OK, so that hard period of time appears to be letting up a wee bit, the sun is shining and my mood seems to be lightening too and staying that way...let's hope so anyway!
Those of you that follow me on twitter and instagram may have seen the hashtag #talesofhomesmoking a week or so ago...here's the story behind it!
Have you ever been to Walt Disney World in Florida? If you have, chances are you've seen children and adults alike walking around eating what looks like a dinosaur leg? Yes? Have you been one of those children or adults? I know I have been! (I will hunt out the picture for you some day)
Those amazing monstrosities of meat are called turkey legs and they are delicious! As well as that - they're pretty fun to eat too! You can channel your inner cave man, your inner pirate or your inner Henry VIII and get munching! The first time I ever had one I channelled my inner pirate - there were lots and lots of 'Ooaarrrgghhh's whilst eating it I can tell you!
So anyway, why am I going on about this Disney experience? Simple! Because my fiancé and I have been reminiscing about all of our holidays recently (we really need a holiday!) and turkey legs inevitably came up in conversation; I wondered if I could recreate one at home? That is, afterall, my aim at the moment - to create anything I can at home - so I thought I'd give it a go!
Off I popped to Sainsburys and lo and behold...turkey legs are only £1.61 each! Bargain! So I snapped one up and started my search for a Disney turkey leg recipe.
First things first, you have to put the leg in brine for 24 hours. The brine I used was 1 litre of water with 1/4 cup of salt and 1/8 a cup of brown sugar. Leave it in the fridge in this for 24 hours and Bob's your uncle! One brined turkey leg. Next step:
The little buggers are SMOKED! How did I not know this?
Crud. No home smoker in sight....Could I maybe....make one?
I remembered seeing Heston and the Baker Boys do it on a couple of Channel 4 cooking shows so maybe I could make my own home smoker?
YES! I can! And I did!
I found a tutorial on YouTube which basically advises you that you can use dry rice and tea to create smoked foods. You line a heave frying pan with foil, slap in the rice and tea and whack up the heat. Then you place the food to be smoked on a wrack on top of the pan and then seal with more foil and leave it to smoke!
Here's my *cough* home smoker...
Looks great right? No? No I didn't think so either but when the house started to smell like smoked kippers I thought I was on the right track!
Oh and I've left out the part where I used a wok at first and somehow managed to set fire to the oven...I digress - back to the smoking!
So 4 hours later...I've had to open every window in the flat and close the kitchen door. The flat STINKS of smoke and I was starting to get light headed about an hour in - if you do this you need ventilation! A few times I wanted to give up - the smell was choking me but every time I took a peak under the foil I just couldn't give in...it was working!
One smoked turkey leg...
Did it taste good? Can't tell you yet...now it needs to be roasted! (This is no mean feat this turkey leg malarky, they must work hard at Disney for those yummilicious treats!)
So the next day (this is day 3 of project At Home Disney Turkey Leg by the way) I roasted it! I covered it in foil again because I was worried about it drying out and roasted it on 180 for about 40 minutes (foil off for the last 10) and.....drum roll please....
One turkey leg!
Look at Roofus! He clearly felt hard done by that he had a bowl of dry food for dinner whilst me and the other half were eating this beauty!
And the verdict? Well, let's just say that we pretended to be pirates and put on a Disney film to celebrate - I made a real Disney Turkey Leg! Success!
However...there is a down side...
Look at my frying pan!
The non stick has burnt away, it actually bubbled over the side of the pan (it didn't get into the foil or rice so don't worry about poisoning!) and STUCK to the oven! We had to scrap it off of the oven :( So my cheap £1.61 turkey leg has cost me a £40 frying pan (my favourite pan I might add) so I don't think I'll be doing this again!
Apparently you can buy 'liquid smoke' which you put into the brine at the first stage and it creates the smoked flavour in meat and then you can just roast without the need to smoke....Maybe I should have done this first??