For the entire eighteen years I have been married, I have strived to make the best Thanksgiving meal for my family. For all eighteen years, I have destroyed the turkey. It was either not cooked long enough, too tough, too mushy, no flavor, burnt, yada yada yada. This year, knowing that it has been a tough year and hard to get into the holiday spirit, I vowed that I would make the best turkey ever. I am lucky enough to have professional smokers/chefs who told me the tricks of the trade to make the best smoked turkey. They practically held my hand with directions and I was excited for the holiday to come!
Four days before Thanksgiving, I started to brine the turkey and go over everything that I would need to do. I wanted to make all of the other dishes ahead or at least get them prepped so that the day that I smoked the turkey, I wouldn’t be distracted. Then my monkey mind started kicking in. I was beginning to worry about if I messed up, what would we eat? What if I didn’t cook it long enough? I could make my family sick and it isn’t exactly the best time in this world to have to go to the hospital. Chatter chatter chatter. My mind was whirling while I was trying to focus on not screwing up the turkey.
Smoking day arrived. I dropped my husband off at work at 5:30 am, came home, started the smoker, pulled the turkey out, did the rub, the garlic, the butter and pushed the probe into the breast and placed it in the smoker. I sealed it up and every hour, checked to make sure the pellets were being fed and that everything was a go. Every…single…hour…for over twelve hours. And the internal temp never hit 160. Now it’s night time. Temps are dropping fast and my smoker can’t keep up. I pull the turkey, which is black on the outside, wrap it in aluminum foil and tell myself I can save it if I slow cook it in the morning (Thanksgiving morning) for just a few hours. I get everything else made and set the table but the little voice in my mind kept insisting that I ruined a turkey…again.
Well guess what? I pulled the turkey out, unwrapped it and it was absolutely disgusting. Tough on the inside, burnt on the outside. It was a mess. My husband’s attempt to cheer me up of, “Well at least you are consistent. We are used to it by now.” I know he was joking trying to lighten the mood but it did the opposite. I won’t lie, I couldn’t even sit down. I excused myself and went into my bedroom and sobbed.
But then a thought occurred to me. I was SO busy focusing on not screwing up the turkey, ruminating over turkeys past destruction, that I pushed all common sense out of my head. I had ALL of the tools to make this day successful but because I was fearful of failing, that’s exactly what I did. Realizing this, I ran out to my family and informed them that we were having a Thanksgiving do-over the following weekend. They rolled their eyes but played along. I knew where I had gone wrong and was going to make it right. I moved my smoker out of the shade of the house and onto the sunny side covered porch. I PREHEATED my smoker, like you do with an oven (duh) before I put my turkey in and made sure the temp got to 160. This time, when my family sat down for dinner, we ALL agreed; this was the best turkey they had ever had…ANYWHERE!!
The reason why I’m sharing? You are never too old to learn a lesson and don’t let that monkey mind or fear create your failure. Breathe, pause and allow common sense to help you in your endeavors.
Much love!! RaeAnne