Don't Fear Cooking a Holiday Feast, Bolyard's Meat and Provisions Has You Covered

December 18, 2018 - 5:00 am

Author's note: this is the first part of a three part series exploring holiday foods, drinks and treats featuring local businesses -- all of whom want to make your holiday meal prep less stressful and more festive.

MAPLEWOOD (KMOX) Food. We all need it, most of us like it -- but what do we do with it? Especially this time of year when there seems to be a lot more pressure to get it right for family and friends at holiday gatherings? If you're nervous, you're not alone. 

I'm Alex Degman. St. Louis Food Writer and Editor Brandi Wills and I want to tackle this -- she's basically an expert, she wouldn't want me to call her that but she really knows her stuff.

Then there's me. I burn toast and sometimes can't even figure out how to get my frozen dinner heated all the way to the center.

There's no way I know how to please my family and friends with my cooking this holiday season -- I imagine that some of you might have a similar problem, so Brandi and I are on a quest this week to make holiday meal prep less scary.

Today we're at Bolyard's Meat and Provisions in Maplewood. Chris Bolyard owns the place on Sutton Boulevard that committs to local, Midwest farmers who raise free range animals not fed with hormones or anti-biotics.

Some of Chris's tips for preparing meat:

- Figure out how many people are coming and whether you want leftovers -- Chris suggests planning a half pound per person if you're thinking about a beef tenderloin or a standing rib roast. If it's a lighter meat, like turkey, think about a pound per person.

- Let the meat defrost in the refrigerator for a couple of days before cooking it -- Chris says turkeys and roasts can last uncovered in the refrigerator for several days. With Christmas a few days away, it might be time to go shopping.

- Spatchcocking, or butterflying, is the best way to cook poultry. Bolyard removes the backbone out of the turkey which allows you to spread the bird over the cooking surface -- even if it's in a traditional oven it'll cut down on cooking time and cook more evenly. Plus, a turkey from Bolyard's will cook faster than a frozen mass produced turkey you might find at a bigger store. He says they don't pump the meat full of brines or solutions to add weight. But, if you've ever had dry turkey, you know brining is important -- Bolyard's will do that for you, but you can also make your own brine with a salt, sugar and water solution to make sure it stays moist. Chris says he recently cooked an 18 pound turkey in about 2.5 hours -- 2 hours at 300 degrees, a half hour at 350, then a half hour to rest.

- Make sure the meat is cooked to your liking. You don't need to cook everything to 165 degrees. Bolyard prefers his tenderloins bloody rare, between 120 and 125 degrees. Rib roasts he prefers a little less rare to avoid chewiness, so about 130-135 for that. The thickest part of a turkey should get up to 158, with smaller parts like legs and thighs possibly reaching 180.

Bolyard's Meat and Provisions is located at 2810 Sutton Blvd. in Maplewood, open Monday through Saturday including weekday lunch service.