So What Was THAT All About?

Especially if you're a new subscriber to Be A Better Cook, you might be wondering what those last two articles were about. Ironically, after last week's newsletter about making mistakes, they were.....mistakes.

What you saw about Chicago Style Pizza and Smoked Turkey were the shorthand notes that I take for most anything I cook. I post these notes to a different blog, called "What Tom Cooked", which can be found at

I use that blog as essentially a recipe box. Almost all the dishes I cook get entered there, unless it's recipe I've made before. Mostly, it's so I can either have the full recipe at my fingertips, or at least have a shortcut to remind me where it came from. For example, which issue of Cook's Illustrated had the pizza recipe? I don't buy the indices that Cook's sells, so I need a better system.

About those two.....the pizza was great. Cook's used an approach in which the dough is made with the same technique as for fresh puff pastry dough. Multiple rises, layers of butter folded in. Delicious. The other notes refer to my own choices of product and proportion. Central Market is a high end grocer in Houston. Their bulk Italian sausage is just about as good as from the local Italian markets in Chicago. Unfortunately it's an hour drive from my house.

Smoked Turkey. Who knew? I bought an extra frozen turkey at holiday sale prices last winter, and kept in the garage fridge til now. Tropical Storm Alex is now in the gulf, so my timing to reduce the freezer stock a little bit last week was good. But once I had a thawed turkey on a 100 degree heat index weekend, I wasn't so sure what I'd do with it.

So I cut the turkey into 6 parts, and flavored half with barbecue flavors, the other half with Herbs de Provence, to be a little closer to "traditional" turkey flavors. I added some fresh herbs and garlic to the second half.

Smoking was done over charcoal and soaked wood chips for about 60 minutes or so. 160 degrees temperature in the leg joints. With resting time, everything was cooked well.

I like it it, it was easy, and that much turkey lasts a long time for a family of 5. The surprise to me was that my 15 year old daughter has been eating smoked turkey sandwiches for lunch AND dinner for days now, and wants smoked turkey this Thanksgiving. the expense of a little confusion, you get a few random extra cooking comments this week, and a little insight into how I cook on a regular basis.

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