a (blasphemous) case last March that we could be witnessing a sort of re-incarnation of Hull and Mikita with the young Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. But it seems this team is way deeper than that, or maybe it's luck with injuries (they were hit pretty hard last year).
And unless you've been hibernating since last summer, you know we now have the privilege of watching the Hawks on tv:
I've done this since the late '80's, so I've sort of got it down.
And if I can do it, you can do it - maybe over the Holidays while also waiting for baseball to start again.
HERE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING: do not serve your turkey until you get a reading of 170 degrees in the breast and 180 in thigh (on the bottom), and the legs move around real easy in the sockets.
The reason people cook side dishes like casseroles and mashed potatoes for a turkey dinner is because that stuff can sit on a warmer if it needs to - DO NOT serve turkey until it's done.
Also, DO NOT stuff the turkey - it just doesn't work as the turkey will be done long before the stuffing.
Bake stuffing in the oven that suddenly has plenty of space without a turkey in it.
First, you gotta rub the turkey 1-2 days before you're gonna cook.
Here's a real simple rub, but look around because this is what drives the taste - where you make your personal mark.
Mix all this together: 1/4 cup kosher salt, 1/4 cup brown sugar, anywhere from 5 cloves to a whole head of minced garlic, 4-5 teaspoons of crushed black pepper corns, 1 teaspoon of ginger, and for grins about a half a small can of chopped chipotle peppers. (Also, fresh thyme - just put a handful of that in the cavity right before you put it on the grill).
Next, take the turkey out, rinse it and pat dry with paper towels.
(Every time you touch the turkey, wash your hands before you touch anything else.)
Then, and this is kinda gross but it really pays off, you have to get the rub under the skin.
At the neck and rear holes, work your hands under the skin and separate it from the meat as far as you can reach (without ripping the skin) and get a bunch of the rub under there - spread it around as far as your fingers can reach into as many nooks and crannies as possible. Use about 2/3 of the rub, then rub the rest all over the outside.
Since they don't make baggies big enough, I put the rubbed turkey in a garbage bag (so it doesn't leak) and leave it in the fridge for a couple days.
Here are the overall smoking rules:
Your grill will cook about 300 - 350 degrees, exactly like an oven.
But outside temperature, your vents, and peeking can all effect the length of time it takes to cook.
A turkey can take anywhere from 10 - 15 minutes per pound, but basically plan on a 10 - 12 lb turkey to take 2-3 hours, a 14 - 18 pounder 3 - 4 hours.
You do not open the grill for any reason (no peeking!) other than to add hot coals or wood chips.
Opening the grill lets out all the heat and it takes a looong time to get back to temp.
Here's what you'll need beside your basic grill:
Charcoal, lighter fluid, wood chips, an old pan to soak the wood chips in water with, some foil or foil pans, an oven thermometer, a meat thermometer, bricks or something to keep the coals to each side (I think Weber grills come with metal things for this), a timer, and some frosty cold ones.
You'll be using the indirect gilling technique: the hot coals are on the sides while your bird is in the middle - it heats the air in the grill rather than burn the bottom of the bird.
Count out 30 - 40 briquets for each side of the grill - I've done 55 when it's sub-zero out.
Have both the bottom and top vents open half way (too open and the coals burn too hot and fast, too closed and the fire goes out).
Put a foil pan of water in the bottom to keep the hot air moist (you can make a foil "boat" to fit any shape in your grill), and another foil pan to catch drippings.
When you make gravy, you only need a little bit of the drippings because it is powerful stuff.
Alright, you rubbed the turkey a couple days ago, you figured the 13 pound bird to take about 2 1/2 hours and you want to eat at 5.
At about 1:30 (or earlier), get all that stuff ready with the grill I already talked about.
Start the coals at 2 (they take about a half hour to get ready), take the turkey out of the fridge, and put the chips in water at the same time.
At 2:30, put the wood chips on the coals, put the grill back on, put the turkey on that,
put a sheet of foil on the turkey to keep the skin from going too brown too fast, and put the oven thermometer in front so you can see it without opening the lid much.
It'll smoke like crazy for a little bit, and don't worry when you can't see smoke any more.
Put more chips in water.
Have a Bud for about 15 minutes.
Then crack the lid and make sure the temp is 350 or more (it'll slooowly cool as time goes on).
Go watch sports.
At 3:00, If you have a portable grill you use when camping or something, go make another small fire - 15 briquets or so - to add to the fire at 3:30.
If not, just add 6 briquets from the bag and more soaked wood chips at 3:30.
(you can slide 'em in the big gaps at the end of the grill, or get some oven mitts and you pull the whole grill off with the turkey on top while somebody else add the coals and wood chips)
At about 5, go poke the bird with the meat thermometer to make sure it's done.
Put it on your coolest platter, drag it into the kitchen.
Parade it through your party and bask in grill-glory.
is a sports and art blog following the Chicago Cubs with cartoons, gifs, animations, and illustrations by Chicago artist Tim Souers.
I began the illustrations in 2003 - you can find the links to the 2003 - 2006 seasons below.
2007 - present is in the regular archives.
Feel free to contact me at CubbyDashBlue(at)gmail(dot)com.
Thanks for visting, and go Cubs.
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