Thanksgiving Files: Turkey, Turkey, Who Is Cooking The Turkey?

Spatchcock Turkey finish

This is the only way I’ve been preparing turkey since my first attempt. The only thing I changed up from that first time I prepared it, I skip the metal rack and instead place the bird on a bed of carrots, celery and onion. With the shorter cooking time, the flavor needs the boost the roasting veggies add.

From 2015:

Sometimes the scariest part of the Thanksgiving Dinner is the worry that the turkey will not turn out properly – undercooked, overcooked, dry, flavorless – and ruin the whole meal. I’ve cooked in bags, roasted, braised, fried, deboned – about everything but brine. I’m not a fan of brining. And still every year I worry.

This year I decided to try removing the backbone and flattening the bird, cooking it at a high temperature for a shorter cooking time. It seemed like it was fairly foolproof and stress free and the bird turned out great.

BTW, my recommendation is to always get two smaller birds instead of one massive bird – you’ll have a much better outcome with shorter cooking times. Not to mention not having to worry about fitting a huge bird in the oven. We usually do an oven bird, then grill, smoke or fry another.

For this recipe, a good set of poultry shears makes quick work of removing the backbone. I prepped the bird yesterday, wrapped it up and refrigerated it. This gave me time to make a nice broth from the backbone, giblets and neck last night (see notes below) and make the cranberry sauce, because it’s always better the next day.

Spatchcock Turkey Prep

Roasted Spatchcock Turkey

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 whole turkey (10-12 pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Rimmed baking sheet, rack

In a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, crush together pepper, salt, sage and rosemary and add to brown sugar. Set aside.

With a sharp knife or scissors, remove the back bone of the turkey, flip over and press down on the breast bone to break and flatten. I wasn’t quite strong enough, so I turned the bird over, scored the bone, flipped it back and tried again, this time it broke easily. I then trimmed off the wing tips. See my notes below on what to do with the back and wing tips.

Place the bird flat, breast side up, on the rack in the baking sheet. Rub with spice mix and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Before cooking drizzle olive oil over turkey and roast for 1 hour or until the temperature of the thickest part of the breast reaches 160 degrees. Remove from the oven, tent with foil and let rest for 30 minutes (during this time the bird temperature will reach 165 degrees and thighs should be 175 degrees).

Carve and serve.

NOTES: I took the back, wing tips, neck and giblets, covered them with water and simmered them for about an hour. I then used the broth for both the stuffing and gravy. I also cooked the stuffing in the oven, in a baking dish, uncovered, with the turkey. They finished up about the same time.

The next time I make this, I would forego the metal rack and instead use a roasting pan and place the bird on a bed of carrots, celery and onion. With the shorter cooking time, the flavor could use the boost. I do feel this is a great technique for wood grilling or smoking.

More Recipes: We have a bunch, a peck, a bushel, of Thanksgiving recipes, including my favorite Upside-Down Cranberry Cake (here), No Boil Mashed Potatoes (here), and Non-Traditional Sides (here), click on this link for all the other recipes.

How do you prep your Turkey? To brine or not to brine? My brother always smokes or fries our second bird and I’d love to try the spatchcock bird on the grill one time. What else will grace your table tomorrow? Open thread.

139 replies
  1. 1
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’m making a brisket.

  2. 2

    We go to a restaurant these days because my parents like to get out of town for the weekend, and after years of cooking for all ten million of us my mom is over it.

  3. 3
    Phylllis says:

    No brine. We do a turkey breast, split it in half and put it in a disposable roasting pan with chicken broth, salt, peppercorns, and rough-chopped onion and carrots. Cover with foil and cut slits in it. Cook on the grill on the indirect head side with the smoker box for about an hour and a half. Remove the foil and let cook for another 20-30 minute or so to crisp up the skin. Tastiest, juiciest turkey ever. My mouth is already watering thinking about it.

  4. 4
    TenguPhule says:

    Roast duck.

    Sashimi or Poke.

  5. 5
    Anonymous At Work says:

    Brine. Got a bucket, scrub it clean. Take a bunch of flavors, boil water, add salt/sugar and flavors, add to bucket, add ice to cool, add turkey to sit and get flavors next day~1.5 days. Easy.

  6. 6
    Spanky says:

    Every Thanksgiving at my sister’s is vegetarian. And every Thanksgiving has been at my sister’s for nigh on 20 years now, excluding trips to fading in-laws.

    But one of these days ….

  7. 7
    TenguPhule says:


    Every Thanksgiving at my sister’s is vegetarian.

    I’m so sorry for you.

  8. 8
    JustRuss says:

    Dry brining the bird tonight, if the damn thing’s thawed out, and getting up too damn early tomorrow to put it in the smoker. Happy damn Thanksgiving!

  9. 9
    Mnemosyne says:

    I forgot to tell my brother we would be coming, so he and his wife made their own plans since the kids are with his ex this year. That means that we get to go out to a nice restaurant nearby for Thanksgiving so I don’t have to cook. Hooray!

    I made the reservation online with a new place and they anxiously called me to make sure I knew that they would only be serving their special limited Thanksgiving menu. I reassured the nice man that that menu was what had gotten us to choose their restaurant, and we are all happy.

  10. 10
    Mnemosyne says:


    Could be worse — my BFF and her family had to go vegan for health reasons a few years ago. They went up to the Bay Area for Thanksgiving and presumably will have many choices for eating out that day.

  11. 11
    Eljai says:

    @Spanky: I’m going to a vegan restaurant with a friend. I’m not a vegan, but my friend is. On the bright side, I’m sure this will be better than the year I decided to experiment with a tofurkey.

  12. 12
    Miss Bianca says:

    My neighbor who’s invited me over for dinner.

    Also, I’m getting a turkey from my workplace, which has been pre-cooked (smoked at local butcher shop), so, plenty for leftovers! So I am bringing the home-made mead, and some squash. (Anyone got a boffo acorn squash recipe? Otherwise I’m just cutting it up into easy little pieces, drizzling it with olive oil and garlic and a bit of home-made brown sugar,baking it thus, and calling it good).

  13. 13
    Yutsano says:

    Honestly, I just love the term “spatchcock”. Mmm…Dutch.

    Mom takes possession of the kitchen at 6am tomorrow and we dare not enter unless specifically summoned or things are ready to go on the table.

  14. 14
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    What an asshole is thankful for this Thanksgiving, via WaPo:
    This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful Hillary Clinton is not president
    Marc A Thiessen

    This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for many things — but when it comes to politics, I am especially thankful that Hillary Clinton is not sitting in the Oval Office.

    I am thankful that Neil M. Gorsuch is on the Supreme Court and that President Trump has secured a conservative majority that will protect human life, religious liberty, the Second Amendment and limited government. I am also thankful the president is moving at record pace to fill the federal appeals courts with young conservative judges. While the Supreme Court only hears about 80 cases a year, the federal appeals courts get final say on about 60,000 — and because Democrats ended the filibuster, they can’t stop Trump from filling those courts with conservative legal rock stars. The Senate has already confirmed eight of Trump’s nine appellate nominees — the most this early in a presidency since Richard Nixon – and Trump will appoint plenty more before his first term expires. As former Clinton adviser Ronald A. Klain complained in The Post, “the next two generations of Americans will live under laws interpreted by hundreds of [Trump-appointed] judges.”

    That alone is worth it. But there is more to be thankful for.

    I’m thankful the New York Times’s Linda Greenhouse is complaining that Trump has appointed so many “individuals who have devoted their adult lifetimes to the anti-abortion cause” that federal agencies now resemble an “outpost of the National Right to Life Committee.”

    While Congress could not repeal Obamacare, I’m thankful that failure now makes passage of conservative tax reform more likely, because House and Senate Republicans know that failure to do so is political suicide. And I’m thankful we have a president who is ready to sign that tax reform into law.

    I’m thankful that Trump withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, is dismantling President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, clearing the way for the Keystone XL pipeline, and undertaking the largest regulatory rollback in the EPA’s 46-year history.

    I am thankful Trump has secured the release of American citizens imprisoned by China, North Korea, Egypt and the Taliban-linked Haqqani Network — without releasing senior Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay.

    I am thankful that Trump finally enforced Obama’s red line on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, took the shackles off of our military in the fight against the Islamic State, got NATO allies to kick in $12 billion more for our collective security, imposed new sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps , requested emergency funding for ballistic missile defense, declared North Korea a terrorist state, and sent a clear message to Pyongyang that it will not be permitted to threaten American cities with nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles. His foreign policy is far from perfect, but it is a marked improvement over the Obama-Clinton approach.

    Trump hasn’t ushered in a new era of American isolationism. And despite the dire warnings of creeping authoritarianism, there are no gulags in the United States today. Quite the opposite, there are plenty of checks on Trump’s power. Federal judges have narrowed his travel ban, blocked his cut of funding for sanctuary cities, and stopped his ban on transgender troops. He has not changed libel laws to go after a free press, restored waterboarding, or built his border wall. Heck, he could not even repeal Obamacare. Our system of Constitutional checks and balances works — in some cases, too well.

    The republic will survive the Trump presidency, and so will the Republican Party. I don’t buy the argument that Trump is doing irreversible damage to the GOP or the Republican brand. Nixon resigned in disgrace in 1974, and six years later we were inaugurating Ronald Reagan and then it was Morning in America again. If Trump does end up dragging the Republican Party down, all it takes is one great leader to resurrect it.

    In the meantime, I want Trump’s presidency to be a success. Trump was not my first choice for president (or my second . . . or third . . . or fourth), and I am well aware of his many deep flaws. When he is wrong, I have called him out and will continue to do so. But I want Trump to fill the courts with conservative judges, reform the tax code, take on North Korea, counter Iran, defeat Islamist radicalism, roll back the regulatory state, expand school choice, and protect the unborn. And I’m thankful that because of his election, we are making progress on these fronts — and that Clinton is hawking books for a living.

    That is something worth celebrating this Thanksgiving.

    Not one mention of Russia or voter suppression. And what a tool to think that you have to have “gulags” to live an authoritarian hellhole. It’s more subtle than that, usually. Look at Russia again. And sure the courts are halting Trump now. But he’s filling up the courts with crazy partisan right wing judges who will likely do his bidding. What of checks and balances than, Marc?

  15. 15
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Eljai: Tofurkey. *shudder*.

  16. 16
    dmsilev says:

    Chocolate cake and apple pie are both baked and done. Turkey has been cleaned; giblets have been used to make broth for the gravy (and some extra for the shepard’s pie we’re going to have with some of the leftovers in a couple of days. We decided to wait on prepping the vegetables for roasting until tomorrow. All that’s left for today is logistical stuff; need to make sure all of the serving dishes are at hand and cleaned, sufficient toys are on hand to keep my niece and nephew occupied if they get too distracted to sit at the table, etc.

  17. 17
    TenguPhule says:


    On the bright side, I’m sure this will be better than the year I decided to experiment with a tofurkey.

    Hope springs eternal.

  18. 18
    TenguPhule says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Tofurkey. *shudder*

    The other white meat-less!

  19. 19
    Brachiator says:

    From Lifehacker:

    There Is Only One Correct Time at Which to Eat Thanksgiving Dinner

    The right time to eat Thanksgiving dinner is 4pm.

    This gives the host enough time to prepare all the things they left until the last minute like the tossed salad no one wants and the cranberry sauce no one eats. It gives them enough time to decide at the last minute to make a green bean casserole because they’ve had a panic that there’s not going to be enough food.

    4pm allows those people who decided to wait to travel until Thursday—you know, the ones who were so smart they got their entire brood up at 4am to sit in traffic all day—enough time to get there.

  20. 20
    TenguPhule says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    Marc A Thiessen

    I will be thankful when Marc A Thiessen ceases to pollute the air we breathe. A day which can’t come soon enough.

  21. 21
    aimai says:

    We are doing this now:
    Turkey breast porchetta style
    rack of lamb with cilantro/lime/honey/jalapeno sauce
    sweet potatoes in lime caramel
    purple and orange carrots roasted with middle eastern spices and lemon
    stuffing with chestnuts
    roasted white and red onions, chestnuts, and roasted pears in balsamic vinegar
    roasted delicata squash
    fennel/celery/walnut/blue cheese salad
    brioche rolls with harissa powder
    crusty walnut pepper bread
    parsnip and coconut soup with crisp onions

    other vegan and vegetarian dishes my sister in law is bringing, plus she is bringing two desserts and I might make chocolate cake or chocolate pots de creme.

    Its a very mixed bag of dishes, complicated by the fact that everyone is a picky eater or has a food allergy, or wants some specific dish regardless of whether it all goes together (vegetarians, vegans, gluten free, prefers to avoid dairy, can be tempted, doesn’t like white meat, doesn’t like dark meat, etc…etc…etc…) I always feel like the appollo launch guys, can’t rest until takeoff and then waiting for an explosion and a crash right after.

  22. 22
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    He was born in 67, so be prepared to wait awhile.

  23. 23
    TenguPhule says:

    @Brachiator: The correct time to start Thanksgiving is Noon. It gives you four hours to eat and drink and another two to stagger home.

  24. 24
  25. 25
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Hey! I like the cranberry sauce, especially the kind out of the can.

  26. 26
    Raven says:

    Just had my first bite in 2 days and it just snapped or bit my line POW! We will do our annual us and the dogiiesvt-day.

  27. 27
    Spanky says:

    @aimai: Showoff.

  28. 28
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Are comments allowed on WaPo opinion pieces? Because I can’t find a comment section.

  29. 29
    aimai says:

    @Spanky: Yeah, I’m ashamed of myself. But I don’t have an off switch when it comes to cooking. We’ve been subsisting on hard boiled eggs and various things like soup or oatmeal with apples for the entire year so far because I’m too busy to cook. I didn’t want to do this at all–wanted to order it in or skip it–but we are still thanksgiving central for a few more years.

  30. 30
  31. 31
    TenguPhule says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: They are, its at the bottom and you have to be registered.

    Be warned, there are a lot of trolls there. A lot.

  32. 32
    TenguPhule says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: My man! Canned is superior to that recent fad of fresh cranberry sauce.

    Less sour, less acid.

  33. 33
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    I literally couldn’t see any place for comments. I’ve seen it before and read them but couldn’t on this piece

  34. 34
    Emma says:

    @aimai: Jesus. How many folk are descending on you?!

  35. 35
    The Moar You Know says:

    He was born in 67, so be prepared to wait awhile.

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: One year younger than me. Born Reagan Youth, as so many sad sacks my age were and are.

    I remember the fun days a decade ago when everything got blamed on the baby boomers. I always said “just wait until you see what a fucking clownshow Generation X is going to turn out to be”.

    We put Trump in office, flat out. You look at who voted for him, it was nursing home residents and Xers. I am in no way surprised. This Thiessen creep is a great voice for his generation of spoiled, coddled racist idiots.

  36. 36
    daveNYC says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Got any details on that?

  37. 37

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: It’s probably not that “no one eats” it so much as people eat a spoonful or two so the big bowl doesn’t appear to diminish.

  38. 38
    Miss Bianca says:

    @TenguPhule: yeah, I’m a canned cranberry sauce fan. I remember my mother’s experiments with making her own cranberry sauce. Let’s just say that formerly-frozen whole cranberries floating around in some dark ichor that had been sitting on the stove for an unknown quantity of time was…not particularly appetizing.

  39. 39
    Schlemazel says:

    Given that modern birds are already injected with 8-10% salt water, why brine?

    In interesting oddities Popeye’s offers a ready cooked cajun seasoned turkey. The 10-12 lb birds are deep fried & flash frozen you just thaw & heat. Might not be a bad emergency backup although at $40 they ain’t cheap.

  40. 40

    @Schlemazel: Because Alton Brown and Christopher Kimball say so.

  41. 41
    TenguPhule says:


    Given that modern birds are already injected with 8-10% salt water, why brine?

    Because you get a nice texture when it cooks and the spice’s flavor sinks into the meat itself that way.

  42. 42
    laura says:

    The eggs are boiled and peeled. All the shopping is done. Now, for the chopping -dressing, mushrooms for the green bean casserole. Pull the turkey stock from the freezer and get the roasting pan prepped. We got a 14lb turkey and with that small size it’s going straight in with nothing other than oiled and seasoned -but I do shove a stale loaf that’s had a wine soak into the cavity with fresh herbs.

    Here’s a treat that I hope you all enjoy:

  43. 43
    Jeff says:

    I do de-constructed Turkey from Julia Child with variations made over the years I’ve been do it.

  44. 44
    Seaan says:

    I usually brine the turkey, adding some bourbon or whiskey and various spices (juniper berries are a good one). Then we spatchcock (removing the breastbone as well to improve smoking), and smear the outside with butter, paprika, and garlic. Occasionally I inject a butter/bourbon sauce into the meat. I warm-smoke the turkey for a couple of hours, and finish it off with a higher temperature (love my Traeger). Hickory is one of my favorites hardwoods for turkey. This results in a tender and favorable turkey, and crispy skin (truthfully I am not the greatest fan of the skin, but others seem to like it). The smoke turns the turkey slightly pink, leaving a 1/2″ deep “smoke ring” on the outermost parts of the meat. Had a couple of people nervous about the color, until I pointed out it was on the outside (and hence the most thoroughly cooked part) of the turkey.

    Have not figured out the best pan for the smoker though. I am currently using a cooling-grill on top of a cookie sheet (not unlike the picture in the post) with the idea that it allows smoke to come in through the bottom, but still catches the drips. That seems to work OK, but sometimes the turkey sticks to the grill. I wonder if there is a way to cook with vegetables and allow the smoke to come through, roast and smoke at the same time, or would that counteract each other? Thinking of a covered roast pan with vegetables, but adding a smoke injector. Will have to experiment a bit with that.

  45. 45
    trollhattan says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:
    “Even the liberal Washington-Bezos-Amazon Post”

    My local rag, who should really know better, ran a Thiessen column a couple days ago entirely comprising why we need to investigate the Clintons NOW, RIGHT NOW! Stiff competition but he may be the least apologetic Bushite of them all. I’d club him with a piece of firewood in a heartbeat.

    Today’s guest Republican is Kathleen Parker spending an entire column clubbing Possum Queen, which is mo’ better.

  46. 46
    Raven says:

    @Jeff: butterflied?

  47. 47
    Spanky says:

    @aimai: Noooo! I was just joking! If I could manage all that, I’d be telling everyone too.

  48. 48

    No matter what you do to the turkey it is always ends up so so, because nothing can get rid of the peculiar (to me, at least) turkey smell.

  49. 49
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Yep. GenX sucks, and I know because I am one.

  50. 50
    Spanky says:

    Oddly enough, this is not from The Onion:

    Man finds car 20 years after forgetting where he parked it
    Elderly Frankfurt driver reunited with vehicle after reporting it missing to police in 1997

    (I did have to travel offshore to find it, though.)

  51. 51
    TenguPhule says:


    No matter what you do to the turkey it is always ends up so so, because nothing can get rid of the peculiar (to me, at least) turkey smell.

    Brined and Kiawe smoked turkey.

    It doesn’t smell like any turkey you’ve ever met.

    And it tastes delicious.

  52. 52
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Ha! No Thanksgiving dinner for us this year. I have been recruited for a Greaves School girls quiz team competing in the Boot and Shoe Pub tomorrow night. Can’t wait to see the girls tomorrow night. (Haven’t seen two of them for 40 + years). I shall be doing a steak for DH on Friday instead. Also, too, we booked our first vacation today! It’s only a short break to Edinburgh for three days but we got such a great deal, first class rail travel and two nights in a four star hotel with full breakfast. Leaving Monday morning after dropping Fran my Mum’s dog to her Sunday night (we are dogsitting for the weekend). We are having such a great time now we are home.

  53. 53
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    This is exactly how I do my turkeys too. It works on a charcoal grill and you can add smoke by tossing on a handful of soaked wood chips from time to time during the cooking process. Cooks faster, has a nice smokey flavor, and the oven space is preserved for any sides that need to be roasted. If it’s raining or snowing (I live in DC so snow is only a remote possibility) I do it in the oven, with a little broth in the bottom of the pan to keep the drippings from burning and some aromatic veggies as you specify. 14 lb turkey can be done in 2-2.5 hours on the grill and slightly faster in the oven if you are good about keeping the door closed.

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @daveNYC: I do. You’ll find it here:

  55. 55

    @TenguPhule: Are you inviting me for turkey dinner?

  56. 56
    HeleninEire says:

    I moved here Nov 16th of last year. One of my biggest surprises was how closed down the city is on Christmas. Another one was that they have Black Friday sales. There’s no Thanksgiving here.

    Fast forward. Was in a coffee shop two days ago. And there are a bunch of Americans laughing about Black Friday here. So it wasn’t just me!!


  57. 57
    Adam L Silverman says:

  58. 58
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: If you go to Rosslyn to see the chapel, make sure you go a couple miles down the road to Temple to see the cemetery of the ruined church. It has a number of alleged Templar burials.

  59. 59
    debbie says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I hear the Pilgrims were nuts for brisket.

  60. 60
    Steeplejack says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    Jeez, that made me sick to my stomach.

    Question: How does Thiessen rattle off his gigantic list of Trump accomplishments and then suddenly drop this?

    The republic will survive the Trump presidency, and so will the Republican Party. I don’t buy the argument that Trump is doing irreversible damage to the GOP or the Republican brand. Nixon resigned in disgrace in 1974, and six years later we were inaugurating Ronald Reagan and then it was Morning in America again. If Trump does end up dragging the Republican Party down, all it takes is one great leader to resurrect it.

    “He’s fantastic, but in case he’s a disaster it’s no big deal.” Schizophrenic.

  61. 61
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debbie: What is happening is tomorrow I will go to my brother’s and eat food prepared by people who think the food at IHOP is too spicy. I am bringing the cornbread stuffing/dressing and a chocolate pecan pie. The brisket is for me for Friday.

  62. 62
    Karen Potter says:

    Just dog and I but couldn’t resist the price of fresh turkey; so did it the way Grandma taught me, got out my Nesco and slow roasted for hours; moist and juicy even the dratted breast that will make into soup. The years I did wild turkey it took longer and used fruit juice to keep moist and tender.

  63. 63
    The Moar You Know says:

    “He’s fantastic, but in case he’s a disaster it’s no big deal.”

    @Steeplejack: Voters have indicated time and again that GOP politicians can shit the bed in the worst way possible and they just simply don’t care.

    That Dems are held to any standards at all given the pass that the GOP is given on everything up to and including treason is infuriating, but it’s the reality of the situation.

  64. 64
    Yutsano says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Not sure whether to laugh or cry…

  65. 65
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steeplejack: Shows just how much of an authoritarian Thiessen is. All we need to fix whatever mess is made is one great leader.

  66. 66
    Steeplejack says:


    Omigod! Antifa!

  67. 67
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yutsano: Why not both?

  68. 68
    debbie says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Take some hot sauce or something with you for flavor.

  69. 69
    Eric S. says:

    I have the toughest job for Thanksgiving. I’m the wine guy. I have to go to the local wine shop for the near weekly free tastings to choose the wines for the holiday. Worse, WORSE!, I have to do it all over again for Christmas Eve.

    It is quite a burden but one I shoulder for my loved ones.

  70. 70
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    What is happening is tomorrow I will go to my brother’s and eat food prepared by people who think the food at IHOP is too spicy.


  71. 71
    Corner Stone says:

    @Karen Potter:

    The years I did wild turkey it took longer and used fruit juice to keep moist and tender.

    What kind of fruit juice mixes with Wild Turkey? Apple?

  72. 72
    Raven says:

    @Steeplejack: anti-uv’s !

  73. 73
    Corner Stone says:

    That North Korean defector dude was *determined*.

  74. 74
    scav says:

    Turkey Turkey Who Is Cooking The Turkey?

    Aren’t we all really really hoping that Mueller is the busy little chef in charge of the rising heat?

  75. 75
    bystander says:

    I’m thankful that the woman Joe Barton was sexting is threatening to release video of him pleasuring himself, and I will never have to see it. But I will enjoy immeasurably the knowledge of his total humiliation.

  76. 76
    Yutsano says:

    @TenguPhule: I mean if the cook snuck a little cayenne into the batter maybe. Or not cooked long enough to convert all the leavening so there’s a small touch of sharpness on the tongue.

    Other than that I got nothin’.

  77. 77
    Eric S. says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    Hey! I like the cranberry sauce,


    especially the kind out of the can.


  78. 78
    Mike J says:

    Today’s the day to confit your legs.

    The turkey’s legs.

    Your turkey legs.

    I just put a gingerbread cake in the oven.

  79. 79
    Schlemazel says:

    They are wealthy enough to buy designer birds that don’t get injected, and they are wrong

    Not in my experience & the salt water has a tendency to make the bird spongy.

  80. 80
    smintheus says:

    @bystander: Speaking of humiliation, how humiliating must it be for Rand Paul to have his wife publicly expressing shock that it hurts him to breathe with cracked ribs. Does he not talk to his wife, or is it really possible an MD doesn’t know how the thoracic system works?

  81. 81
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: It is what it is.

  82. 82
    Schlemazel says:

    @Corner Stone:
    I like orange the most although apple is not bad

  83. 83
    Schlemazel says:

    HA! My son’s in-laws would be right at home,they think catsup is too spicy and are deeply suspicious of any food that does not come out of a can or a box

  84. 84
    FlyingToaster says:

    Pick up a fresh Turkey on Tuesday (morning/midday).

    Brine in one of these. For our size turkey (17.5lb), this is 2.5 gallons of water and 5 cups of Diamond Kosher salt. Fill a Ziploc Gallon bag with ice and rest on top; use God’s fridge (the porch) to keep the cooler from overheating.

    Wednesday (morning/midday), empty and rinse the jug, rinse the turkey, and dry off both. Place some papertowels in the bottom, then a gallon bag of ice; then the turkey, and another gallon bag of ice on top. Back to the porch.

    Thursday morning, load the cooler jug in the minivan along with the rest of our contribution, 1 WarriorGirl, 1 HerrDoktor, and 1 FlyingToaster and head up to Marblehead for dinner with my SIL, her husband and 5 sons. Plus any random hangers on. Roast per “The Best Recipe” unstuffed turkey protocol, but add Herb Butter under the breast skin because that’s the only part that might dry out otherwise.

    Dinner this year seems to be turkey, pizza stuffing, another stuffing, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted root vegetables, cranberry sauce, brioche rolls, cornbread, HerrDoktor’s gravy, brownies, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie.

    We also have a friendsgiving on Saturday, again with turkey.

    Christmas looks like it’s going to be a brisket. Heh.

  85. 85
    KithKanan says:

    @Schlemazel: We’re going with one of the Popeyes turkeys for the Friendsgiving I’m taking part in tomorrow, so I guess I’ll see how it is. We’ve kind of joked about it for a few years now but they’d always been sold out by the time we asked our local store. Either they’ve massively scaled up their supply this year or demand has gone way down.

  86. 86
    debbie says:

    @Eric S.:

    I agree! I hope I can make it early enough that it will begin to gel.

  87. 87
    Brachiator says:


    Speaking of humiliation, how humiliating must it be for Rand Paul to have his wife publicly expressing shock that it hurts him to breathe with cracked ribs. Does he not talk to his wife, or is it really possible an MD doesn’t know how the thoracic system works?

    Paul is a doctor of Ophthalmology.

    Also, according to the Wiki:

    Paul let his own ABO certification lapse in 2005, which did not affect his practice in Kentucky, since the state does not require board certification.

    Libertarian values, I guess.

  88. 88
    sharl says:

    If you’re a fan of Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” – long an annual Thanksgiving Day tradition for radio stations I tend to like – the image of an old local newspaper notice attached to this tweet might be of interest

    52 years ago (Nov. 29, 1965), The Eagle printed a little article about two young men being fined $25 for dumping trash. Little did we know at the time that the incident, which ran on page 25, would become the basis for Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant. Here's our original story:— Berkshire Eagle (@BerkshireEagle) November 22, 2017

  89. 89
  90. 90
    JMG says:

    Our turkey is very traditionally roasted, with the oyster stuffing inside. It’s what my grandmother made for my dad, what Mom made for us and what I make for my family. It doesn’t dry out if you’re careful and baste very frequently. Grilling not really a Thanksgiving option in New England. Interestingly, my daughter who lives in Bordeaux was one of the co-hosts of a Thanksgiving party Sunday and she roasted the turkey. She said that French turkeys have much bigger legs and smaller breasts than American ones, and hence cook more evenly and are very moist indeed. I thought such a bird would take longer, but she said, no, it went faster, coming out of the oven to rest when one of the guests was still shucking oysters for their first course.

  91. 91
    Schlemazel says:

    I’m intrigued, please let me know how it goes.

    They have managed to breed all the flavor out of poultry so they need something to liven them up.

  92. 92
    Waratah says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I love our Texas brisket smoked barbecued with mesquite wood. I have always wanted to try one like your version but they always want the fat trimmed and I thought it would not be as moist or tender. I have saved your recipe, thank you.

  93. 93
    JR says:

    @Schlemazel: depends on what bird you buy — a butterball is injected but it’s essy enough to buy one without.

  94. 94
    NCSteve says:

    Well, add Theissen to the “Kompromat” column of the “Raging Asshole or Kompromat” whiteboard.

  95. 95
    Shakti says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I am offended that demographers place me in the same group as this guy. He was old enough to vote for Reagan; to me Reagan was “that old guy on tv.” (My parents were not politically involved.) The internet really took off in a big way during my adolescence. My first presidential election was in 2000, which was goddamn traumatic.

    But mostly I’m just confused. I don’t fit into these generational buckets anyways.

    I have a cousin born in ’68 and he always functioned like a really young uncle to me. I have aunts and uncles born in the very early 70s-’60s.

  96. 96
    The Moar You Know says:

    Speaking of humiliation, how humiliating must it be for Rand Paul to have his wife publicly expressing shock that it hurts him to breathe with cracked ribs.

    @smintheus: I broke four ribs in a nice neat line a few years back. Hurt like hell. Since I was poor back then, I kept going to work. I did not miss a single day. I couldn’t afford to. Paul is a fucking wimp. Having never respected him, I can’t say I respect him less, but if that were possible I would.

    Yeah, it fucking hurts. Now get up and go to work, Rand, you jerk.

  97. 97
    FlyingToaster says:


    They are wealthy enough to buy designer birds that don’t get injected, and they are wrong.

    Not wealthy, I just buy either direct from the farm or order via my local greengrocer who buys direct from the farm. The farm turkey doesn’t come with a popup indicator, either.

    This lets you have a custom brine — the aforementioned bourbon brines, for instance. Or for a smaller bird, to salt it. Basically, it puts your chef* in control, instead of your grocer.

    * Chef in this case is HerrDoktor and his sister. I’m a baker and sous-chef and quartermaster.

  98. 98
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Waratah: You trim the fat after cooking, so you’re not serving it with a big hunk of fat on top of each slice. But everyone has their preferred method. And I’m a big fan of a properly smoked brisket.

  99. 99
    KithKanan says:

    @Shakti: I know the feeling. I was born in ’81 and while I was always called “Generation Y” at the time I seem to have been retconned into Gen X.

    Makes no sense to me — I was an early Internet adopter and so I have a lot more in common with early Millennials than with most people even a couple years older than me. Where I begin to feel a real generational divide is with people born after about 1992.

  100. 100
    The Moar You Know says:

    My first presidential election was in 2000, which was goddamn traumatic.

    @Shakti: Mine was 1984, I win the trauma sweepstakes forever. Hell, it’s amazing I kept voting.

    I am offended that demographers place me in the same group as this guy.

    The elections people don’t. They actually split GenX, and for several good reasons. My sister is close to your age, your cohort voted in profoundly different ways than the elder Gen Xers did. Namely, your age cohort goes overwhelmingly for Dems, mine overwhelmingly for Republicans. Combining that data is useless, so they’ve split it up.

  101. 101
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: Not even interested in reading that nonsense. Who cares what he’s thankful for?

  102. 102
    smintheus says:

    @The Moar You Know: I hear you. I fractured or bruised a rib the first day of 5th grade, so I read a first aide book, taped it up and told nobody. It almost seems like everything about Rand Paul is contemptible.

  103. 103
    bruce.desertrat says:

    Brined, using Alton Brown’s recipe, never fails…

  104. 104
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Miss Bianca: Thankfully, for those who are vegan (like my Hubby), there are many alternatives to Tofurkey, if you’re so inclined.

  105. 105
    sharl says:

    @The Moar You Know: I remember the fun days a decade ago when everything got blamed on the baby boomers.

    Speaking as someone born smack-dab in the middle of the Boomer demographic, and who follows a lot of Millennials on twitter, I can assure you those Youngs still trash my generation, which is usually fine by me. Everyone deserves some space to vent, and they get points in my book if they’re creative and funny when doing it.

    Of course, with 280 characters they’ll now be able to easily fit both Boomers and Gen-Xers in their rants; yay.

  106. 106
    tybee says:

    @Corner Stone:

    What kind of fruit juice mixes with Wild Turkey?

    all Wild Turkey needs is a couple of ice cubes.

  107. 107
    Origuy says:

    @Mnemosyne: I have a vegan friend who is a regular at Merit Vegetarian (all vegan) in Sunnyvale. I think they’re open on Thanksgiving, if you talk to your friends. I eat there with her and have liked almost everything.

  108. 108
    jacy says:

    I’m not allowed to deviate from the traditional — my kids would mutiny. I think because the continuity is comforting: at least some things never change. So roasting the turkey (with butter and Tony Chacheries seasoning), mashed potatoes and gravy, two kinds of green beans (don’t ask), sweet potatoes, my grandmother’s prairie stuffing, homemade rolls, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. This year I’m also making corn pudding. Then on Friday I’ll make turkey and noodles with the carcass.

    My prep is thankfully almost done — just waiting for the last for the rolls to come out of the oven!

  109. 109
    sharl says:

    If true, it looks like the arsonist is returning to the scene of his crime; the property is now a steal! And if he can get it, he can have his way with it.

    Peter Thiel May Be Looking To Buy

    Lawyers for the Silicon Valley billionaire filed a motion in court on Wednesday to challenge a provision that prevented him from buying the assets of the now defunct That move lays the groundwork for a possible bid for the website and its archive.

  110. 110
    bystander says:

    @smintheus: Yes, fun to contemplate how much pain Rand is in, and no photos of his genitalia involved.

  111. 111
    Schlemazel says:

    @Patricia Kayden:
    Until I recovered from the radiation, turkey was too dry & I tried all sorts of alternatives. Most tasted awful but a couple were actually pretty good as long as you were not expecting turkey. There is a vegan butcher shop in Minneapolis and I classify their stuff into 3 categories, stuff that does not taste good at all, stuff that tastes really good but nothing like the thing it is supposed to replace & stuff that tastes good and like the stuff it is replacing. I quite like some of it but would not serve any of them to company unless I had tried it ahead of time.

  112. 112
    Avi says:

    In years past, my grandmother would cook a turkey breast in the microwave (surprisingly good and done in less than 90 minutes). My mother and I would contribute minimal-effort mashed potatoes, dressing, steamed vegetables, and a bottle of Columbia Valley Riesling. Being together was what was important.

    But since last Thanksgiving, my grandmother is no longer with us (fuck Alzheimer’s), and I became a pescetarian. So this year, I’m doing all the cooking, and panko-crusted tilapia (not microwaved) is replacing the turkey breast. I had originally intended to make the dressing from a loaf of home-baked bread (recipe), but I overestimated my household’s ability to leave a loaf of bread untouched. (It was delicious with slow-cooker vegetable soup, though.)

  113. 113
    StringOnAStick says:

    Ugh, Tofurkey or the excreable “Field Loaf”. We used to get invited to vegan Thanksgiving until we learned to have a ready excuse or be out of town. Both of those just taste like salt and give me acid reflux something fierce, which nothing else I eat ever does. I don’t get the “fake meat” thing. Don’t like meat? Own it, celebrate it, get your guilt-free vegan-ness on, but stop with the fake meat ultra-processed salt-packed weirdness; it does no one any good.

  114. 114
    sharl says:

    It’s a shame good stuff like this is coming out on a day when fewer people will see it: Mark Halperin Poisoned Our Politics

    But when I arrived, I became aware there was a new don of Washington, one whose rules I would have to master. His name was Mark Halperin. He ran a chummy daily political newsletter, The Note, from his perch as political director of ABC News.

    The Note purported to reveal Washington’s secrets. In fact, its purpose was the exact opposite: to make the city, and US politics, appear impossible to understand. It replaced normal words with jargon. It coined the phrase “Gang of 500,” the clubby network of lobbyists, aides, pols, and hangers-on who supposedly, like the Vatican’s cardinals, secretly ran DC. That wasn’t true — power is so diffuse. But Halperin claimed he knew so much more than we did, and we began to believe it.

    Once you believe that, it’s not hard to be convinced that politics is only comprehensible, like nuclear science, to a select few. There were those chosen ones — the people who’d flattered Halperin to get a friendly mention in his newsletter, the ones he declared to be in the know — and the rest of us. Halperin wrote about Washington like it was an intriguing game, the kind that masked aristocrats played to entertain themselves at 19th-century parties: Everyone was both pawn and player, engaged in a set of arcane maneuvers to win an empty jackpot that ultimately meant nothing of true importance.

    At the same time, The Note made it seem that tiny events — a cough at a press conference, a hush-hush convo between Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell in a corridor — held apocalyptic importance. Cloaked in seriousness, with the imprimatur of Peter Jennings’ ABC News, in reality The Note was not news but simple gossip.

  115. 115
    Miss Bianca says:

    @StringOnAStick: Ah, I’ll bet you don’t drink decaf either! Fully leaded or nothing, ya wimps!/

    How are kitties enjoying their first Thanksgviing?

  116. 116
    NotMax says:


    Hear hear!

    Same goes for ‘tastes just like, my aunt Fanny’ abominations such as (random example) Weight Watchers chocolate mousse.

  117. 117
    geg6 says:

    My sister usually makes the turkey but uses my brining recipe with the usual water and salt and adding strips of orang zest, sprigs of rosemary, a little maple syrup and bourbon. It makes a killer, moist and tasty bird. The trick is to rinse it well, inside and out, and pat he skin as dry as possible. She’ll also be making appetizers and the mashed potatoes and gravy.

    I think I mentioned the other night that I’m bringing my world famous roasted carrots (roasted in butter, olive oil, sea salt and honey) and roasted asparagus with a pepper, lemon and Parmesan sauce, which is a sort of Hollandaise sauce but much, much easier.

    Younger sister is making a sweet potato, cashews and peaches casserole and mac and cheese. BIL got the pumpkin pies somewhere in Sewickley, so probably a high end version. He got two because my birthday is Friday and pumpkin pie is my favorite thing of all time, so I get one all for myself.

  118. 118
    Mary G says:

    I am getting slammed with ads from FaceBook touting their “Action Plan Against Foreign Interference,” saying they are hiring 10,000 people to help strengthen enforcement, committed to cooperating across the industry and more transparency. Am I wrong to be skeptical and think that a lot more damaging information about them taking money from Russia to throw the election to Trump is coming out soon? I hear the sound of shoes dropping.

  119. 119
    StringOnAStick says:

    @Miss Bianca: They’re currently enjoying the best toy ever, a wadded up piece of note paper. Perfect to carry from room to room, yet bouncy when slapped by tiny paws! I’m so glad we got two kittens together, they entertain each other and they weren’t freaked out to go to a new home since they had each other. Now I need to go put together the cat cube condo I got for them yesterday. The list of contents helpfully notes that it does not include a cat, which must be supplied by the buyer.

  120. 120
    TomatoQueen says:

    @jacy: Prairie stuffing?

  121. 121

    @Mnemosyne: But Boomers are the worst generation ever! I’ve read that right here at Balloon Juice.

  122. 122
    The Moar You Know says:

    I am getting slammed with ads from FaceBook touting their “Action Plan Against Foreign Interference,” saying they are hiring 10,000 people to help strengthen enforcement, committed to cooperating across the industry and more transparency. Am I wrong to be skeptical and think that a lot more damaging information about them taking money from Russia to throw the election to Trump is coming out soon? I hear the sound of shoes dropping.

    @Mary G: You are not wrong. The Russian presence in the cyber world prior to the election was ubiquitous and overwhelming. They were on this site in droves. As for Facebook, not only was their presence everywhere, but Facebook damn well knew what they were doing. And chose to remain silent and do nothing.

    Close your Facebook accounts, people. You’re literally helping the GOP (and Russia) if you don’t.

  123. 123
    NotMax says:

    BTW, a 74th birthday shout out to Billie Jean King.

  124. 124
    Miss Bianca says:


    The list of contents helpfully notes that it does not include a cat, which must be supplied by the buyer.

    Really? LOL!

  125. 125
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    I’m grilling mine. I’m using a dry brine which is just sprinkling the bird all over, inside and out with a mixture of salt and baking powder. Supposedly the baking powder promotes crispier skin. I’ve spatchcocked and grilled turkeys before and can confirm that you get excellent results. It cooks long enough to get a nice, but not overwhelming, smoky flavor if you thow handfulls of soaked wood chips on periodically. For a summer solstice party this summer I did it with a BBQ spice rub and it was a real hit.

  126. 126
    Karen Potter says:

    @TenguPhule: how can you even eat canned? When you can get almost as good as from the farm stand down the road by buy fresh; if you want on sweeter side cook with fresh pineapple.

  127. 127
    Tazj says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: I will be thankful when Trump and his minions take a perp walk on national television. Wow, reading that was just infuriating, but I do know Republicans that feel the same way. As long as they get their tax cuts, who cares what else happens? I know it’s unlikely that he goes to jail, but I feel fairly confident he will be out of office by 2020 and in the future few people will readily admit they voted for him.

    I get to be lazy on Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law who is a wonderful cook takes care of everything. I just have to bring chairs for my family.

  128. 128
    TenguPhule says:

    @Karen Potter:

    how can you even eat canned?

    Quite easily. Its smooth, mellow and doesn’t have those annoying skins that get stuck in your teeth.

  129. 129
    Karen Potter says:

    @Corner Stone: are you talking the bird or the booze? I experimented since one year I raised turkeys and had a dozen birds survive the foxes and coyotes. I really liked the cranberry/blueberry that local market carried. But most of time I used my own apple juice, I do have to say that fermented cider left the bird nice and tender but didn’t have apple undertones.
    The only thing bad about wild turkey or home grown is that you can’t stuff them; I know some that swear by cooking at high heat but I always thought it left the bird on dry side, good thing they also made lots of gravy for mashed potatoes

  130. 130
    Karen Potter says:

    @Mike J: I did a ginger bread cake and added chopped crystallized ginger to it; surprisingly ex’s family loved it and they hated it when I tried something new on them.

  131. 131
    Karen Potter says:

    @TenguPhule: I freeze cranberries and then grind them before cooking; Grandma had all kinds of ways of cooking cranberries but then she lived down the road from bogs and they were cheap!

  132. 132
    Karen Potter says:

    The only “bad” thing about wild turkey is there is no big white breast meat and they cook more like a goose than anything; one year I did both a goose and a wild turkey, no white meat to be seen.

  133. 133
    Karen Potter says:

    @Avi: there is a secret to having home made bread for stuffing, you either feed it to your family all year long so they don’t completely devour what you planned to use for stuffing or you make big batch of bread and hide half the loaves.

  134. 134
    Karen Potter says:

    This almost makes me feel old, Grandma had a big tin that we put heels of bread, dried out bread and just plain forgotten and left out bread in; we cubed each as it went in and when it was full we made stuffing. She didn’t always use it with poultry, but I always thought the flavor of stuffing was best when cooked with poultry juices. Then there was the best part, left over stuffing; I liked it cold, but Grandpa like it sliced and fried in butter.

  135. 135
    Mnemosyne says:


    Grilling not really a Thanksgiving option in New England.

    It depends on your grill and your personal fortitude. One of my uncles used to grill the turkey for Christmas in Chicago. I think he had a gas grill, though.

  136. 136
    Mnemosyne says:


    You guys know what you did. 😈

  137. 137
  138. 138
    smintheus says:

    @Karen Potter: Well, plucking a wild turkey is a bit of a nightmare.

  139. 139
    laura says:

    @Karen Potter: I’m with grampa.
    Grease cans. If you’re poor, or come from poor folks, the grease can was a source of flavor and calories and so much more.

Comments are closed.