I just noticed that its been 30 days since my last post and I am really having a tough time believing that…not that I think the system date function is wrong or anything, but these last 30 days have FLOWN by…November was pretty much a blur. I guess a B-day, Thanksgiving, and a 10 day trip to Hawaii will make a month seem like a week…which it did.
So I am making good progress for getting the dresser done in time for Christmas. Helping immensely to advance my progress was the aforementioned Mortising Jig that I spent some time building last month. I used to use the method of dropping the workpiece onto the router table slowly, cutting all mortises for the piece(s) being worked on, stopping the router, raising the bit a bit (hehe), and repeating. My main issue with this was fairly inconsistent mortises and being pretty scared that I was going to injure myself or the piece by dropping it onto the spinning bit. This is not so anymore. Now the workpiece is securely fastened in place and the plunge router does all of the moving while supported by my two hands…its a much better way to do things. What would we do without jigs? Repetitive work becomes more consistent and by running through the same motions, tasks are usually completed more quickly…what’s not to like??? I’ve got a few other jigs that I use, but I think the mortising jig is going to get the most consistent workout in the shop.
So with the dresser moving along nicely, I am beginning planning for the Christmas Turkey Smoking. I’ve heard reports from some people that will be at the dinner that they tried to do a smoked turkey for Thanksgiving and it didn’t turn out very well. They said that it didn’t go on early enough, but I’m guessing that lack of planning and preparation had something to do with it. When I get the smoker fired up, I like to take at least a week (more if I know about the cook in advance) to get my thoughts straight on what needs to be done and what the timing of the day will be like. For instance, I’ve already started planning the brine that I am going to be employing. What…you don’t brine your turkeys? Shame on you. Brining imparts flavor and moisture onto lean meats such as poultry, pork, and seafood. For those that might not know, a brine is a water and salt mixture (usually containing sugar and other flavoring additions) that the turkey will be soaked in for 8-10 hours before the bird goes onto the smoker. This process is mostly osmosis of the brine moving through the meat cells to equilibrate the moisture content between the inside and outside of the cells. While brine definitely adds flavor to the bird, it also helps it cook a little faster and more evenly because the higher concentration of moisture will conduct heat better than a non-brined bird. If you haven’t tried brining before, next time you cook turkey or chicken, give it a shot, you’ll like the results. Below is a great resource for brining…and the rest of the site is great for smoking in general.
I’ll definitely make more posts this month than I did last month detailing both the construction of the dresser and the planning for the Christmas cook.