Crebs’ Brined Turkey Recipe

Seattle Times and published in the Denver Post 14-Nov-2001; who adapted it from Bon Appetit: The Christmas Season book.


  • 5 quarts water
  • one cup coarse Celtic or Kosher sea salt (or 1/2-cup table salt)
  • 3/4-cup honey
  • one bunch fresh thyme
  • four large cloves garlic (crushed and peeled)
  • 1-tbsp coarse ground pepper
  • one 8-to-12-lb free-range (or organic) turkey
  • one lemon (cut in half)
  • one tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
  • one cup chicken broth (low sodium)


In a large pot, combine the water, salt, and honey. Bring just to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and honey. Remove from the heat and stir in the thyme, the garlic, and pepper. Cool completely, then refrigerate until chilled.

Put the turkey into a 10-to-12-quart stock pot. Pour the chilled brine over the turkey, cover, and refrigerate at least 10-12 hours and up to 24 hours. Turn occasionally.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Drain the turkey well. Pat outside of turkey with paper towels. Place the turkey on a rack in foil- lined roasting pan. Squeeze lemon juice inside the cavity and over the outside. Rub olive oil over the skin. Roast about 35 minutes per pound, basting occasional with the chicken broth, until an internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Often an uncovered turkey will brown too quickly, so I cover loosely with aluminum foil, and remove the foil about 90 minutes before the final temperature is reached.

Transfer the turkey to a cutting board. Set aside for about 15 minutes before carving.

Bon Appetit et/kai Kali Oreksi.


There is a bit of science involved in the brining of a turkey or any poultry. The salt in the brine causes the protein strands in the skin of the bird to unwind, which creates a tangled protein-web which holds water. When the “web” is exposed to heat, the strands gel (similar to the whites of an egg) and form a moisture barrier to prevent water from escaping. This cooking process results in a very moist bird. It’s just simple kitchen physics and biochemistry.


Crebs’ Beer-Butt Chicken Recipe


One Whole Free-Range Chicken (3 lbs or better; discard parts, neck, etc.)


1/2-tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/2-tsp organic garlic powder

2-tsp dried organic parsley

1-tsp dried organic oregano

pinch (or more for taste) dried cayenne pepper

pinch (or more for taste) dried paprika

pinch (or more for taste) dried tarragon

Beer Can Contents:

1/3-can (12-oz) of your favorite local beer

1-tsp lemon juice (optional)

2-Tbs melted butter

2 (or more) cloves organic garlic (sliced, dredged in rub, then crushed)

Drizzle: 2-Tbs melted butter

Melt 4 tablespoons Butt_readyof butter on the stovetop. Preheat grill or oven to 350°F.

Combine dry “Rub” spices above in a separate bowl, and mix well. Rinse chicken in running tap-water, and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle a liberal amount of dry rub both inside and outside of the chicken. (Experiment with your favorite spices and seasonings to make your own favorite chicken rub.)

Take your favorite 12-ounce can of beer, and either drink or pour-off 8-ounces. Peel and slice in half, 2 (or more) cloves of garlic; dredge garlic slices in dry rub mixture, then crush and put crushed garlic in the beer can (containing 4-ounces of beer), Add 2 tablespoons of melted butter and optional lemon juice to the beer can.

Insert the can of beer into the cavity of the chicken, open end up, and carefully place the chicken with can inside on an oven pan. The chicken should look as if it’s standing up on the pan, with the legs straddling the beer can. Adjust the legs to help balance the chicken so that it “stands up”. Drizzle two tablespoons of butter over the chicken.

Butt_doneCarefully place the “panned beer-chicken” on the grill or in an oven at 350°F. Cook 1-to-2.5-hours depending on the size of the chicken. If the chicken appears to be cooking too fast on one side, it may be to be rotated 180°, -but only once. Chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 170-to-175°F or when the legs get “floppy”.
Bon Appetit et/kai Kali Oreksi.

There is anecdotal evidence that it’s the yeasts and starches in the beer which may cause the “butt chicken’s” skin to be extra delicious and flakey. I think this recipe results in a very moist and tasty grilled chicken.


Crebs’ Greek Sauerkraut Recipe

1) Chop or Shred finely one to four heads of ORGANIC red and/or green cabbage;

2) Put the shredded cabbage in a crock or large bowl, and for every head of cabbage, add: 1 Tablespoon of NON-IODIZED Celtic or kosher salt; 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds; 4-to-6 dried juniper berries; and, 1 Tablespoon of whey.

3) Stomp or crush the cabbage for about 10 minutes per head of cabbage to produce nice cabbage juice; I use Lehman’s stomper but a good meat tenderizer or mallet works well too. It’s IMPORTANT to stomp especially if you use red cabbage. I like to stomp to music with a good beat; therefore, I stomp to Kaiti Garbi’s 2001-hit “To Kati”.

4) Cover your cabbage with a couple unshredded outer cabbage leaves, then press the cabbage and leaves down below the juice-level; next add stones to keep the cabbage below the juice level.

5) Cover your crock, or if using a Harsch crock put on the lid and add water to the water-seal.

NOTE: I let the sauerkraut ferment at room-temperature for two-to-three weeks. I check the sauerkraut after 2 weeks by tasting it (and making sure the pH is below 4.1), it will get more sour or acidic the longer it sits at room temperature. Once it has reached the taste I like, I put the sauerkraut in mason jars and refrigerate for up to one year.

Καλή Όρεξη
pronounced “kali oreksi” is Greek for Bon Appetit.


Crebs’ Greek Yogurt Recipe

1) Heat 1/2-gallon organic milk (4% fat or better) to a temperature of 180°F (82°C) or when small bubbles-froth appears on surface of the milk or just before it boils.

2) Let milk cool to a lukewarm temperature of 108-112°F (42-44°C), then mix in 1/2-3/4-cup of plain yogurt (e.g., my daughter calls this step “immortalizing” the yogurt) and/or 10 grams (2 tsp) of yogurt starter into the lukewarm milk.

3) Cover milk mixture and place in a 105°F oven for 6-to-14 hours.

4) Afterwards, the yogurt has “set”, but I prefer it thicker and creamier. So I pour the yogurt into a cheese-cloth-lined collander within a large bowl and strain out the whey (clear milk liquid). See image of set-up below.

4b) Optional – For Greek Yogurt (Γιαούρτι), I put the collander/bowl set-up in the oven at 105°F (41°C) for 60-to-120 minutes to strain out more whey. This optional step makes the yogurt extra thick and creamy or “Greek-style”.

5) Pour yogurt from collander into a container (with a tight lid); cover and refrigerate. I like to stir or mix the yogurt at this stage which makes it extra creamy in my opinion. Yogurt will thicken even more in the refrigerator. Use within two weeks after refrigerating.

NOTE: Greek Yogurt is traditionally flavored with honey and fruit, but this Greek-American prefers adding Mexican agave nectar and Canadian blueberries to flavor our yogurt.

Καλή Όρεξη
pronounced “kali oreksi” is Greek for Bon Appetit.

yogurt1Half gallon of yogurt in the pan on the left, after 14 hours in the 105°F oven. Cheese-cloth-lined collander in a drain bowl on the right. For Greek Yogurt I pour the yogurt into the collander set-up, and place in 105°F oven for one-to-two hours. I recently had my Greek yogurt assayed for Lactic Acid Bacteria by Warren Analytical Laboratory in Greeley, Colorado. They measured 60 million Colony Forming Units (CFU) per gram (times 28.35 grams/ounce = 1.7 Billion CFU/ounce!) A delicious source of probiotics for my family’s microbiome.

Here’s a ten-minute video of how to make my yogurt (just click the image triangle below):


Adventures of the Boomer ‘Shroomers! (Matsutake Time!)

MATSUTAKE TIME above 8500-feet!!! It’s Joy’s favorite ‘shroom, and she gets so excited when looking for “humps” in the duff at the base of Ponderosa Pines–White Matsu’s (Tricholoma magnivelare, aka Mutsutake) in Colorado are like truffles in that they often do NOT break the ground surface. Therefore, they’re a little harder to find.

Because it’s now bow-hunting elk, black-powder deer, and soon-to-be bear hunting season season up here, ‘shroomers need to be as conspicuous at possible. Here’s what Joy is wearing this Matsutake hunting season:


Note all the red; the bells hanging from her belt, two types of red trowels (long and short), and the whistle hanging from her hat. Yup, Joy is always safety conscious when it comes to dressing up for matsutakes.

The next picture shows Joy about to dig up a Matsu:


She’s scrapped the duff (all those pine needles) away and is ready to dig up and SMELL the mushroom. Colorado Matsu’s smell like “Red Hots Candy” to us; some less-educated noses claim they have a bouquet like “dirty tennis shoes!”

Here’s her beauty up close:


Note the off-white color of the gills, the ring on the stem. This is one CHOICE tasting mushroom. It is prized by the Japanese (e.g., matsu-take means pine-mushroom) and the Chinese (they call it Song rong) for it’s spicy-aromatic odor. Early season Japanese Matsutakes can cost up to $2000 per kilogram in Tokyo!

Here’s Joy holding another Matsutake:


Note the veil hasn’t torn yet, so there is no ring on the stem.

And here’s Joy goofing with two Matsutakes she found yesterday:


Now for something completely different:

We think “Vuggie” looks pretty sexy with her new personalized plates.

Happy Camping and ‘Shroomin’. T & Joy


Adventures of the Boomer ‘Shroomers! (Brainard Lake ‘n’ the King Bolete)

Yippee!!! Rocky Mountain King Boletes are sprouting at about 10000 feet! But first a picture of Vuggie and the VW Rabbit at the Brainard Lake Picnic Area:


Note the pale Rainbow! The mountain to the right is the glaciated Mt. Audubon (13,223′)–an Eocene-Paleocene grano-syenite intrusion (i.e., for you geos, the Audubon-Albion Stock.) Yeah, sexy geology up here.

Okay back to the shrooms:


Could it be? Gotta look beneath the cap to be sure!



Oh, what a Happy Camper. It IS the famous Rocky Mountain King Bolete (i.e., the Italians call them “Porcini”, the Germans “Steinpilz”, aka Boletus edulis!) Yup, old T’s favorite shroom–so he smiles big.

The many trails around the Pawnee Campground (1.5-hour drive from Denver) were full of many kinds of shrooms. And here’s an identification trick:


Carry a small mirror to look under the mushroom cap. Boletes have spongy pores under their caps, not gills. Joy here is checking out the pores under an Aspen Bolete (Leccinum insigne). I know, I know, T gets too excited to check with a mirror when he think it’s a KING.

After find a few Kings, it started to rain, and it rained all night and all morning. We were very pleased with the REI Alcove, kept us nice and dry at temperatures in the mid 40’s.


Making McNugits Omelet in an 8-inch DO in light rain. I shielded the rain with my hat–worked great and dried out the hat too. Oh yeah, the omelet was awesome on a 42° morning. As the Stark’s say: Winter is Coming!


Driving Highway 72 south from Pawnee, we always stop at the B&F Grocery Store in Nederland, CO. It’s got a small cafe inside and they serve “Mountain Burgers” with lots of onions.

We recommend these burgers highly, and always try to get to Nederland before noon to order ’em, as the locals like ’em too and the line and wait can get long for them.

Happy Camping, T & Joy


Adventures of the Boomer ‘Shroomers! (Hall Valley Campground)

Hall Valley Campground in Pike National Forest is one of our favorites during August as very tasty shrooms can be found nearby.



Joy and our dog Campbell always find Aspen Boletes (Leccinum insigne):



Last week Joy found some pretty Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) growing on aspen stumps, and they smell so good too.


While old T found chanterelles (Cantharellus ciborium) and Meadow Mushrooms (Agaricus campestris). Meadow and Prince Mushrooms (an earlier post) are better tasting relatives to the white button, portabello, and crimini shrooms you find in the produce section of grocery stores.



Yup, Hall Valley and surrounding forests are indeed a nice place to find tasty fungus treats…and apparently Girls just wanna have fungi!

Regards, T & Joy


Adventures of the Boomer ‘Shroomers! (Hall Campground ‘n’ the Princes)


The PRINCES (Agaricus augustus) are out!! This week while at Hall Valley we found a few, but never enough:

Campbell (our Westie) and T pose with three Princes on a slope at about 8100′ elevation. It’s our favorite Agaricus.

Here’s the best one, note the large cap with brown freckles on top, when young it’s cap is marshmallow shaped.


Like all Agaricus the gills are pink when young and turn brown with age; yup Agaricus species are also the button shrooms we buy in the stores. Note the shaggy stem and the ring around the stem, all Agaricus have them. Princes smell like almonds, that’s how T recognizes them.

Joy had never seen one before, so had to study the books to get acquainted.


Cooked up in olive oil and butter with lots of garlic. We think they are the best tasting of all the Agaricus, including all those store-bought Agaricus (aka portabellos, crimini’s, buttons etc.) Note also the 5-inch DO’s, great for cooking side veggies.

Kali Oreksi, T

Adventures of the Boomer ‘Shroomers (Vuggie ‘n’ Hummers)

Fun times Colorado ‘shrooming, and with all the Hummingbirds in the mountains we thought we would add a feeder to Vuggie:


A Droll Yankees ($15 window-feeder) was on sale at True Value and it has large suction cups, insect/bee guards, and a cleaning brush.

A few minutes later:


Pretty fun in the Hall Valley Campground, as our feeder was attracting Broadtail Hummers (Selasphorus platycercus) all day. Fellow campers came over and enjoyed with us the Hummer acrobatics and territorial behavior.

Will try to post some more shroom pictures maybe tomorrow.

Nighty-night, T & Joy

Adventures of the Boomer ‘Shroomers (Pawnee ‘n’ the Vuggie)

Pawnee Site 33

Pawnee Campground just west of Ward, Colorado is one of our favorites with Vuggie for the following reasons:

  1. Paved asphalt off Highway 92 all the way (+10,500-feet above sea-level)
  2. BEAR BOXES (note the brown one left of Vuggie above)
  3. Nearby lakes (Brainard, Blue, Mitchell) with nice level hikes <3 miles
  4. and, the local flora and fauna!

Brainard Local1
Brainard Local2

Thanx to Sue and Michael Ryan of Boulder, fellow Pawnee campers who took the pictures of the MOOSE BULLS* grazing near Brainard Lake, and graciously let us post here.

Happy Camping, T & Joy

* Like FISH the plural of MOOSE is MOOSE (NOT MEESE). But our favorite “Moose” plural was what our Labrador/Canadian clients call them: “Newfie Speed-bumps”