Ok, here are a few pictures and a postmortem.
First, the pictures:
Went pretty simple. Olive oil and salt on the skin, and stuffed the cavity with rosemary and thyme.
I make cranberry sauce every year, and no one ever eats much of it. I don't even like it, but it just has to be there.
This one was stubbornly clinging to the mold for all it's worth. Took a hot water bath and a blowtorch to convince it to come out.
Not my best effort appearance wise. I wasn't feeling well and basically just threw it in the oven without taking
the appropriate steps to avoid charred extremities and blotchy skin. Skin was tender enough though. Ended up taking just under 5 hours at 350˚
This year is going on the books as kind of an off year. Wasn't much fun with not being able to go out of town with the wife, and we also had a friend pass away on Thanksgiving night. I didn't know him very well, but my wife and several of our "gang" had known him for 20+ years and were quite fond of him, so it was a pretty somber time.
My first cured turkey was definitely a learning experience. The flavor didn't really "pop", despite the initial injection, brine, and another injection with creole butter just before going in the oven. I think my cutting back on the salt in the brine was a mistake. Not smoking it was definitely a mistake as well, as the smoke flavor would have put it over the top. It wasn't really bland, just didn't stand out. It actually had more of a turkey flavor than anything, and well, turkey isn't all that exciting of a flavor in and of itself.
The texture on the other hand, ROCKED. I will definitely be curing more turkeys in the future. Cured turkey is often described as "hammy", and while I wouldn't say that's completely inaccurate, I don't think it tells the whole story. The white meat definitely held more moisture and was firmer than usual. The dark meat is where it made the most difference. The usual heavy, greasy texture and flavor I associate with turkey dark meat is totally gone. (I should mention that I have a strong aversion to any sort of heavy, greasy flavor in any meat, ESPECIALLY turkey and ribs) It somehow tastes lighter and the texture is definitely more "hammy" than the white meat. You're still eating a turkey leg, it's just that it's SOOOOOOO much better than usual.
So that's about it. Sorry for the longwinded post and for taking so long with the photos.
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!