“What do I have to do to get on your dad’s jerky list?”
It wasn’t the first time I’d heard that entreaty; my father’s beef jerky has quite the reputation among friends, family and acquaintances.
But this is a tale of lying, thieving, hoarding and conniving by humans and four-legged creatures, all in the name of Joseph Cavalluzzi’s jerky.
We're sharing our time-tested Thanksgiving hosting tips and recipes, as well as plenty from chefs, hospitality experts, celebrities, hosts and home cooks we love. Our goal – sending you into Thanksgiving with a confident smile on your face, and seeing you emerge on the other side with your sanity intact. Leave your Thanksgiving questions in the comments below and we'll do out best to address them.
We're sharing our time-tested Thanksgiving hosting tips and recipes, as well as plenty from chefs, hospitality experts, celebrities, hosts and home cooks we love. Our goal – sending you into Thanksgiving with a confident smile on your face, and seeing you emerge on the other side with your sanity intact.
From the comments:
Sweet mother of poultry, the turkey isn't thawed all the way! WHYYYYYYYYY MEEEEEEE?!?!?
If you're reading this at any point in the week before Thanksgiving, you have no reason to panic. Sez the USDA's website:
Country hams are terrifying. They’re dessicated, mold-ridden and possessed of a barnyard funk that could conceivably cause a soul to rethink their entire relationship with the animal kingdom.
They should not – for country ham is an American national treasure that rivals the finest porcine offerings of Italy, Spain and any other of the world’s ham-curing cultures. Here is what to do if you find one.
Wow, do people get their wattles in a wad about brining. It's probably partly because we're all still traumatized by the powdery turkey of our childhood Thanksgivings. It's also because people enjoy having extra things to fuss over 'round this time of the year.
But really, it's not that complicated and whether you opt for a dunk or a rub, roasting, smoking or deep-frying, it's bound to add some extra moisture and flavor to your meat. You'll just have to find something else to stress about. Sorry.
What is brining?
Thanksgiving is exactly two weeks away - you've successfully tackled the fall squash, mashed potatoes like James Brown and reserved the appropriately sized bird for your guest list. You've even found time to craft your very own "bacon pig." Everything is shaping up nicely in apple-pie order - that is, until the word "pie" just sent you into a flour frenzy.
Although sweet, dessert can bring out the crustiness in the most pleasant of Thanksgiving hosts and hostesses. While pie crust is minimalistic in origin - flour, butter, ice water with a little sugar and salt thrown in for good measure - many home cooks find themselves thankful for the premade varieties this time of year.
If you're one of those put off by do-it-yourself pastry, just roll with this all-butter crust tutorial.
How fantastic are fall and winter squash? They're packed to the gills with antioxidants, dietary fiber, Vitamin A and carotenes, fill you up for just a few calories, and can be prepared in approximately seventy billion ways, from sweet to savory. Plus they're in season right this very second, generally cheap as the dickens, and add glorious color and fabulous flavor to your holiday feasts.
But how do you tackle the beast? Butternut squash can be unwieldy to butcher, some varieties like turban, hubbard and kabocha look all gnarled and knobbly and scary, and how the heck do you cook them?
Let's quash all those worries right this second, starting with selection.
Instead of perusing the estimated 100 brands of processed tortilla chips in the local grocery store, beef up your snack tray roster with a chip off the ol' homemade block.
By now you’ve probably spent the summer putting perfect grill marks on skirt steaks and even smoked an entire pork shoulder.
Perhaps you have even made your own barbecue sauce and realized it's better than anything you could buy in a jar. Or maybe they know you by name when you walk into your local grill supply store and you count the days until the weekend when you can get up before dawn to start cooking barbecue that wont be ready until sundown.
But deep down you know that until you cook a whole pig you just have been playing it safe.
No one is agnostic when it comes to mayonnaise. Ketchup, mustard, relish - people may have their brand or recipe preferences, but rarely do those condiments elicit anything like the passionate partisanship or disgust that mayo does.
Go on - stroll up to a klatsch of co-workers or into the midst of a bar throng and say "mayonnaise." A few folks will just think you're being weird (and granted, you are), but take note of who physically recoils at the mention and who starts waxing rhapsodic about their favorite brand or recipe.