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What to do if half of pot roast is done earlier?

I never even thought of tying it up! What a great idea. You tie it up after you've seared it, I'm assuming?

Aug 26, 2012
megwini in Home Cooking

What to do if half of pot roast is done earlier?

Okay, so I cooked a boneless chuck roast the other day, and I did a typical braise, searing the meat on both sides and putting it in the roasting pan with the lid on in the oven at 225 degrees (because my roasting pan seems to cook about 50 degrees hotter than regular ones). I don't do anything extra to seal the lid, because I always seem to end up with twice as much liquid as I started with.

Well, my problem was, half of my roast must have been slightly thinner or something, because after 3 hours it was perfectly fork tender while the other half wasn't even close! I bumped the temperature up to 250 and let the roast go for another half an hour, but the left side was still not fork-tender, and may have taken at least another hour and a half. So I took the roast out, not sure what to do, and one side was delicious, and one side was awful.

In the future, what should I have done if this happens to me again? I was worried that cooking the perfectly done side for another hour and a half might have dried it out... but I was also worried that cutting the tender part off and removing it from the oven might have allowed too many juices to escape from the meat. What would be my best plan of action for the future?

Aug 26, 2012
megwini in Home Cooking

Chicken stock -- is the clear film also fat?

I know when making chicken stock (from bones) that that foamy white scum that appears in the beginning should be skimmed off the top. But I also get another type of film that starts to appear after the stock has cooked for about an hour over low heat. It's clear, and has an almost papery texture to it. If I pick it off the pot, it comes off in a sheet, almost like a small piece of plastic wrap, so I guess it's solid? What is this film made of, and should I be skimming it? I get it every time I made stock and wasn't sure what to do with it.

Aug 19, 2012
megwini in Home Cooking

Beginner to Thanksgiving -- Accidentally bought capon!

Had one last question. I wanted to do the cooking method where you start at 450 degrees to kill off any bad bugs, then lower the temperature to 250 degrees for the rest of the cooking process. I think my oven runs hot judging by how our baked goods turn WAY darker than they should before the inside cooks, but I'm not 100% sure and wasn't able to find an oven thermometer at the grocery store. Would it be safe to have it at 375 for an hour and then lower it to 250?

Also, for some reason these 10 pound birds are not defrosting well in our fridges. The turkey-turkey has been in the other guys' fridge now for almost 2 days and it's still primarily solid, even though the internet says a 10-pound bird should be quite defrosted after 2 days. So for ours, I tried putting it (still wrapped in its original packaging) in a bucket with cold water running over it for 90 minutes Tuesday evening, and later realized the water wasn't as cold as it should have been (it was in the low 60's) so for probably the last hour it was slightly in the danger zone, but since it wasn't too long, I think it is okay.

But BECAUSE of this, I do not want to let the capon rest on the counter for an hour before cooking it on Thursday, as many places suggest, so as to not risk extra bacteria. So how does putting a cold bird in the oven affect cooking time? I know it's not ideal but just think this would give me more peace of mind. So assuming the bird is going in cold, I will be tenting it with foil, and I want to cook it hotter at first then lower it to 250, I'm wondering how to calculate the approximate cooking time for an 8.64 pound bird.

Nov 23, 2011
megwini in Home Cooking

Beginner to Thanksgiving -- Accidentally bought capon!

Hopefully we're okay meat-wise. We're having my 8-1/2 pound capon, as well as a 10 pound turkey, and a LOT of sides.

Okay, I'll truss. I'll probably steal my roommate's 100% cotton thread and double thread it, as I looked all over Safeway for twine and it was not to be found.

I'll have to consider whether to brine or not because of mixed answers on here, but my main hope with a dry brine is that the flavor of the spices would permeate all of the meat, not just the surface.

I don't have a rack/any way to get a rack, just a disposable roasting pan. Is it okay if the capon sits in its own juices with the veggies/giblets on the side? If this is the case, would I still put the water or broth in, or is this not something you do when not using a rack?

Nov 22, 2011
megwini in Home Cooking

Beginner to Thanksgiving -- Accidentally bought capon!

I live at a college dormitory, and my floor is having Thanksgiving together, and we decided to buy two smaller birds instead of one big one, for shorter cooking time. However, I wanted to try brining the bird and read that you should avoid pre-brined birds or birds injected with saline solution, and I got so intent on finding one that met this description that somehow I did not notice until I got home that I actually purchased capon. -_- I had assumed Capon was a company name, like Butterball.... Luckily someone else purchased the second bird, and it actually is a turkey.

Anyway, I'm stuck with it now, and I did some research on capon, but I still wanted to brine it but wasn't sure how to go about it properly. This was 35 dollar bird (for 8-1/2 pounds) so I really don't want to screw it up if possible. I've actually never cooked a whole turkey before either, so this is all a new experience for me.

It's a minimally processed capon, with the giblets included. I kept reading that for turkeys, you have to remove the giblets and neck. Is this true for capon too? Obviously I'll remove the giblets, but I wasn't sure if there was anything else I needed to do, or how to even remove the neck. Is it attached and you cut it off or something?

Also, I had wanted to try a wet brine, but all that was left at Williams-Sonoma was a dry brine, and it has the following ingredients:
Kosher salt, sugar, garlic, black pepper, rosemary, lemon peel, French thyme, Indian fennel, Dalmatian sage, red pepper, safflower oil (to prevent separation), bay leaf.

So I'm going to dry brine it, but I read online around that dry brining is more effective when done longer than wet brining. For a 8-1/2 pound bird, how long would I want to dry brine in the fridge for maximum tastiness? Is 24 hours too short? I can do longer if I thaw the capon in cold water for 4-5 hours today (it's still extremely frozen in my fridge) and then after it is thawed, starting the brining.

Also, would I season the capon again before roasting it, after washing off the brine? I know I would NOT add any more salt, but I wasn't sure if I should add other seasonings like garlic or pepper or rosemary or thyme to the bird before roasting, or if after the brine, that would be overkill. Also, I know you rub the brine inside the cavity and on the outside of the skin, but seasonings right before roasting are rubbed under the skin, right?

Next, I've been reading that the bird is juicier if you cook it breast side down, but I've never cooked a whole bird, so I don't know that this means. Does that mean the legs are sticking up in the air, or facing down in the pan? And it says to check the bird temperature and make sure it's 165 degrees in the thigh when done... is that the legs? Do I just stick my digital thermometer in one of the legs? I'm not sure where the thigh is...

Also, I'm not stuffing my bird, but the bird did come with the giblets included, as mentioned above. Do I cook those in the pan put next to the bird? We're using the drippings to make turkey gravy, so I wasn't sure how added giblets would affect taste. I was planning on putting a few stalks of celery and some onion and carrots at the bottom of the pan, so I wasn't sure what to do with the giblets. Also, would I put anything inside the cavity of the capon as well? I'm not stuffing it, but I know sometimes people put a little thing or two in there for flavor?

Also, do you have to baste capon? I was going to do the tented foil method, uncovering it the last 30 minutes, because our oven is a little screwy and tends to brown things too fast before the outsides can cook, so I think this will help prevent that somewhat. And should I flip it breast side up near the end at all?

Some sites say to tie the legs together before cooking with twine. What does this do for the bird? Does it make a difference if I do it or not?

Sorry for all the questions! I'm just so new at this and was not even sure how using capon instead of turkey would affect everything. @_@ I'm so nervous. This is my first Thanksgiving where I'm doing most of the cooking, and we're having 15 guests coming, so I want everything to go smoothly.

Nov 22, 2011
megwini in Home Cooking