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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation ~ Happy Thanksgiving

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November 11, 2015    Monticello, MO
US Wellness Meats Newsletter - In This Issue  

Recipe Corner - Perfect Smoked Turkey (See Bel0w)

Dear Atlanta, 
Since the settlement of the colonies, Americans have been setting aside days of thanksgiving, prayer, and fasting in response to significant events.

The "first" Thanksgiving is traditionally recognized as having taken place at Plymouth colony in the autumn of 1621.

In 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation designating November 26 of that year as a national day of thanksgiving.  The day was meant to recognize the role of providence in creating the new United States and the new federal Constitution.  

It was not until October 3, 1863, that President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation designating the last Thursday in November as a permanent national holiday of Thanksgiving.  Prior to this individual states set their own dates for celebrations.

The traditional thanksgiving meal has changed dramatically since the first one in Plymouth.  The meals for these early Thanksgiving celebrations would have most likely included wild fowl like duck, goose, and possibly turkey, other wild meats like venison, and rabbit, and wild seafood depending on their proximity to the coasts.  

If you are still looking for a turkey recipe for tomorrow then check out Russ Crandall's Perfect Smoked Turkey recipe in our Recipe Corner.  There is a little bit of preparation involved but it promises to be worth the effort.  

The holiday season is typically a time of body fat accumulation and muscle wasting.  Scott Mendelson provides advice on a "core" strengthening exercise program that is sure to flatten those abs and help avoid the extra pounds this year. 
Enjoy Your Thanksgiving with Family & Friends,

John, Lee Ann, Tressa, Laura, and Deric on behalf of the farm families of US Wellness Meats.  

Toll Free:  (877) 383-0051
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Weekly Specials
All sale item discounts expire at 10:00 pm CST on Saturday November 28, 2015. 
Mid-Week Restocks
  Due to the Thanksgiving holiday there are no restocks this week 
Athlete's Corner - Scott Mendelson Q&A
scott mendelson small
Functional Core Training Strategies
Scott- I would like to burn body fat and gain muscle at the same time for the next 12 weeks.  I know that these goals can run in opposition to each other, but I gather this can be achieved with smart tactics.  What should I do from training and nutrition standpoints to make it happen?  What do you suggest for building a great set of abs?    
Charlie Austin, TX


You can burn body fat and gain muscle at the same time with the correct strategies.  The training and nutrition plans must be built to fit your individual needs and goals to maximize your rate of progress.  The holiday season is a very dangerous time of year for body fat accumulation as well as muscle wasting for many reasons.  You are very smart to get started with new strategies now instead of putting off success until the New Year.
Customer Feedback

Dear US Wellness Meats...

We received our order today and it was in perfect condition and extremely well packed!  Thank you so much for your excellent customer care!  Although I try to avoid eating meat as much as possible, for both environmental and humanitarian reasons, my husband is a total carnivore.  At least with US Wellness, I know that the animals are living and eating as they should and are well cared for.

Thank you again.
Sheila R via Facebook

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Recipe Corner
Perfect Smoked Turkey
Author: Russ Crandall - Domestic Man    
  • 1 whole unfrozen turkey, 10-15 lbs, neck and giblets removed and set aside
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup honey 
  • a bunch of ice cubes
  • 1 large handful wood chips, alder, apple, or cherry wood
  • 2-3 wood chunks, alder, apple of cherry wood
  • rind of 1 lemon or orange
  • 1 small bunch each fresh sage and thyme
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp melted ghee
  • 1 tsp each kosher salt and black pepper
6 Keys for Making Perfect Smoked Turkey
  1. Turkeys should not be roasted or smoked directly in a roasting pan.  My solution is to smoke the turkey directly on the grill grates, with a roasting pan filled with 1 inch water underneath the grates, about 3-4 inches from the meat. This will keep the cooking environment moist but let the turkey get evenly crisp on the outside.
  2. Turkeys should not be trussed. Dark meat tastes best at 175 degrees, and breast is best at 165 degrees; trussing means that the whole bird will reach the same temperature all around, which is not what we want.
  3. Turkeys should be minimally stuffed, and only with aromatics, to ensure proper airflow and even heating.
  4. Mild smoking woods (alder, apple, or cherry) are best with poultry; a little goes a long way. I use a combination of chunks and chips, which I'll explain later.
  5. Turkeys should be brined overnight, coated with fat only initially, and minimally seasoned. Brining keeps the turkey from drying out during the smoking process. 
  6. Turkeys should not be carved from the carcass; the bird should be deconstructed and each piece can be carved individually.
  1. Pour 1 quart water into your largest stockpot, add the kosher salt and honey. Heat the stockpot on high heat and stir with a wooden spoon until dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat, pour in ice and stir until the ice melts and the water returns to at least room temperature.  Add the turkey to the stockpot and fill with cold water until the turkey is fully submerged in the brine. Cover the stockpot and put it in the fridge (or a cold basement, between 32-40 degrees) overnight, up to 12 hours.
  3. The next day, remove the turkey from the brine and dry inside and out with paper towels. Place it on a wire rack on a baking sheet to air dry for 30 minutes.
  4. While the turkey dries, prepare your smoking woods. In two small aluminum pans, place one handful of wood chips and a few wood chunks. Fill the pan that has the chips with about 1/2 inch of water. This allows the chunks to catch fire and smoke first.  By the time the chunks are nearly done smoking, the water will have evaporated and the chips will start smoking. So you'll get constant smoking without having to add chips.
  5. Place the small aluminum pans under the grill grates, on whatever side of the grill you're going to keep hot.  On the cool side of the grill, place a large aluminum pan under the grill grates and fill with 1 inch water. This water will keep the grill moist but also catch the turkey drippings and can be used to make gravy afterwards.
  6. Prepare your aromatics for stuffing. Lemon or orange rind is better than actual fruit pieces, because you'll get the aroma without the added liquid inside the bird, which can mess up your cooking times.
  7. Once the turkey has air-dried, stuff it with the aromatics, making sure there is plenty of extra room. If it's a tight squeeze, don't use all of the onion.
  8. Brush the turkey all over with melted ghee, starting with the underside of the turkey. It'll start to harden as you brush it on, which is fine. Season all over with kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper.
  9. Heat your grill on high heat for 10 minutes, until the wood chunks start to smoke. Turn off all the burners but one, and leave the one on high. Adjust the heat as needed to get to a stable 325 degrees. Once the temperature is stable, put the turkey on the grill and cover each wing tip with tin foil. This helps to prevent the wing tips from overcooking too quickly. Cover and smoke for one hour.
  10. After an hour, carefully pick up and rotate the turkey 180 degrees, so that its other side is now facing the hot side of the grill. Tilt the turkey towards its backside and drain out any collected liquid into the pan underneath it. Remove the tin foil from the wing tips. Cover and smoke for another 45 minutes.
  11. Open the grill and pour out any of the turkey's collected liquid into the pan underneath it. Check the breast and thigh temperatures with an instant-read thermometer. You want the breasts to register 160F and the thighs to register 170F (they'll climb another 5 degrees as the turkey rests). If it's ready, pull it off the grill. If not, cover and continue to smoke, checking every 10-15 minutes.
  12. Place the turkey on a wire rack over a baking sheet to rest for 20 minutes before carving. Don't cover it with tin foil, unless you want soggy skin.

Thanks to Russ Crandall, The Domestic Man, for this delicious recipe.  Check out his website for Paleo-friendly recipes inspired by traditional & international cuisines. New recipes every Tuesday.

If you are a blogger or food artist and would like to see your recipes published in our newsletter simply email us at
Farm Photos - US Wellness Cattle

Baldwin City Heifers
Lucky cattle on Gulf Coast winter grasses

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Content cattle taking a brief break from grazing
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