The News Blog Food Blog

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Welcome to the Food Blog

The Christmas Goose

Ok, this is the News Blog's family friendly, recipe sharing site for the holidays. Since we get so many questions about food and so many ideas, I think a permanent site would be the best solution so people can track down a recipe they like.

The heart of this blog will be the comments, since this will be more or less static. I hope you get a lot of use out of this.

I will be adding my classic recipes to the sections

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


There are a hundred debates about what makes a great Turkey, brining, frying, injecting.

Well, this is the place to debate the great turkey issues of the day.

Beer Can Turkey

Monday, October 24, 2005

Last year, I prepared a Classic Roast Turkey. This year I wanted to provide another variation on turkey and had decided on smoking the turkey. When I received my September 2005 issue of Cook's Country Magazine and found an article featuring Beer-Can Chicken, I decided to modify that recipe to work for a turkey.

The use of a beer can inserted into a chicken is an old barbeque trick to provide flavored steam to the inside of the chicken as it cooks. At the same time, the beer supposely adds flavor to the chicken. Problem is, I don't quite buy it. If the beer is giving off steam, then most of that steam is just going to be water... most of the beer flavor will just be concentrating in the can. However, it seems that it would be sacrilegeous if I used the beer can but left out the beer.

The first step is to brine the turkey. Find a non-reactive (polycarbonate plastic, glass, or stainless steel) container large enough to hold the turkey. Prepare a brining solution of 1 cup table salt to 1 gallon water and soak the turkey in the solution in the refrigerator for four to six hours. (If your turkey has been infused with a solution, then reduce the salt content in your brine or just soak it in a container filled with plain water.)

Pour out the brining solution and rinse the turkey. One convenient way to do this is to position a rack in the sink and place the turkey on the rack to rinse. After the turkey has been rinsed, let it dry by placing it on a rack on a sheet pan in the refrigerator overnight (or for eight hours). Alternatively, use a blow drier on cool setting (no heat) to blow over the skin of the turkey until dry.

In order to prepare beer can turkey, a beer can is necessary. However, a normal 12-oz. beer can, perfect for a chicken, is a bit too small for the large cavity of a turkey. At my local convenience store, I found this 24 oz. micro-keg shaped can of Heineken. It looked to be about the right size, so I bought it.

After pouring the beer into another container (a large measuring cup), remove the top of the can. I used an OXO Good Grips can opener to cleanly remove the top (it took only one pass). Removing the top provides enough surface area from which the steam can rise. The small opening made by the pop top just isn't enough of an opening to effectively provide moisture to the turkey.

Deposit six bay leaves (broken up) and two teaspoons dried thyme into the can. Unlike the beer, the herbs will provide noticeable flavor and aroma while the steam helps keep the turkey moist during it's long cooking process.

Soak a cup of hickory wood chips in some water.

Prepare a spice rub by combining two tablespoons brown sugar, two tablespoons paprika, one tablespoon kosher salt, one tablespoon black pepper, and one teaspoon cayenne pepper. Mix the spice rub well.

Rub the spice rub over the entire exterior of the turkey. Loosen the skin over the breasts and thighs and rub the spices under the skin. Finally, rub the remaining spice rub inside the cavity of the turkey.

Pour half the beer back into the open beer can (reserving half for your drinking pleasure). Not pouring all the beer back reduces the risk of spilling as you transport the turkey to and from the grill. Lift the turkey up and lower it onto the beer can.

Place the turkey on the grill. If using a gas grill, position the turkey over one burner, away from the other burners. Turn the burner under the turkey off and turn the other burners on low. If using a charcoal grill, start the charcoals (you'll need a couple batches of about 100 briquettes each over the course of the smoking). When they're ready, push them to the outer edges of the grill leaving the center available for the turkey. Make a container with aluminum foil (or use a metal wood chip tray) and fill it with the wood chips that were soaking in water. Place the container over the other burner or on the hot coals. My grill was not large enough to cover the turkey without the lid touching it, so I placed a V rack in the middle to prop up the lid. I also inserted a Polder Cooking Thermometer into a thigh to track the temperature of the turkey.

Close the lid of the grill. If the turkey is too tall for your grill lid, find a way to prop open the lid just enough (so the lid is mostly closed, but not touching the bird). Then use heavy duty aluminum foil to cover the gap that's left. The aluminum foil lets out a lot of heat, but will help keep the smoke in long enough to flavor the turkey.

The actual cooking of the turkey is a bit finicky and has a lot to do with your grill and how much cooling air is getting into the grill from the slightly open lid. If you didn't need to prop open the lid of your gas grill, keep the burners on low. However, if you did need to prop open the lid, you might need to turn up the heat to compensate for the heat loss? Don't turn on the burner underneath the turkey - we want to cook it with indirect heat. If using charcoal, after the first one and a half to two hours, you'll need to start a new batch of charcoal and replace the original coals as they lose heat.

Halfway through the cooking, about two hours, rotate the turkey to allow even cooking.

When the thigh meat reaches 160°F (71°C) (about 4-1/2 hours in my example), prepare a simple glaze with two tablespoons brown sugar, two tablespoons ketchup, two tablespoons distilled white vinegar, two tablespoons beer, and two teaspoons of hot sauce (I prefer Frank's RedHot Original Hot Sauce). Brush the glaze onto the turkey and cover. After five minutes, brush on another layer of glaze and allow it to cook until the thigh meat registers 170°F (77°C). If you don't have a thermometer, at least poke the turkey with a skewer to see if the juices run clear. If the fluid that comes out contains traces of blood, continue to cook the turkey

Ducks and other birds

Some people like more than one bird on their table, others like goose or duck. This is the place to share those non-turkey holiday meal ideas

Beer Can Chicken

1 (4-pound) whole chicken
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons of your favorite dry spice rub
1 can liquid

You can make a spice rub by mixing fresh and dry herbs and toasting them in a dry frying pan.

You can also use coke, ginger ale, or coke instead of beer.

Remove neck and giblets from chicken and discard. Rinse chicken inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels. Rub chicken lightly with oil then rub inside and out with salt, pepper and dry rub. Set aside.

Open beer can and take several gulps (make them big gulps so that the can is half full). Place beer can on a solid surface. Grabbing a chicken leg in each hand, plunk the bird cavity over the beer can. Transfer the bird-on-a-can to your grill and place in the center of the grate, balancing the bird on its 2 legs and the can like a tripod.

Place the bird on the lowest rack in the oven, remove other rack. Cook at 325 until juices run clear.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ham!!!!!! and other porky things

City ham, country ham, Jen has an intense addiction to the Ham thingee. I know it is a part of many holidays and many traditions, but like with everything else, people have their own variations on ham and pork products

This is for ham

Beef and other red meats

Some Thanksgiving dinners are not complete without a roast beef or steamship beef or prime rib on the table.

Share your beef recipies here

Monday, November 13, 2006


From oyster dressing to seafood dishes, the fruit of the sea is as much a part of the Thanksgiving tradition as anything else.

So how is seafood a part of your thanksgiving meal?

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Ok. We're carnivores here, but not everyone is. It has to be tough designing and making a vegetarian Thanksgiving. So here's the place to share your ideas on the meatless Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sweet Potatoes

Call 'em yams or sweet potatoes, they are often the heart of a thanksgiving meal, with or without marshmellows.

Where do they fit in your meal?

Mashed Potatoes

OK, until I was an adult, I had never heard of an actual thanksgiving meal with mashed potatoes. I mean, I had heard of it, obviously, but for me, thanksgiving is rice.

Obviously, other people have other ideas


I don't know about your thanksgivings, but mine always had rice.

So, do you have rice or are you a potato person

Stuffing and dressing

Ok, so everybody laughs at the redbox, but those suckers fly out of the stores every holiday. People load up on them and doctor them up.

Not everyone does, of course. People use fresh bread, premade mixes, a whole variety of things.

I've used both from time to time. Because I just don't care about the origins of my stuffing

You are free to disagree


I like to make it from drippings with an assist from a can of gravy. Hey, you can't make everything by hand when it's time to eat. But I can make gravy from scratch and do, but the burners are usually full. So we cut corners. Sue me.:)

Cranberry Sauce

I know they talk about making cranberry relish, but come on, who doesn't occasionally long for the jiggle of the can. You may register your objections here.

Friday, November 10, 2006


From baked macaroni to green bean casserole, sides are where tradition make their home. From the dishes you hate to the dishes you love, what sides do you have to have on the table?

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente. Drain.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, mix all the liquid and spices together. Then fold in cheese until mixture is combined, place in oven, let bake until brown and crispy on top for a half hour or so.


Never did like pumpkin pie.

But bread pudding? Love it, can't live without it for the holidays. Although my sister is a really good baker.

Share your desserts

My recipe for bread pudding

Ingredients for Bread Pudding Recipe

  • 1 loaf bread (challah or egg bread preferred)
  • 1 quart milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped apples


  1. Soak bread crumbs in milk, add sugar, butter, eggs slightly beaten, salt, and flavoring; bake one hour in buttered pudding-dish in slow oven at 325 until a knife can come out clean
  2. Can be served hot, warm or cold.


We love cider. It isn't thanksgiving without cider for me. Nothing goes better with turkey than cider. But opinions may vary. Some people like booze. Me, I like the tryphtophan to make me sleepy, not bourbon

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Pigs in a blanket? Stuffed Mushrooms? Veggie Dip?

How do you keep the family happy while they wait for dinner? What primes their pumps?


So does your Thanksgiving start with soup or is a post Thanksgiving day treat? Tell us about your soup habits.