beer for the holiday bird
Pilgrim John Alden landed at Cape Cod in 1620, the 21-year old cooper
(fabricator of iron-bound wooden casks) was in charge of the precious
supplies of ale that were left after the long sea voyage.
harvested from those casks was used to brew beer for the first Thanksgiving
after almost 400 years, the beverage best suited for Thanksgiving
is still beer. That's because many wines are overpowered by the acidity
of relishes such as citrus or cranberry sauces, and the delicate texture
and flavor of most farm-raised turkeys needs a subtle counterpoint
on the palate.
a beer, and its refreshing carbonation will balance the creaminess
of mashed potatoes, rich browned gravy and stuffings.
book "Ultimate Beer" (Dorling Kindersley, $29.95), international beer
authority Michael Jackson makes a point of categorizing beers according
to occasion. Jackson steers readers to Octoberfest and Marzen styles
as the appropriate counterpoint to roasted birds such as chicken and
combination works because the reddish, Vienna-style malts employed
in brewing Octoberfests have a spicy sweetness that goes well with
roasted meats," Jackson says.
"a spicy sweetness" could be found in some other styles, most notably
Belgian ales such as Rodenbach Alexander, and also in some American
serve our Belgian Red Wisconsin Cherry Ale on Thanksgiving," says
Deb Carey, president of New Glarus Brewing Co.
ale and hard cider make a delicious marinade for the roasted bird.
I used Madison, WI Capital Brewery's brown ale to make the following
Turkey with Hard Cider and Brown Ale
12 ounces hard cider
16 ounces apple cider
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
3 fresh bay leaves
2 oranges, washed, quartered, seeded and sliced thin
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 medium-sized turkey (12 to 14 pounds), giblets removed
equipment: large stockpot, food-grade 5-gallon bucket (available from
home brew supply shops)
night before, start the marinade. Blend ale and ciders, spices, oranges
and oil in large stockpot and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat
and let cool 10 to 15 minutes. Wash and rinse outside and cavity of
turkey. Place turkey in food-grade plastic bucket and pour marinade
over it. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (Tip: You may have
to remove a few shelves to get the bucket in the refrigerator -- or
put the bucket in a large cooler packed with ice instead).
After several hours, turn the bird so it marinates evenly on all sides.
12 to 24 hours, remove bird from marinade, and pour marinade through
sieve into 1-gallon stockpot. Bring to boil, skim off foam and reduce
heat to simmer.
to measure out 2 cups of sterilized marinade; place in blender with
dried cranberries and maple syrup. Hold blender lid on top with towel,
and puree until cranberries are well minced. Place bird in roasting
pan and roast at 350 degrees 2 to 3 hours, depending on size of bird.
Baste often with cranberry cider ale marinade, mixed with pan drippings,
to keep it moist. Internal temperature should reach 180 degrees when
thermometer is inserted into thickest part of thigh.
may choose to finish bird with 10 minutes grilling over a hot hardwood
fire to crisp skin and add smoky flavors; if so, omit maple syrup
and cranberries from basting sauce as they will char and become bitter.)
rest 20-30 minutes before carving. Makes about 12 to 14 servings.