Moore leaned on his grandmother for advice
Written by Jess Henderson
Caskey Moore grew up watching his grandmother Betty Moore cook for the entire family and the neighborhood.
His grandmother’s cooking repertoire extended from classic Southern soul foods like chicken, cornbread, and macaroni and cheese to desserts like cupcakes, red velvet pies, and caramels.
“I would call her when I started cooking on my own because I wanted my food to taste like hers, but I could never get it,” he said. “Everything was from scratch. I’ve never seen her use a recipe book, and I’ve never used one. I just look at her.”
When he’s not cooking, Moore works as a contractor for MaxxSouth Broadband. He is married to Gerlisa Moore and they have a 12-year-old daughter, Kenade, and attend Jerusalem Temple Church.
Through trial and error over the years, Moore became a well-known local meat chef by word of mouth. He often receives cooking requests from people in the community to cook turkeys, hams, roasts, and even wild boar, which resemble game, for various family occasions and celebrations.
“Food that you can go and buy at Walmart is very easy,” he said. “I like more challenging things like big cuts of meat. If you bring me a big piece of elk, I think I can make it taste good, even if this is my first chance to do it.”
Moore’s experience shines during the holidays, when he smokes 16 to 20 turkeys for families and demonstrates a unique recipe that includes cinnamon sticks, candied ginger, green apples and red onions for the stuffing. This started about 12 years ago when he smoked turkeys for his family.
“When I got ready to leave, it looked like someone dropped this turkey into a pond of piranhas. “There were only bones left,” he said with a laugh. “Everyone was wondering: Who made this turkey?”
A family friend had a dish prepared to take to Thanksgiving dinner, and she spoke so highly of the turkey that she wanted a dish of her own for Christmas. Since then, Moore has smoked a turkey for her every year, and word quickly spread as orders mounted and his reputation grew.
Last year, he generously donated five turkeys to random church members, a number that doubled this year due to popular demand and people offering to pay.
Inspired by the giving spirit his grandmother instilled in him, Moore also often prepares meals for visitors to his home, no matter the time.
“Sometimes, during the middle of the week, around 10 at night, I wake up to prepare chicken and black-eyed peas for the people who come to my house,” he said. “That’s just something I picked up from her. I feel like if you can feed someone, you don’t know how much of an impact you can have on that person’s day.”
For Moore, cooking is more than just a skill. It is a time for self-reflection.
“It’s always an opportunity for me to sit down and think about what I’ve done and want to achieve,” he said. “I can put my thoughts straight while I’m in the kitchen.”
The key to a well-cooked meal is to use low-sodium, MSG-free seasonings and avoid common additives. He stresses the importance of avoiding high-sodium options for both flavor and health.
Moore’s commitment to unique ingredients and techniques sets his cooking apart, making every meal a special experience for everyone to enjoy.
Half a kilo of minced beef, 90% fat-free
½ teaspoon. baking soda
2 ½ lbs. Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup sour cream
5 tablespoons. Unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup half-and-half
4 oz. Bacon, cut into cubes (about 3 thick slices of bacon, cut into cubes)
2 medium-sized yellow onions, cut into cubes
2 carrots, cut into cubes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup red wine
2 tablespoons. Flour for all uses
3 tablespoons. Tomato paste
1 teaspoon. Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon. Chopped fresh thyme
½ teaspoon. Freshly ground black pepper
Half a cup of frozen peas
2 tablespoons. Finely chopped chives
• Place the potatoes in a pot on the stove and cover them with cold water. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cook for 13-15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
• Drain the potatoes in a colander, then return them to the bowl. Add milk, butter, salt and pepper and mash the ingredients until creamy.
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large ovenproof frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and stir for a minute. Then add the diced carrots, celery and lamb. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the meat is cooked. Use your spoon to break up the meat while cooking.
• Drain the fat from the pan and add the stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
• Add the frozen peas and stir together. Turn off the burner and use the back of a spoon to flatten the meat mixture into a single layer.
For turkey brine
Natural frozen small turkey, 14-16 lbs
1 gallon vegetable broth (homemade or canned)
1 cup kosher salt
Half a cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon. Black peppercorns
1 ½ teaspoon. Allspice berries
1 ½ tablespoon. Candied ginger, chopped
1 gallon H20, iced
1 red apple, cut into quarters
½ onion, cut into quarters
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup H20
4 sprigs of rosemary
6 sage leaves
• Two to three days before roasting, begin thawing the turkey if it is frozen. To defrost safely, do so in the refrigerator or a cooler kept at 38 degrees.
• You can also prepare the brine at this time: Combine the vegetable broth, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice, and candied ginger in a large bowl. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar and salt. When the mixture boils, remove it from the heat, cover it and let it cool to room temperature. Place in the refrigerator on low until completely cold, or until the turkey is completely thawed.
• Early in the day or late at night before you want to eat, bring in the turkey. Combine the cooled brine with ice water in a 5-gallon cooler. Place the turkey (giblets and other innards removed) in the brine, breast side down. If necessary, weigh the bird to ensure it is completely soaked, then place it in a cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird halfway through the soaking process.
• When ready to roast, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Adjust oven racks so the turkey fits on the bottom rack in the oven.
• Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse it inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
• Place the bird on a flat roasting rack over a half sheet pan or roasting pan and dry it well with paper towels.
• Pre-form the aluminum shield (also known as a turkey triangle) by folding a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil to form a triangle. Brush with a little canola oil, then place it over the turkey breast with the point toward the legs. Press the sides of the foil to mold it to the breast and maintain its shape. Remove and set aside for now.
• Combine apples, onions, water and cinnamon stick in a microwave-safe dish, then microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add aromatics (not water) to the turkey’s cavity, along with the rosemary and sage. Place the wings under the bird and lightly coat the skin with canola oil.
• Roast the turkey on the lowest level of the oven for 30 minutes, then open the oven and slide the rack out to access the turkey. Working quickly, insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, avoiding any bones, and place the turkey triangle on top. Place the turkey back into the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Set the alarm on the probe to go off at a temperature of 155 degrees. A 14- to 16-pound turkey should take an additional 90 minutes to 2 hours, but the temperature of the meat is more important than the time it takes to get there, so pay attention to the probe.
• Let the turkey rest, still on the roasting pan and lightly covered with aluminum foil, for at least 15 minutes before transferring to a cutting board and carving.