I Don't Want To Make Turkey For Thanksgiving

John Liu

I don't particularly like turkey. Gasp. It's true.


So for Thanksgiving I am thinking of making a roast leg of lamb and two roast ducks.


SWMBO insists that we must have turkey.


I am thinking of buying turkey pieces and making those instead of tying up my oven roasting a whole turkey. Maybe several legs and a breast?


What do you think would be the easiest way to cook several turkey pieces, without using my oven? Sous vide then sear in my wok?





SaveComment30Like
Comments (30)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Olychick

What about Turkey Roulade...one made of breast meat, one or two dark meat? They do need to go in the oven or a roaster, but don't take up the whole oven and actually can be cooked ahead and reheated pretty easily. I've usually used my favorite stuffing as the filling so you don't have to cook stuffing separately.

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
plllog

I feel the same way about turkey. :)

I've done parts, and those came out fine. Carving happens in the kitchen, even when there's a gloriously beautiful roast bird, so it doesn't matter. It's a lot easier with pieces, to schlep them around.

I got raves one year (at Passover) for the turkey. I ordered boneless breasts, rolled and netted, slipped them into sous vide bags, and gave them four hours in the circulator at the temperature marked on the chart as "most like roasted" so the texture would be right. They were skin on, and the skin didn't cook off, so I tried to remove it all while carving. Yeah, when I roast turkeys, I get beautiful crispy brown skin (not bragging--it just happens), but I don't have people begging for it, so no one noticed. Obviously, you can do this with leg/thighs too.

The texture was indeed similar to roasted, very moist, nice. The meat tasted more turkey-ish than ever. No searing required.

I say go for it either way! Lamb is unusual, but any kind of roast is appropriate. I wish someone would make duck for our Thanksgiving...

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nancyofnc

One year I took home smoked turkey legs and chicken legs to our family party. Not a bit left, just a pile of bones. Offered homemade barbecue sauce on the side and saw some of the teen-grands spreading that on potatoes and bread too. It was a hit for sure. Tradition went out of the window that holiday so be brave John - I'd go for your roasted duck in a heartbeat!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lindac92

Cook your turkey....or the lamb on the grill. One year when there was a huge mob of relatives, my son did 3 turkeys...one on the grill, one in the frier and one in the oven for the smell and the gravy.
And....yes you HAVE to have turkey....a whole turkey....not a big one, but you must have turkey...I vote with your better half.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bragu_DSM 5

Procure a Cornish hen, pronouncing it as the smallest turkey you could find .... *grin*

3 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
John Liu

Hmm, if I got a small turkey, spatchcocked or deboned it, then I could throw it on the grill without too much fuss. I could please SWMBO and still have my oven free for the ducks.

So you traditionalists - and SWMBO is one of you - feel that a whole turkey is pretty much required?


Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
John Liu

A roulade would be interesting! How does that work? 1) Slice up breast and thighs, 2) pound thin, 3) layer and roll, 4) wrap in foil and roast, 5) finish unwrapped? Do you brine the slices before step 2)?

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m


Turkey? No turkey?


I am ducking the issue. Roasted ducks this year.


Turkey, you are pardoned.


dcarch

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I do want to have turkey, and it can be breast only but I don't want it smoked or grilled. Roasted so I can have some nice gravy with it. I'll also have a bite of lamb, but I want the turkey!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ediej1209 AL Zn 7

OMG, bragu_DSM, you reminded me of a story my Mom told... A friend of hers had put a turkey in the oven before church one Sunday and when she got home and went to check on it, all there was in her oven was this tiny little Cornish hen. A neighbor of hers had come over and switched it out as a joke - took the turkey over to her house and continued to cook it. (Of course, those were the days when people didn't lock their doors.) Can you imagine?!?

Turkey on the grill is so delicious and would give SWMBO something to do LOL. If you don't want to do a whole turkey, a couple of legs, a couple of thighs, and a small breast gives a good selection of both dark & light. But I've known several people who opt for duck, goose, venison or a beautiful crown roast instead of turkey. Thanksgiving is about spending time together, it doesn't have to look like a Norman Rockwell painting to be a good time.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
l pinkmountain

What part of the turkey does your SW like? That might depend on the parts you would get for starters. If she's not particular, maybe some turkey legs? Those are great and easy to serve. Or, a roast turkey breast, which is what we do. If you do a whole small turkey on the grill, seems like you would have to be prepared to freeze the leftovers for maybe use in future turkey sandwiches. I can't get small turkeys easily so we gave up on a whole one and just do the breast because I don't much care and DH does, so we do what he likes.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

I said that once. Being the SWMBO in the home we had rotisserie duck. No discussion. It was great fun. No complaints but I did miss the turkey.

That was 2014. Bonus was the experience. And the bag of feet and the extra duck breasts while I was ordering. That was the year our local market lost our turkey reservation. So I ordered fresh duck online.

We are back to the traditional turkey meal we all love. But have duck once a year during the holiday week. Win-win.

We ordered the usual Dartagnan 12lb small bird this year. Researching for a new side firebox smoker so plan to smoke 6-12 turkey legs and anything else depending on how many visitors. Right now it is just 6 adults and two teens. One is a pit master so we'll have help. No traveling to visit family this year. Saving that for NewYears when we will have the time.

I like the spatchcock idea on the grill. Small birds cook beautifully and fast.

We have discussed sticking to tradition for the basics. Then adding some new sides as always. if anyone stays the night as invited we will smoke a pork shoulder while the fire is tended anyway and have a tamales making party Friday. Enough that all can take many home for the holidays. Another win-win.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bragu_DSM 5

edie .... that reminds me of a joke I played on my dad.

he had gotten a new dehydrator and was dehydrating everything under the sun. one day he pulled out some cherries that he had dehydrated, and was reconstituting them, soaking them in water.

I went out to the cherry tree and grabbed some fresh cherries, de stemmed them, and swapped them out for the cherries that had been re-plumping. Then I just sat and wait. In a while, dad came out to check on his 'experiment'. He took one look at the cherries, and then summoned the entire family, very excited: 'Hey come look at this."

I tried so very hard to contain my laughter, until finally I burst out laughing, and said: 'no, dad, I swapped them out with fresh ones.'

He turned red and looked really peeved for a bit, and then burst out laughing too.

It was the only joke I remember ever playing on my dad. It makes me smile when I think of it. Thanks.

5 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Olychick

John, yes. Almost exactly as you describe, but leave whole, don't slice, just debone. I don't wrap in foil but leave the skin on. Cover with foil if it's getting too brown. I've brined and done unbrined. Both are good. I do a couple of thighs, too, for the dark meat lovers. They cook fairly quickly - so easy to slice and serve and taste like a roasted turkey. Ina has good method instructions, although I just use my regular bread/sage stuffing. Hers does look good, though. She doesn't butterfly or pound hers. I usually pound mine a bit and butterfly any part that seems too thick. Turkey Roulade

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chipotle

You could fry a turkey (outdoors). Doesn't take long at all.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chloebud

John, I think Olychick's roulade suggestion would be good. I've not made Ina's myself, but it's been served to us...delish.

bragu, your cherry story made me laugh. My dad was a huge joker and would have appreciated your cherry swapping. I definitely inherited the gene from him. My problem is always containing the laughing.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
CA Kate z9

No one in our family likes turkey very much. This year might be thick, bone-in, Rib Pork CHops done on the grill. Last year was Cornish Game Hens. That duck breast does sound interesting tho’.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mercurygirl

I've done turkey drumsticks in the crockpot for years. Add aromatics, seasoning, and a little chicken broth. It's super easy and makes nice moist meat and a broth for good gravy.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jerzeegirl

I had Turkey Orloff at a friend's house a couple of weeks ago (a Julia Childs recipe) and I thought it would make a great Thanksgiving casserole in lieu of turkey. Link

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jakkom

Yeah, I'm not fond of turkey either. Give me a good duck - Liberty or Moulard - any day!

Do a small turkey breast sous vide. You don't get crisp skin, but the meat comes out perfect and is great for leftover sandwiches.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nancyjane_gardener

We do crab, salad, french bread and whatever people want to bring! My hubby is the best crab picker and picks about half the crab and the rest is up to you to dig out! (Have to work for your meal!)

Xmas we'll do up a regular turkey and fixins (usually not ON xmas or eve cause D and DIL are a cop and a nurse, rarely get off big holidays)

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Islay Corbel

Jacques Pepin has a great YouTube video about deboning birds.....you could do that to the Turkey, make a lovely herby stuffing and sous vide it and roast your ducks.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

if you do obey, and prepare a turkey, get the best quality you can afford and the smallest they offer. Usually 10-12 pounds. We love the stock from the carcass and add beef bones, ginger, and spices for quick winter Pho.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
war garden

duck an leg of lamb are better choices if cooked correctly.

We done turkey free Thanksgiving several years.


Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
johnc777

I think a lot of us don't "like" turkey because it's overcooked. Years ago I followed Alton Brown's method and it was the first time I ever had seconds. Although just the other week I cooked a grocery store Butterball and everyone raved about it. Invest in a probe thermometer and follow any of the numerous methods for dealing with the challenge of white and dark meat.

Now if the better half insists on a complete turkey, I might suggest deep frying. The equipment investment is relatively modest but the biggest advantage is that you free up the oven for whatever else you'd like to serve. A 12-13 pound turkey takes 42-44 minutes to cook in a deep fryer.


1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Olychick

Maybe you or your friends have experience frying, but just in case you don't....

If you fry, check out emeril's recipe for deep fried cajun turkey. It is the BEST. I've been making it for ?? 15 or more years - it's really fabulous. I've never turned the turkeys in the oil, even though he suggests it.

And, I've had the best luck with pure peanut oil only, none of the blends...it makes such a difference. It gets hard to find the pure in large quantities in my town the closer to Thanksgiving it gets...costco used to have it but I've only seen a blend there the last few years (didn't check this year). I got mine at target this year and someone sent me a link to it at Fred Meyer because she knows it's sometimes hard to find. FM was cheaper than Target.

Because the fryer needs to be outside, not on a deck, with constant supervision, some years it would be really a pain to be in the rain and away from the party - although it draws a crowd from the house to watch. So last year I bought an electric turkey fryer. Because there is no open flame, it could be left unsupervised and can even be used indoors (although we did it on the deck). It was every bit as good and SO much easier.


https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/emerils-fried-turkey-3646067

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
annie1992

elery watched a video of Jacques Pepin one year and promptly boned a turkey. We stuffed it with a cranberry and cornbread stuffing, rolled and tied it and roasted it. My son in law says he still has dreams about that turkey, LOL.

So, I'm voting for the roulade, but yeah, here we have to have turkey. My family really likes turkey, so there are arguments over leftovers, I always buy a huge one so everyone can take some home.

Annie

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Olychick

Annie, I once boned a turkey, but for the legs and wings, stuffed it and reformed it, so it looked pretty much like a regular turkey when it was cooked. My friends about fell out of their chairs when I began slicing through the boneless body - like it was a magic trick. They, too, are probably still dreaming about it.

Notice the "once".

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
annie1992

Olychick, we've done it a couple of times, although it's tedious. We did bone the legs, but just removed the wings.

Reshaping it to look like a turkey, now THAT'S impressive, we just rolled it.

Annie

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m


Not trying to out perform Jacques Pepin, but it is possible to de-bone a whole turkey without opening up the turkey. Remove all the bones, leg bones, wing bones from inside out.

It takes a little longer, but works great for stuffing a turkey.


dcarch


Boneless turkey back

Boneless turkey front


All bones out without cutting the turkey




Save    
Browse Gardening and Landscaping Stories on Houzz See all Stories
Holidays 13 Ways to Make Your Thanksgiving More Meaningful
Long after the stove is off, you'll feel the warmth of love and gratitude when you try these ideas this Thanksgiving
Full Story
Holidays Thanksgiving Tales: When the Turkey Tanks
Houzzers prove adept at snatching victory from the jaws of entertaining defeat
Full Story
Product Picks Your Thanksgiving: Make the Kids' Table Fun
The kids will thank you for a Thanksgiving table set especially for them
Full Story