The plan for the weekend was to use apple wood to smoke two turkeys (for an office party), wieners, andouille sausage, brats, fresh kielbasa, cheese, chicken wings and bacon. All of this fit on the smoker with room to spare and the flavors were awesome. While finding a slab of bacon is not easy and sliced bacon is now cheaper, the result was nothing short of fantastic. I will smoke more of this in the very near future. That leaves the turkeys as the centerpiece for this blog. I know most of you are not going to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving, but if you have the tools, you should seriously consider doing so.
Normally, I smoke turkey using either hickory or mesquite, but this year, I choose apple wood. Between the three woods, hickory and apple are my favorites. However, in order to have a great turkey, smoked, deep-fried or roasted, you must brine the bird for at least 24 hours and up to 72 hours. The brine should consist of these ratios: 1-quart water, 4 teaspoons salt and 4 teaspoons lemon juice. If you like a little sweetness, add 2 teaspoons sugar. It will take several quarts of water to cover your turkey. Either use a large roasting bag, trash bag or, in my case, a medium sized cooler. I begin the process while the turkey is still partially frozen, and use ice to replace the last quart or so of water. I then add ice every morning and evening to keep the bird cold, removing excess water as necessary. Cook with whatever method pleases you and enjoy a great bird on Thanksgiving!
As congress moves forward on this gargantuan healthcare bill, I feel a bit of regret. When the topic of healthcare reform became a priority for this congress and the Obama administration, I felt a bit of hope for the many laid telecommunications workers out there that cannot afford their COBRA payments. For those of you fortunate enough not to know what COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) is; it provides an ex-employee the option of continuing their health care coverage until they find other employment or purchase private insurance. However, a laid off worker has no income and budgeting as much as $1500 a month for family coverage can be daunting. Moreover, when facing an extended period where employment is slowed as telecom did in 2002 and now, it is money needed for basic food and housing. It is unclear how the current bill would address these laid off telecom workers.
Next most ISPs and ITSPs are SMBs and providing healthcare to their work force is an ever growing expense. Premiums continue to go up faster than inflation and annual adjustments to employee contributions become necessary. This is not a sustainable model.
The current debate focuses on hot button political issues like abortion, taxing the rich, illegal immigration, etc. The thousands of workers in our industry and other SMBs like Broadvox need legislation that will ease the concerns of the unemployed and stabilize the cost of providing healthcare insurance. At present, I do not believe either of the above will be properly addressed. As usual, I continue to see overreach and partisan positioning. This should be disconcerting to all of us.
Last year I asked you to think of Brianna Sharp as she fought an inoperable brain cancer. Regrettably, she died in July of this year. However, those that knew her celebrated her life and the way she faced her cancer. On Thursday, we should look again at our families and friends and be thankful.
See you next Monday!