pastured

1 Easy Recipe for Those Who Appreciate Simple

Thanksgiving day would be much less stressful for a host if she didn’t have to cook a $45 bird for a large group of people. That annual experience makes it hard to remember what you should improve on one year to the next.

If you ask Allison, she’ll tell you that we spent our entire second winter eating turkey. It was a unique experience that left us fairly confident when cooking up a turkey.

Brining

Before Sunday, I’d never brined a turkey before, so I decided to give it a try.

I just used a basic ratio, 1 tablespoon of coarse kosher salt for every cup of water. Make sure it’s dissolved.

Some people add a bunch of seasonings while brining, but I just wanted fast and easy.

I placed my turkey in a tall stock pot and filled it as high as I could with the brine. I wanted to immerse the bird, but couldn’t quite get its tail end submerged.

You’ll want to brine for at least 12 hours, but some people like to go for 24.

I’ve always seen it recommended that you brine in the refrigerator, but I left mine on the counter top.

Why is brining important?

Like I mentioned, Sunday was my first time brining a turkey and I have cooked a bunch of them.

It really did seem like the flavor of the meat was more pronounced and enjoyable because of the brine.

If you go without it, it’s still a great eating experience, but you can take those flavors to a higher level without much effort. It does take a little foresight though.

Roasting

We were having turkey for our noon meal on Sunday, so we set the oven on 350, threw the turkey in at 8:30 and pulled it out at 12 when we got home. My 16 pounder was approaching too well done in that 3.5 hour time frame.

Keep an eye on internal temps, you’ll want to breast to be about 165, and the thigh to be about 180.

I like to put 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the pan, it seems like it keeps the turkey from burning to the bottom.

I also like to roast with the lid on, it keeps all the moisture contained and you’ll have something left to make gravy with when it comes out.

Without a lid, the moisture will mostly cook out of the pan, and the turkey is more at risk of becoming too dry, in my experience.

If it tickles your fancy, sprinkle several of your favorite spices on the bird before you throw it in.

I’ve come to the conclusion that starting with high quality meat is far more important than trying to get the perfect spice combination.

Carving

When you pull that turkey from the oven, give it a good 10 minutes on the counter to cool before cutting into it.

Something about slicing it open right away allows lots of moisture to evaporate. If you’re concerned about keeping it moist, you’ll let it sit for a bit to sorta stabilize those juices.

The Results

Everybody dug into our early thanksgiving spread and found it quite satisfying. we did it, I’m confident that you can pull it off real easy too.

Please shoot me a review once you’ve used my recipe!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Loren

So thankful to be back

Friday night, I came home for the first time in almost 3 weeks.  Regular readers know that I was up in Rugby, North Dakota, the geographical center of North America, installing this gym floor at the Armory.

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Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I've heard, and it certainly seems true.  It was just so good to be back with my little family and spending time together again.

Elias getting ready to tear into some delicious grilled maple smoke chicken, and fresh tomatoes and zucchini from a neighbor that Allison sautéed.

Elias getting ready to tear into some delicious grilled maple smoke chicken, and fresh tomatoes and zucchini from a neighbor that Allison sautéed.

Isn't it crazy how fast you fall behind on things when you're not around for a while? I feel like it'll take me another 3 weeks to get everything in order again.

Which, by that time I'll be really close to processing my last batch of chickens for the year.

These guys were tiny little yellow fluff balls when I left, they change so quickly.

These guys were tiny little yellow fluff balls when I left, they change so quickly.

Poor Allison was taking care of Elias, her store, her marketing position for the Farmer's Market, attending two Farmer's Market events a week, tending my baby chicks in the brooder, and rotating my pigs through their slough.

Thankfully her mother could help out a bunch with the store and Elias, but still, Allison was absolutely swamped.

I'm very proud of my wife for keeping the ball rolling while I was gone, no one else could have handled everything so helpfully for me.

I love my family and my animals, being with them is just the best place to be. Don't you agree?

It's never too early to start thinking about Thanksgiving

Most Thanksgiving day cooks wait until the last minute to pick up a frozen turkey from Wal-Mart for $1.40/lb, just in time for the big day.

These people are making a sad, uninformed, mistake if you ask me.

Why is this a mistake?  Because that turkey was never let outside to enjoy the sunshine, chase grasshoppers, eat all kinds of plants, and get lots of good healthy exercise.

That turkey from Wal-Mart had its beak clipped so it couldn't cannibalize its brethren(really high stress environment), had the ends of its toes whacked off so it wouldn't hurt the people handling them(they have really powerful legs), was raised wing to wing with thousands of others, fed a strict diet of high protein feed to make them gain weight as fast as possible, and then likely had a long uncomfortable highway ride, huddled in a cramped cage to their ultimate demise.

I'm giving you the very best case scenario. Reality was possibly far worse when we take into account the tendency for calculated animal abuse in these operations. Also, not to mention the vaccines and drugs used to keep them on their feet so they could be sold.

No one really knows what you're serving your family when you buy from Wal-Mart.

Everybody knows how my turkeys were treated, raised, kept, etc... I'm a compassionate, transparent, husbandman and I love my animals.  I'll be sending you pictures and everything.

I get them straight from the hatchery, only provide unmedicated feeds, administer no vaccinations, give them freedom to roam, slaughter them as quickly and pain free as possible right on the farm, and inject no "flavor enhancing solutions" to improve their taste(none needed when raised correctly), and they keep all their toes and beaks until the very end.

So there it is folks, order from me and you'll have a clear conscience when you give thanks on Thanksgiving day with your friends and family.

 

I am ordering babies on the 13th of this month, order your turkey before then to secure one.  I won't have many extras, if any.   

Please specify desired weight.

I am planning to process my birds the weekend before Thanksgiving so they're fresh and ready for your table. 

I also plan to have them weighing about 11-20 lbs.

My asking price will be $2.99/lb.

That's a total price of $33-$60 depending on size.

 

Email me here: lorenfisk@thepoultryguy.com to make your order and ask any questions you might come up with.

Finally, pictures and news of my little black hogs!

A bit over a month ago, my three sows gave birth to 21 baby pigs.  You should come out and see them sometime soon, they're the cutest little animals to ever scamper the earth.

Just to emphasis, come visit my little pigs, they're adorable and worth a trip. Send me a quick email to see when we're around, we're generally available in the evenings.

lorenfisk@thepoultryguy.com

Here's some pictures just in case you can't make it, but pictures never do justice to the real world.

This was that bright new morning when I walked out to the pig pen and discovered their arrival.  It's  one of the most enjoyable surprises I can think of.

This was that bright new morning when I walked out to the pig pen and discovered their arrival.  It's one of the most enjoyable surprises I can think of.

Fast forward about 5-6 weeks  and you can see how much they've grown compared to the picture above.

Fast forward about 5-6 weeks and you can see how much they've grown compared to the picture above.

I call this my Hog Sled. I just invented it so I could easily move my piggies here and there.   I dump some feed on the floor, they all pile in, and I shut the gate behind them.  It's really easy to motivate a pig.

I call this my Hog Sled. I just invented it so I could easily move my piggies here and there.  I dump some feed on the floor, they all pile in, and I shut the gate behind them. It's really easy to motivate a pig.

I just got them out into this area, I'm very excited about my new setup here.  They will reside in this little square for  up to a week before I rotate them to a fresh and clean area.

I just got them out into this area, I'm very excited about my new setup here.  They will reside in this little square for up to a week before I rotate them to a fresh and clean area.

This one wire is all I need to keep them where I want them.  It's electrified and my little hogs regard it with great respect after they get zapped once or twice.

This one wire is all I need to keep them where I want them.  It's electrified and my little hogs regard it with great respect after they get zapped once or twice.

If you have kids or grandkids, bring them out and take a look.  They need to see these little piglets in real life.

I've been promising this, now I've delivered!

While conversing with potential customers at my farmer's market, I was frequently passed by because my chickens were not cut up.

I solved the issue and I want to unveil my new offerings. 

In my Farm Store, I now have all parts of the chicken conveniently separated and available.

I imagine this is important to you because it'll thaw out faster, you wont have to even lift a knife, and it'll cook faster too.  Talk about saving time!

Not only that, grilling my chickens just got a whole lot easier too.  Here's how I like to do it!

One thing that I haven't posted yet because I lack a decent picture, is soup stock bones.

If you just want to make your own chicken soup and get all the awesome flavors out of those bones, this 2.7 lb package is for you.

$3.85/lb is my asking price and some of those bones even have a little meat on them yet.

By the way, my little Use The Whole Chicken Cook Book (red button at bottom of page) will show you the very best recipe for chicken soup if you haven't checked it out yet.

My cut up chickens are all that's available through the summer now, I will have whole chickens available only directly after processing.  I'm thinking to have another batch ready in late August.

Chicken pickin' time of year

My chickens are growing fast and we're already gearing up to put them all in the freezer by the weekend.

For those of you who have made your orders, you can pick them up Saturday, the 26th, after 4 in the afternoon or arrange to grab them sometime Sunday afternoon.

If neither works for you, send me an email and we'll make something work.

 

I've been taking some pictures so everybody can enjoy just how beautiful the grass and chickens are.  I love this fresh time of year.

I just had 8 piglets born 2 days ago, make sure to have me show them to you when you come get your chickens!  I'll have some pictures up on my next blog post.

Elias is showing me how a rooster crows :-D

Elias is showing me how a rooster crows :-D

Where else can you find such happy chickens?

Where else can you find such happy chickens?

Peekaboo!

Peekaboo!

I will have chicken legs, thighs, wings, breast and such available, I'll post prices and options on the Farm Store page once I figure out what kind of effort it takes to process them so.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Taking a quick trip

On the 1st of May, Allison and I are headed to Missouri and we'll be gone about a week.

I've got a grazing school to go to (learning all kinds of cool things about healthy farming practices), and Allison will continue further south to visit her family.

Our plan is the swing up through IL on our way home to see some of my family.  Can you believe, I haven't met my little niece Elwynn yet and she was born way back in November!

Meanwhile, for those of you who ordered, your chickens are enjoying their first week in the outdoors! I moved them outside on the 28th of April.

I hope you're excited to see for yourself how my little chicken farm works, I want my customers to know exactly how things are going.

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Here's my plan for the year on how I will run my chicken sales.

If you want whole chickens(significantly cheaper), you need to order before I butcher. I do have a few left, if you're interested and haven't ordered yet.

I plan to turn any unsold birds into legs and thighs, wings, boneless skinless breast, and soup stock packages.  You are welcome to purchase your preferred parts anytime throughout the year so long as they are in stock. (I'm still working on pricing)

Remember: I will only have whole chickens for you if you pre-order and pick them up on the butcher date.

This is my new strategy trial for the year, hopefully it's one that really works out well for everybody.

I'm hoping to raise a second batch this fall, but I'm not guaranteeing it at this point.

What is Pastured Poultry??

Let me answer your question! :-D

I raise my chickens out on pasture, hence Pastured Poultry. 

I can only raise them through the warmer months of the year because it gets too harsh and nasty out there in the winter.

The seasonal nature of my operation makes it tough for me to offer you my birds year 'round.  If you want chickens from me in the winter, I need you to buy a quantity for your freezer in the fall so you're stocked until spring.

I get my little chicks when they are days old and I keep them in a warm brooder with fresh wood shavings for 2-3 weeks depending on the weather.

On a nice sunshiny day, I move them to their outside pens.  It takes them a day or two to get used to their new situation, but they learn to pick through the plants and chase bugs before long.

My outdoor pens are called Chicken Tractors.  I move them to a fresh piece of ground every day to keep the birds clean and give them a new salad bar to pick through.

After 4-5 weeks on pasture, I harvest, package, and freeze them right here on my farm for you to take home and enjoy.

So far, I feed GMO corn and soybeans to my birds as it keeps my prices more affordable and it's easy to find a source.

If you want non-GMO fed poultry let me know, I would be happy to change things up if there are enough people asking for it.  Please be advised however, changes often increase expenses and therefore my prices.

My chickens keep very healthy when they're raised this way, I never have to use medications, hormones, or vaccinations ever.

My chickens are the cleanest, happiest, best cared for, and best tasting in South Dakota.  Try them out, you'll soon know what I'm talking about!

 

P.S.   If you want to be sure you'll get as many chickens as you want, contact me as early as possible. I order my first batch in early April, and my last batch by end of August. That's your yearly window to get chickens from me.