Flexible Skewers

The fall has gotten away from me, but I am now getting around to bring my massive numbers of readers up to date on some of my discoveries.  Some people already know about these gadgets, but these gadgets are new to me.  Sure, I could have posted this and similar articles before Christmas, but what would be the fun in that?  Now, you can go buy some cooking gadgets and save some money.

Back in an earlier post on tailgating, I showed off some neat flexible skewers that I found while shopping at Wegmans.  They allow on to cook some tasty chunks of food on almost any sized grill.  Since tailgating involves using small grills, at least for me, these flexible skewers allow efficient use of limited space.  They also allow the food to be stored in differnt sized containers, than when using those long and straight skewers.  I sometimes have trouble finding containers that are a good size for more traditional skewers, esepecially when the desire is to marinate the items on the skewer.  You could try zip loc bags, but I always poke holes in the bags.  Then, the goo from the meat leaks all over the cooler and now there is raw food yuck in the cooler.  That can be bad, as in a hospital stay for your tailgate guests, if you can actually get anyone to come to your tailgate party.

VT vs. Arkansas State Tailgate
Flexible Skewers in Action (click to enlarge)
So cut up meat, chicken, veggies or what ever your tastes are and load up the skewers.  Chicken is always great because chicken soaks up the marindae flavor, but you can use whatever you like.  By the way, no links here.  You can do a quick google search on flexible skewers and find plenty of them online.  Just go to your favorite search engine, and search for flexible skewers and you will find many places to make your purchase.

To see the flexible skewers in action, go take a look at the article (click here) that shows the skewers in action. This dish did actually generate some buzz in the parking lot, when people saw me waving around the meat in this manner.  You can also see some pictures that show the several stages of the skewers in action on the above link.

Check back for more on some useful little things for cooking, that you did not even know that you need.  Please, don't forget a comment or two below.

Ode to a Meat Thermometer

Really, I am attempting to get some interesting and relevant items up here for you to enjoy.  The alphageek knows you come here for the great combination of wit, humor and information.  Well, actually you come here because I begged, but please try to humor me.  I thought you could use a tip for getting ready for Thanksgiving.  This tip is a tip that would be good anytime, anyplace, but it happens to be really good for Thanksgiving.

Turkey: everybody will have some in the upcoming weeks.  Most turkey served is really dry.  The shame is, turkey does not have to be that way.  Turkey is best when cooked to temperature.  There is my big tip.

So, why the meat thermometer title?  The best way to cook a turkey is to use a thermometer and measure the temperature.  Once I learned to use a meat thermometer, my cooking skills increased exponentially.  I was able to go from dry, nobody wanted it turkey, to the variation of the iron chef that I am today.  Now, I use a meat thermometer almost every time I cook meat.  The single best step I have taken is the meat thermometer.

So what temperature to cook to?  Look that up.  In this case, google is your friend.  Below are the steps that you will only find here.

1) Take that stupid pop up thing, pull it out and throw it away.  You will destroy your turkey otherwise.
2) Use the package to calculate the time to cook your bird, according to weight.
4) Begin to measure the turkey about half the time suggested in step 2.  As the turkey gets close to temperature, it will start to heat up more quickly, so don't be afraid to check more frequently.
5) Don't go over the suggested temperature that you found in your google search.

There are a lot of techniques out there to cook a turkey be separating the light and dark meat.  Those techniques are for folks trying to make the best turkey ever.  If you are like me and trying to make turkey that does not need to be covered up with gravy to hide the fact that you dried out the turkey, just follow the advice here today, or don't and listen to another year of whining.  It really is your choice.  I can tell you your friends and family will rave about a properly cooked bird.

To be certain you are cooking the turkey to the temperature you found in your google search, make sure you check both the light and dark meat.  The breast will heat up more quickly.

 I have found by measuring the time is cut in about half over that stupid pop up thing.  The time varies for a lot of reasons, and I won't go into them unless there are requests.  Geeks have found that people just roll their eyes if given too much information.  I do that sort of stuff so you don't have to.  You are welcome.