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?





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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.

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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...

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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!

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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.

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bragu_DSM 5

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

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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?


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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)?

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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chipotle

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

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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.

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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’.

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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.

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jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)

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

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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war garden

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

We done turkey free Thanksgiving several years.


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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.


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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

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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

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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".

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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

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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




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John Liu

Impressive deboning!

The menu here has changed. SWMBO prevailed on our friend Mike to roast and bring a turkey plus drippings for gravy. Oh well, I guess tradition will not be denied. Another friend has a smoked turkey coming. I have one duck that was inflated, scalded, painted with honey-soy, and is now hanging for Beijing duck. Another duck has been quartered and is drying in the refrigerator with a dry rub and will be sous vided then either deep fried or broiled. So there is a lot of fowl planned.

SWMBO has nixed the lobster and declines lamb, but I am going to make a pork dish, which is pork cubed, slow cooked in adobo, then deep fried. Just some little bites, as relief from the poultry.

We'll also have various sides, some assigned to guests and others to be cooked here. I forget the whole list but it's mostly standards like mashed potatoes and GBC, plus kale salad, beet salad, a butternut squash soup, etc. A couple of appetizers. Some pies and other desserts.

I have a stockpot of duck stock slow cooking now. I would like to make some sort of interesting soup with this. Maybe some sort of mushroom-duck-tomato soup? Ideas welcome!

This sounds like a lot of food but the dinner has swelled to 18 so I suspect we'll need it all. This is a two dining table meal, meaning we'll pull the two tables into one looooong one that sticks into the living room.


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John Liu


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dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

Tomorrow will be duck day for me also.


dcarch

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John Liu

Wow, for the sous vide duck confit, seriouseats says 155F for 36 hours (?!). Welp ok. Starting now.

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joyfulguy

SWMBO ...

... as

Surviving

Wife

Maybe

Better

Off

???

ole joyful ... for whom, having had some snow last week and expecting more tomorrow, with wind ... Thanksgiving is a distant memory

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bragu_DSM 5

joyful


time to hibernate?

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John Liu

Table is set.

We are breaking out Charlotte's gold accented china. Charlotte is a friend of SWMBO's late mother. When she was in her final years, she gave us her china because her kids were just going to Craigslist it. I think of her whenever I see her china.

We don't have enough matching pieces for 20, but it still looks okay.

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dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

The many different non-matching chairs makes the dinner very meaningful.

People are all different, but we can all be families and friends.


Happy Thanksgiving!


dcarch


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John Liu

Report:

The Beijing duck was very tasty but I did too much glazing during roasting, so the skin looked and tasted good but was not crispy. My friend salvaged it with a torch.

The sous vide duck was tasty but just a little not right. I think 36 hours was too much, the texture was too soft - but now I know that another 36 hours will probably produce duck pate.

The dry brined, slow cooked, deep fried pork cubes with gravy were really quite good. But how can you go wrong with that.

The smoked turkey that my friends brought was great. Woodstock Wine & Deli smokes about 30 turkeys for Thanksgiving and I'm told you need to be friends with the owner to get one. This couple also brought a magnum of wine and butternut squash soup. We served the soup first with each guest's initials drawn on the surface with piped-on cranberry sauce.

The roast turkey that my other friend brought was good. Roasting doesn't produce as flavorful meat as smoking, I think, but he did a good job and the breast was nicely moist.

The sous vide roasted garlic mashed potatoes was not great. DD says I didn't cook the potatoes long enough so they mashed poorly. I say there wasn't enough butter and cream. I do prefer French style, very soft mashed potatoes.

The horseradish mashed potatoes was good. My friend with the blowtorch brought these.

The creamed spinach was fine. I cheat big time here, simply melt a stick of cream cheese into a potful of spinach along with a little bit of garlic and onion. Sometimes I add cream and Amaretto, didn't this time.

The sweet potato with marshmallows was, well, not how I personally would eat sweet potatoes but it is a traditional Thanksgiving meal chez SWMBO so that's that

I did not try any of the pies or desserts. I'm told SWMBO pumpkin pie was a hit.

There was beet argula salad, kale salad, fried rice, and a couple other dishes. I didn't try any of that.

We really had too many people. It ended up being 24, because of a couple of last minute invites and one guest of a guest who I'd forgotten about. We had to pull in a third table and moving around was tricky. But people had a good time.

Cleanup was a trip to the bad old years (2012-2017?) when I didn't have a working dishwasher. We used fancy china and glassware with gold accents and rims, and it all had to be washed by hand. I've gotten used to being able to wash up a big dinner party in less than an hour, with Hobart the Magic Dishwasher. No such luck, we were up until 1 am washing and then I had to finish the rest this morning, after getting up at 5 am to take Kate to the airport for her short trip to Berkeley. Actually we have just finished getting the house back together - it is dinnertime Friday now. It's been a nice day though, with napping and low key cooking interspersed with cleaning and putting away.

I made stock with all the roast duck remains, and used that for a duck-mushroom-tomato-kale soup that we are having for dinner. DS has a (edit: cold, not child) and made chicken noodle soup for our lunch. It's been a liquid diet kind of day.

I was going to post a picture of DD helping in the kitchen, but we were both too busy. Before she started cooking, she worked on a painting in the foyer. I took a photo of her painting. Well, actually she'd left by the time I took the picture. So just imagine DD sitting in this blanket nest, painting.



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annie1992

John, I don't know if I mentioned it before, but we have a set of chairs with backs just like the wooden ones with the flower engraved on the back. They were Elery's Mother's, we have her dining room set.

Your table was lovely, and dinner sounds delicious. My daughters also like that sweet potato/marshmallow combination, so we'll have that tomorrow, although it's not a favorite of mine either. I love creamed spinach but no one else does, so we never have it.

The painting is amazing, I couldn't tell in the picture that it was a painting and not a photograph or print. And DS has a child? That's wonderful, congratulations!

Our dinner is tomorrow and the fanciest I got was making the dinner rolls look like pumpkins, and those will be the only pumpkins in sight. No pumpkin pie seems wrong, but that's the way it is this year.

Happy Thanksgiving, sorry about all those dishes but the table was beautiful.

Annie



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John Liu

Cold not child. Sorry! Typo :-)

DD has mostly been doing what I call text art, which is words and patterns, painted on canvas.

This piece is a change, being detailed and representional. It is a painting from a photograph of SWMBO's dad meeting my grandparents. All the persons in the photo are now gone. She started it as a quick present for SWMBO but now is getting more serious about it. So although it was started in acrylic, she may switch to oil for the detail work.

She's very good with representational work, so I'm glad to see her not doing exclusively text art. However, she's thinking about getting some of her more popular paintings made into postcards and selling those at school, and the interest seems to be more in her text art.

I made the leftover sweet potato stuff into a soup, adding butternut squash so that it isn't too sweet. This is leftover weekend and as the weather recently turned colder, I'm trying to do a lot of soups.

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John Liu

This is what I mean by text art. This is an exhibit last year, she was touching something up after hanging this painting.

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Islay Corbel

Very talented lady.

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Anne

John Liu, I don't eat duck and rarely eat lamb (only prepared by one particular person) but I would have loved to have a guest at your Thanksgiving! I'd have loved the food and might have tried some of the meat and would have loved the company, you clearly have a wonderful group. No such thing as too many for dinner....I am sure no one went home hungry and "a crowded table is filled with love"

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annie1992

Darn, John, I don't know whether to be disappointed or happy, LOL, but that was one interesting typo!

The text art is interesting and complex, but I really like the family photo best. She is very talented indeed.

Annie

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