I’ve never been afraid of going off-script when it comes to making holiday dinners – or any dinner for that matter, and this year I’m going Full Metal Jacket on my family. I have no idea what that means, but what I am trying to say is that I’m not making a turkey for Thanksgiving this year.
I’m making a turkey roast. More specifically, a Turketta: a deboned, hand-rolled, and tied whole turkey.
The last time I roasted a mini pterodactyl was in 2019, and I lost. That fateful night, I proclaimed that I’d never do it again and I meant it. The problem? Nooks and crannies that don’t cook evenly, bones sticking out, uncooperative joints, dry parts, moist parts, and the inane “Is that juice or blood?” guessing game. Let the bird rest, but not too much rest or it gets cold. Not enough rest and all the juice runs out. Fiddlefuck!
I will never again try to figure out if a Frankenstein’s monster of a carcass is thoroughly cooked in all the right parts and not overcooked in the wrong parts. I’m done trying to wrangle a steaming, slippery roasted disaster of the bird world. In 2019, I took the damn thing out too early, started carving, saw pink, put it back in, took it out again, continued carving, and possibly even put it back in a third time. I really don’t remember anything but the literal blanket of f-bombs I laid down as my poor sister-in-law tried to help me wrestle the devil poultry into submission. I was laughing, I was cussing, I was sweating, and I was probably half in the bag as we desperately tried to position ourselves to prevent the family from seeing what the fuck was going on over by the sink. In fact, I’m almost positive I heard my 80-year-old aunt say, “What the fuck is going on over by the sink?”
When I finally got to my seat, I made a toast: “Thanks for coming. Take a picture of that de-winged, nogginless bastard because it’s the last one you’ll ever see in my house.”
I don’t even like turkey. I’d rather have a roast chicken from Costco on my holiday table than a turkey. A few years before Turkageddon, I made a boneless prime rib roast, and it was amazing. A big rectangle-shaped slab that sits completely stable while you slice perfectly uniform slices: straight down, no bones, no joints, no secret compartments.
Since I’m hosting this year, I’ve been anticipating “the call.” Last week, it happened: My mom phoned me to tell me that Butterball turkeys were on sale at the local grocery store. I listened and then delivered the news.
“Well, I’m not making a whole turkey this year. I’m making a turkey roast.”
“Oh. A turkey roast?”
“Yes. It’s a whole turkey, no bones. Light and dark meat, all wrapped in skin and tied up for roasting, It’s going to be really good.”
“Ok, I’m sure it will.”
“I’m done with turkeys.”
“Oh, how come?”
“Because they’re stupid, mom. And also, I hate them. I’m tired of dealing with elbows and knees. Which end is the asshole? Which end is the neck? And also, I don’t want a body cavity on my table. It’s all just too much.”
Now she was laughing, which was a good sign.
“It’s going to be really good. I promise.”
One by one I’ve been telling my family what the plan is. My kids don’t really care. They know everything I make is good. Plus, they’re all in their twenties so a homecooked meal is a homecooked meal. I can’t wait to pull out of the oven, not one, but two Turkettas, stand in full view of my fifteen guests, and proudly slice those beautiful rectangles of turkey love.
Turketta image Good Eggs and RoliRoti, Oakland, CA
Originally published at www.lisalucke.com
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