‘Nothing Will Stop The Turkey Inferno’

By Spencer Ackerman

The harmony of this blog was interrupted last year by Thanksgiving discord, as Yglesias and I took the proper anti-turkey position and Miller good-naturedly but mistakenly defended tradition. Choire Sicha’s instructions for barbecuing a turkey — reminiscent as they are of Kriston Capps’ penchant for smoking the bird — are almost enough to convert me. There is, however, this generous concession:

Shove the thing on the table. Let it sit there smoldering for 20 minutes. Make someone cut it. The outermost inch of the turkey will taste like BACON. It will taste like eating a wood fire—go figure! It will be like biting down on the forests of Chernobyl. You will pretty much regret ever having done this.

Turkey. It just shouldn’t be consumed.

13 responses to “‘Nothing Will Stop The Turkey Inferno’

  1. Not only do I remain ardently pro-turkey, but I’m going to both roast and butterfly barbecue one this year.

  2. Dude, it’s turkey. Step back from the cliff. Brine it, do a roulade, make posole, debone the whole leg and stuff it with something, whatever. There’s a ton of ways to make tasty turkey, and little or no reason to be an ass about it. This is not a hill on which to die.

  3. Wow. I’m with C.S. Get over it.

    Just because some people can’t cook a bird well, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be consumed! I mean hell, my own mother is NOT ALLOWED in the kitchen on T-day for that reason; her hubby makes a delicious bird!

    You live in the “South” now, where ham & green beans are widely available as Thanksgiving mains. Just eat those and leave the tasty birds for the rest of us!

  4. verplanck colvin

    Ben,

    Using that cook’s illustrated recipe for the butterfly? I’m intrigued at this year’s super-crisp variety. I will be getting my bird from applecheek farm; counting on the heritage bird’s inherent goodness to eliminate the need for brining or smoking.

  5. I was actually planning on using this one because I was intrigued by the chile peppers: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/grilled-butterflied-turkey-with-caraway-ancho-gravy

    I’m getting both of my turkeys from Market Poultry at Eastern Market. I had one from there last year and one from Whole Foods. The Eastern Market one was definitely tastier. I thought about using South Mountain Creamery, but they deliver next week and I needed them by Sunday.

  6. The turkey is a noble bird you guys should be ashamed of yourselves. Learn to brine the thing and cook it properly. It aint rocket science. MMM Turkey!

  7. And look, even if one concedes that turkey is less tasty than alternative proteins, you’re mistaken if you think that the perfection of the taste of one element of a meal is the goal of a memorable and satisfying Thanksgiving. It ain’t. Never was and never will be. There’s not a kid alive who would sacrifice the sensation of tearing into a drumstick in favor of a tastier duck.

    Plus, what do you and Matt have in common? That’s right, you’re New Yorkers. You’d think such a foodie city would have at least a few people who know how to cook a turkey, but judging only from my six years living there, it’s as foreign as good Mexican food.

    So to repeat my previous point — you’re wrong. Suck it up and don’t be such an ass.

  8. I think Matt and Spencer may be thinking of the Thanksgiving Turkey solely from an eating perspective… while the commenters are thinking of it from a cooking/entertaining perspective.

    The fact that it has a pretty high degree of difficulty and is such a big investment in planning, time, energy, and money… is what makes it my favorite thing to cook. I like the challenge, and I like that it’s so traditional.

    I’m quite sad I’m not going to get to make one this year actually…. despite the fact that I’m substituting what might be my favorite dish of all time: cassoulet. It’s significantly more awesome than turkey, but it’s just not the same.

  9. And because I’d rather light a candle than curse the darkness, I direct you to “In Julia’s Kitchen With Master Chefs”, which has an excellent turkey leg recipe, only I forgot which chef does it. Basically, you de-bone the leg — but leave a little bit of the main bone just for show — and stuff the leg with a spiced forcemeat. You then wrap it in caul fat and roast it. It looks like a turkey leg, but then you cut into it and it is all that and so much more. I tried to find the recipe on the ‘tubes, but I have failed.

  10. I think it’s ok that your favorite T-giving dishes are not the turkey — you probably just never asked for the dark meat. That said, I think your solution last year (serve both turkey and pork loin) is vastly superior to hating on turkey. Other holidays don’t focus as much on the main dish because they have other symbols, but during Thanksgiving, the main dish is itself the symbol, a 20-lb behemoth bird standing in for a maybe-more-actually-traditional cornucopia.

    In the absence of a credible alternative to turkey, cook a smaller one and complement it with pork or tofurky (the taste of which I can only describe as ‘pleasantly intriguing’) or whatever. Cutting it out from the meal entirely, though, is criminal.

  11. You’d think such a foodie city would have at least a few people who know how to cook a turkey, but judging only from my six years living there, it’s as foreign as good Mexican food. So to repeat my previous point — you’re wrong. Suck it up and don’t be such an ass.

    Ahem, I’m NOT from New York, I’m from Texas and I know good Mexican food, thank you. And Spencer and Matthew are dead on: (farm-grown, not wild) turkey should not be consumed. It’s not meat, it’s couch stuffing and fuck all you Communists with your rigid conformity. You all probably worship Goldman-Sachs and thought invading Iraq was a great plan, and still think you were right! The WMD’s and the bailout money must be IN THE TURKEY!

    And because I’d rather light a candle than curse the darkness

    And further to that, I note (as always) that is traditional in some parts of quote Real Amaerican unquote, to have a chicken instead of a turkey.

    Cutting it out from the meal entirely, though, is criminal.

    Goddammit, Jesus sat down to the last supper and ate him up some dried-out old fried, smoked brined turducken and then he sat in the stadium unconscious while Detroit lost again. It says so in the Bible.

    max
    [‘Americans will always do the right thing, after they have exhausted all possible alternatives.’]

  12. max, I’m from Texas, too. I’ve had great turkey in Texas. I’ve had great Mexican food. I’ve had Mexican turkey. All of it was better than any turkey or Mexican food I had in New York. You wouldn’t countenance someone saying Mexican food sucks just because they lived in New York all their life, would you?

  13. This will be the first time in over 10 years that I won’t be frying a turkey for Thanksgiving. Why? The peanut oil has gotten way too expensive. Think I’ll have to try grilling this year.

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