Thanksgiving Thursday – The Turkey From Hell

There was a time when, if you suggested I change my Thanksgiving menu, you’d have been met with flaming crosses and cries of, “Heretic!!”

It simply wasn’t done.

My mother had made the same menu for as long as I could remember, and my grandmother before her.  Actually, now that I think about it, they usually joined forces and made it a team effort – I seem to be the only member of the family crazy bullheaded masochistic independent enough to cook the entire damn thing by myself.  I won’t kid you, though – I LOVE it.  Really, I do.

The first sign of Turkey Day Dissention came the year I met Beloved.  His family had traditions too – imagine that!  And since I’d rather put my own eyes out with a red-hot poker than eat oyster stuffing (or oyster anything, for that matter), I decided some compromise was in order.  We kept my grandmother’s cornbread dressing, pumpkin pie and pecan pie recipes and found new recipes for everything else.

Because my kitchen ain’t no democracy.

Honestly, though, I’m glad I began exploring new holiday recipes and you’ll see why when I get to my mother’s sweet potato recipe.  Besides, if I hadn’t, I’d never have tried The Turkey From Hell.

I don’t think Beloved and I had been dating for too long when he bought me Eat Dangerously by Benjamin Lewis and Rodrigo Velloso.  I was immediately captivated – not only are the recipes absolutely delicious, it is a wickedly funny read.  It has a manifesto, for crying out loud – how many cookbooks have you ever owned that contain their own manifesto?  At any rate, it was the first step on a journey that changed the way I not only cook, but perceive, Thanksgiving dinner.  I can’t and won’t reproduce the recipe here – not only for copyright reasons, but because I’ve made my own changes over the years.  It is on their website and I do encourage you to take a look at the recipe as it was originally written.  If it doesn’t make you laugh out loud, it will surely change the way you look at turkey.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

The Turkey from Hell

1 minimally processed turkey – nothing that’s been “injected”, so Butterball is out
Single malt scotch – I prefer Dalwhinnie, a marvelous and delicate 15-year-old, but Aberlour works well too
Olive oil
Tarragon or rosemary, depending on your tastes; freshly minced preferred, but dried is acceptable
Roasting bag
Aromatic vegetable scraps (carrots, onions, celery, etc.)
1 needle and syringe

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Rub the turkey with olive oil; sprinkle the tarragon or rosemary over the bird.

Using the needle and syringe, inject the turkey with 1/2 cup of scotch in various locations.  Throw in some of the herb of choice, then truss the cavity. Place a tablespoon of flour in the roasting bag and shake it all around.  Place the turkey in roasting bag with the vegetable scraps and place it in a large roasting pan.

Roast until the internal temperature is 165 F.

3 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours for a bird weighing 16 – 20 pounds.

4 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours for a bird weighing 20 – 24 pounds.

Or call the Butterball people; they have a toll free number and work on Thanksgiving.

13 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Thursday – The Turkey From Hell”

  1. Like you, I am crazy and cook the whole darn meal myself. I start at some ungodly hour and love every minute of the day.

    I’ve not heard of using scotch, but it sounds perfect.

    Going to read the manifesto now…

    tricias last blog post..Seeking an Education

  2. hahah quality gotta check this book out. Mmmm Whisky in turkey… not something I’ve tried before. I did use to rub maple syrup on the skin to make it crispy and sweet, but maybe not everyone likes the skin… hmmm Actually that was chicken. What am i talking about? “My kitchen is not a democracy”- have YOU got a kitchen manifesto? great line…

    SSGs last blog post..Opinions and advice needed…

  3. Ooooo, I’m with TC, I’m sitting here at my desk drooling on my keyboard. I’m afraid of electocuting myself. I guess I should add that to the list of things I’m afraid of ;).

    Great recipe. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get the Scotch into the house past the booze detector installed at the front door, but I sure wanna try…

    goodfathers last blog post..Spin Cycle: Nothing To Fear

  4. She isn’t taking enough credit here. Ben and Rodrigo’s original recipe just called for scotch (might have been even cheap scotch). That is until Jan emailed them insinuating that they weren’t living up to their own manifesto – I seem to recall a line similar to “Friend’s don’t let friends drink blends”. Not only did they both reply (with witty retort) to her email, their recipe has forever changed to specify “expensive” and “old” when referring to the scotch.

    If you haven’t read the recipe – it’s a HOOT – the whole book is great.

    Any wild guesses about who gets to “equitably” massage Tom’s breasts every year?

  5. I forgot to mention that Ive had the pleasure of experiencing the Turkey from Hell on several occasions, along with a little bit of the leftover scotch used to make the bird.

  6. see…once again my reading difficulties resulted in missing the step that has us injecting the bird with the scotch, i thought you just addded it to the’recipe’ so that the cook would have a suitable beverage while slaving in the kitchen and waiting for mom to arrive…not that i’ve ever done that…

    thistles last blog post..Canada Votes Too: Epilogue

  7. I love cooking Thanksgiving Dinner. We’ve had a lot happen this year, so Thanksgiving is sort of up for grabs. There’s always Christmas!

    I pretty much have the same thing every year. Everyone has their favorite things that they expect to see on the table. And they want it to be just like they remembered. I think that’s part of what makes it special.

    Have your deep fried and southwestern turkeys throughout the year like phhhst!

    Caroles last blog post..More Vitamin Trashing

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