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Remedial Thanksgiving: Just Put the F*cking Turkey in the Oven

1.Start drinking early.

2. Make sure your oven is on.

3. “Just Put the F*cking Turkey in the Oven”

4. Go for a walk.

And now, to make this item even more useful: The Butcher Carves a Turkey.

Ray Venezia, the manager of the meat department at New York’s Fairway Market, shows his technique for effectively carving a turkey.

And now, to make this item even more bizarre: Carving a Turkey with a .460 Magnum Elephant rifle.

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  • pbird November 23, 2017, 7:29 AM

    Its true. Turkey is not great. The gravy can be pretty good.

  • Mike Anderson November 23, 2017, 1:32 PM

    Smoked 12-pounder this year after marinating it overnight in some cheap white wine. Sliced it up just the way that New York butcher showed me. Ate it with giblet gravy and that recommended glass of wine. It was all great; you just need to learn how to cook that fractious bird. Not into cooking? Get some enterprising Cajun to deep fry a turkey for you and you’ll never complain again.

  • Eskyman November 23, 2017, 1:43 PM

    Tante Marie had some good advice there, but remembering back to the first time I ever cooked a turkey, a few hundred years ago (or so it seems)-

    She should have mentioned defrosting it first!

    (Yah, my first turkey was a disaster, but there was enough drinking going on that nobody minded much!) Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

  • Gordon November 23, 2017, 10:23 PM

    Ah, well, there were issues. The 21-lb beast wasn’t quite thawed. That’s not really a problem, but she insists on stuffing, not dressing, so there was no heat getting into the cavity. And, apparently the thing thawed asymetrically, so one drumstick was done! while the other needed patience. It was time to take action. Unstuff, remove cooked portions to expose uncooked, and cut the thing in half, roughly on the spine, so that it sat lower in the pan, allowing side dishes above it. It worked. We ate and it was good. She introduced a new cranberry sauce of her own invention and that was really good. The vegan chocolate cake purchased at some cost from the natural food store was really quite tasty, and the non-neurotics agreed.

    The reason for 21 pounds? It is because three households want leftovers. So, next year, I will roast a 12 pounder on Monday evening, and the meat, stuffing and gravy will be divided and bagged for takeaway. Then on the day, another 12-pounder, easily managed, becomes the meal.

  • Snakepit Kansas November 28, 2019, 5:45 AM

    Mike Anderson’s smoked turkey sounds fantastic!

    Mom and a friend that is considered family will join our crew today for Thanksgiving. I will serve wild turkey breast (shot it with my old Reminton 11-48) and noodles. As backup, I will bake four cornish hens. Mashed potatoes, skin on, and I’ll drop a brick of cream cheese and tub of sour cream just before mixing. Wife will make stir fry green beans. We have plenty of red wine.

    As for the .460WbyMag…that is a heavy duty cartridge. It is for recoil junkies only. Years ago while working overseas, single and was flush with cash, I told one of my gun range buddies back home in the US to go to the gun show and surprise me with something exotic and I would wire him the money. He picked out a Ruger #1 chambered in .458WinMag. Brutal recoil when I load 500gr. bullets. If the elephants ever escape the zoo and attack my house, I’ll be ready.

  • John The River November 28, 2019, 6:59 AM

    Happy and Safe Thanksgiving everyone!
    Not cooking this year, or drinking very much; being dragged off to my GF’s liberal families house for the day. And I have been told to shut up.
    I’ll do a small turkey for the two of us this weekend, lots of turkeys will be on sale Saturday.

  • Vanderleun November 28, 2019, 7:25 AM

    I’m in Chico watching the
    Grass Valley Weather
    for the level of snow that is falling and will fall…. too much now or later and I’m shut out of Thanksgiving at my brother’s house.

  • Andy Havens November 28, 2019, 7:45 AM

    Good luck getting to your brother. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • ghostsniper November 28, 2019, 9:52 AM

    Well our T-Day started out early with our oldest cat, Cameo – 17 years old, dying after doing poorly for the past couple weeks. After that I didn’t feel much like cooking anything. At 10am I started adjusting and at 10:45 the 7lb Honesuckle turkey breast went in the oven at 350. I’ll turn it 180 every 30 and in a few I’ll start basting it with melted butter infused with parsley, sage, and thyme. No rosemary on hand. The very thought of stuffing, like my mother made when we were kids, turns my stomach so it will be dressing, Pepperidge Farms. All the sides ingredients are lined up on the buffet counter ready to be prepared in their proper times. ETA about 5pm. Got a case of 16oz Buds in the bottom drawer of the fridge and they will be getting all starting about 3pm. Oh yeah, will finish up about 10pm with a slab of Kroger custard punkin pie about 4″ tall slathered in cool whip. Buuurp, blaaattt. If you’re feelin froggy come on by, but bring your appetite but leave the moon at home, unless you want to indian leg wrestle. Cameo will go to the crematorium tomorrow then she will sit in a custom hard wood urn I will make for her on the shelf on the stairway landing where all her brothers and sisters sit, and eventually me. 11 urns so far – starting to look like a shrine.

  • Teri Pittman November 29, 2019, 9:33 AM

    A friend invited me over for Thanksgiving, the year my husband died. She had a lot of folks over and was rushing around checking to see how things were coming along. About noon, she checked the turkey. And she discovered that her mom, who’d checked the turkey earlier in the morning, had accidentally turned off the oven. Upon learning this, one of the folks there said, “We’re going to need more wine.” and headed off to town.

    My friend hacked up the turkey and tried to cook it in the microwave. It was awful but we had more wine by then and were able to get by on the rest of the food there. I still like to kid her about it.

  • Snakepit Kansas November 26, 2020, 5:08 AM

    I enjoyed the hell out of the re-reads from last year. Happy Thanksgiving all!

  • M. Murcek November 26, 2020, 5:37 AM

    Always remember Justin Wilson’s advice (imagine Cajun accent) “Nevah cook with any kind of wine you cain’t drink!”

  • H November 26, 2020, 6:17 AM

    Mrs. and I are going to one of her friend’s house for dinner. Not sure what’s on the menu but she is a good cook so no worries there. Of more concern is that rat-bastard husband of hers. I’ll be thankful if I don’t shoot him before it’s over, but there will be wine so with any luck I can tolerate his sorry ass for a few hours. The crap you have to put up with to keep peace in your marriage………..

  • Anne November 26, 2020, 6:40 AM

    Dear Gerard:
    I am so grateful everyday for your words, your work, and your website.
    This one will be rough for you, but please know that many people are “siding with you” today.

  • Mary Ann November 26, 2020, 6:50 AM

    Hope all here have a wonderful day. Especially hope Gerard can get to his brother ‘s. In spite of everything, we have so much to be grateful for.

  • ghostsniper November 26, 2020, 7:42 AM

    H sed: “The crap you have to put up with to keep peace in your marriage………..”
    lol, ain’t that the truth!
    For 30+ years we’d gather at my MIL’s place for the grand slam and since my wifes whole fambly are mostly non-drinkers I’d always bring a 12 pack of Bud or Michelob. The first year, 1984, you’d a thought I was a bloodied axe murderer, the looks on their eyes. They got used to my barbaric ways.

    Just think, since the beginning of time these people never had gravy til I showed up that first year and innocently asked, “Where’s the gravy?”, honestly thinking I missed it in the huge line up. Nope, I didn’t miss it, it wasn’t there. My MIL was aghast, almost collapsed, and my wife nudged me and said they never had gravy. So I shut my ass and just chowed down on all the dry mess, warshing it down with Bud. The following year, and every year thereafter my MIL had a big vat of gravy ready and with beaming eyes she announced it outright for me.

    Check this out. Them people never eat the legs neither. WTF!?!? Again, they were horrified when I asked if I could wrap em and take em home. I tear the meat off the bone, eliminate the knuckle and other nasty shit, then I mince the meat real fine with a razor sharp knife, then I stir it in with some mayo and Frank’s hot sauce and spread it on wheat bread. Goddam that shit’s good!

    Then, back in 2008 my FIL died and sort of put a damper on things, and each subsequent year somebody else would bow out, then the MIL died a couple years ago. So for the past 3 years Thanksgiving has just been me and my wife here in our little crib in the woods. After 37 years we don’t argue no more as there are no power trips and nothing really to argue about. We’ll load up the plates and sit in front of the toob with some sort of well worn holiday themed DVD playing. She mentioned something about getting the christmas stuff out afterward but I’m not up for that so I’ll just stay out of her way. Note to self, make sure the bottom shelf of the fridge door is topped off with Bud.

  • Monty James November 26, 2020, 7:57 AM

    The holiday classic. I wish there were an animated children’s version.

  • EX-Californian Pete November 26, 2020, 9:02 AM

    To all- have a safe, healthy, and joyous Thanksgiving Day.

    I give thanks to God many times every single day, so today is just another opportunity to do so.
    But since it’s an official Holiday, I’ll be celebrating with the 2″ thick lb. buffalo steak I procured a few days ago, and a shot of the 28 year old single malt Scotch I keep around for special occasions.

    Of course, that will be after heading to my local outdoor range with a few black powder shootin’ irons to keep an old tradition going- my Colt Walker, ’58 Remington, ’51 Navy Colt, and a couple other items need to be “aired out” and put to good use.

  • BJM November 26, 2020, 9:25 AM

    @Ghost, Same thing here, The first year at the MIL’s Thanksgiving I brought a bottle Pinot…you wouldda thought I’d crapped on the table. When I pointed out that Jesus drank wine, she really got her back up. Ah the stupid bravery of callow youth. But I persisted and by year 4 every one including the MIL was very happy by the time the cannoli appeared.

    I too am very thankful for Gerard’s humor and insights. I just popped a bottle of Raphe Sauvignon Blanc for the turkey basting, I raise a glass to all!

    BTW- I hear Kraken were released today. We shall see.

  • Jack November 26, 2020, 10:04 AM

    Like Hemingway, more than any other thing I love the Fall. Best time of the year for getting away from damp Southern heat and humidity, bow hunting in the early Fall and serious hunting when the leaves begin to fall.

    But I don’t care for turkey either. This year all of our family plans were set on their heels when my wife contracted Covid and when our plan to have everyone come to my home was cancelled, we elected not to cook.

    In a perfect display of Southern behavior, my elderly neighbor prepared plates for each of us and delivered them this morning. Anticipating nothing for dinner tonite I slipped off to Popeye’s and picked up a bucket of chicken to serve as the evening meal and I’m really looking forward to it!

  • gwbnyc November 26, 2020, 4:13 PM

    vienna sausages and saltines, two quarts of Colt .45

    served under a freeway overpass

  • Annie Rose November 27, 2020, 7:07 AM

    My family loves our turkey dinners. The secret for us is just to get the turkey breasts, not the full bird, and then everything cooks evenly. I begin defrosting the turkey about 6 days out and check on it the day before cooking. That’s when I put a dry rub of a mixture of poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper on it and then wrap it up in Saran Wrap. The next day I just pop some sprigs of rosemary inside and baste it with some melted butter from time to time. It comes out perfectly and tastes very flavorful. I make my side dishes and pies the day before, because I want to have time on Thanksgiving Day to relax and enjoy my family. We have been blessed for 38 years of marriage to only have to travel to a big family gathering for 4 of those years early on, which is probably why we all love this holiday—no long drives, no cranky relatives, and no fighting. After 4 years of that nonsense, we decided that holidays were not going to be ruined by our highly dysfunctional families and visits with them would be at other times of the year. I do miss those large gatherings from my childhood, but I don’t miss the grumpy adults and complaints about who doesn’t like which food. Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving and Fall.

  • CC November 27, 2020, 2:43 PM

    Been injecting with Italian dressing and deep frying it for the las few years.
    Delicious & moist, like no baked one I ever had.
    No way in hell I’d ever o back to oven-baked – that’s for hams!

  • Milo Mindbender November 29, 2020, 7:18 AM

    I smoke turkeys in my generic big green egg over a bed of pecan shells. The buzzard gets brined for 4 days to shrink it down, then towel dried, and left open in the spare fridge to air dry. I build a charcoal fire, and cover it with pecan shells, set the turkey in and walk away, check it about every other hour to reload fuel as needed. 8 hourd later it is done, cool and carve.