Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's been a week. It's time to tell the tale. The tale of the turkey.

I consider myself to be a strong woman. I've been through a lot and I've survived it all.
I'm like a Timex. I've taken a lickin' and kept on ticking.

But there are some things I simply cannot overcome, or so I thought.
Until I survived a Thanksgiving Turkey,
November 25, 2010.

To understand the horror, you need to know that I do not like to clean meat off of the bone.
It's disgusting. It's repulsive. It literally makes me wince when I think about it.
The only thing that's more gross than pulling it off is when people use their teeth.
I don't know why this is so repulsive now. I used to eat chicken legs as a kid.
Now the thought just about makes me sick. It is cleaning a carcass with your face.


And then, a smoked turkey comes into my life.

A man at our church smokes turkeys every Thanksgiving. You bring a thawed turkey, a bag of oranges, and some cheesecloth. The next day you take home a perfectly smoked turkey, more or less in my case.

When I arrived and met my turkey after it's long night in the smoker, it smelled delicious. It was all hot and wrapped up with a great smoked smell.
Oh, it smelled good. The guys put it in an aluminum pan for me and I took that beautiful bird home.

I brought it into the kitchen and unwrapped the metal wires that were used to lower and raise the turkey from the smoke hole. I removed the perfectly browned cheesecloth. My whole house smelled like delicious smoked turkey.

What I found was not what I was expecting. My perfect turkey was slimy. The skin was coming off in places. Did you read that? THE SKIN WAS SLIDING OFF. The whole thing was pink. Oh, no. This is not what I expected. I expected a perfect, brown turkey ready for me to tough it out and just pull the meat off the bone. Done in a half an hour.

This bird was not cooperating.

Oranges were falling out of that poor bird's butt. It was not pretty and my house was starting to smell like it had been on fire.

I did what any self respecting woman would do. I called my parents. I don't know how to fix a turkey. I don't know how to cook a turkey. I don't know what to do with a bird who has oranges coming out of bad places and it's skin is falling off. IT'S SKIN IS FALLING OFF! Just seeing the picture makes my hand cover my mouth and my eyes shut in disgust. Look again-

My parents informed me to fill the pan I picked the turkey up in with some water. Make a tent over the turkey with aluminum foil, stuff the oranges back in and put it in the oven. Done. Or so I thought.

The pan was a bit larger than I needed. When filled with water, a turkey will slide around. A turkey with IT'S SKIN FALLING OFF. I shoved some new oranges in that poor bird. It now had oranges from it's butt all the way up to the neck or where it's head used to be. I apologized to it. I didn't know that turkey, but I did know it didn't deserve the horrific things I was doing to it. FYI- aluminum foil will not stay in place when there's a turkey sloshing around under it. Finally, I got it in. I sat the timer and went back to bed. The horror was too much.


Two and a half hours later, the timer went off. "Thank goodness. It's almost over," I thought.

(My whole house now smells as though it was previously on fire at this point. Smoked turkey smells great for the first 30-60 minutes. After that, not so much.)

I peeled back the aluminum foil. Oranges are coming from one end of the bird all the way out the other. One of the legs has fallen off.
(Don't worry. I was not cursing or taking the Lord's name in vain. It's okay.
I was literally crying out to Him.)

I cannot move to take a picture of this. Besides, only so much horror should be allowed into the world, and I've already documented enough.

"The sooner it's cut or carved or whatever, the sooner this will all be over." I tell myself.
So, I stick the knife in and pull it back like I was instructed over the phone.
Two beautiful turkey breasts fall off the bone. I put them in Tupperware because this turkey isn't for Thanksgiving. It's for Christmas. It's smoked now, I'm to freeze it, and then we will eat it at Christmas. Great. It will be so worth it when I can bare to see turkey, again.

I try a couple of bites. It tasted good, except that I cannot erase what I have seen.

When you remove a turkey's boobs and you cut off a little more meat you can see all the oranges that have been crammed up that poor bird. She could have puked and pooed oranges all at the same time. I apologize to the bird. I remove the oranges.

I can see the ribs.
YOU CAN SEE THE RIBS! I apologize to the bird again.

I take the dark meat off the legs, the one that has fallen off and the one that is still attached.

I try not to think about what I am doing. The meat is so tender it's just falling off, so now I am rummaging through bones, oranges, turkey broth, and bits of floating stuff for big bits of floating stuff. I fill my Tupperware. One container has white meat, the other dark.

I keep filling until I think I'm going to puke. I apologize to that bird for a final time, and put it's poor mutilated leftovers into a garbage sack.

I open the windows (an advantage to living in Arizona) and run the ceiling fans so my house no longer smells like the smoked turkey who did not go down without a fight.

I now have two Tupperware containers full of delicious smoked turkey for Christmas dinner. It still looks a little pink, but my Mother assures me when we heat it up, it will finish cooking. Fortunately, in real life it didn't look as pink as this picture. Like that matters at this point. HA!

The thought of eating that smoked turkey...
just about makes me gag.
Somebody pass the ham, please.
Or, better yet, if you happen to be having a nice salad and pie for your Christmas dinner and live in the Phoenix metro area, please invite me.
I promise not to bring turkey.


Kristi said...

Ohmigosh! You seriously had me laughing out loud! I am totally with you on the repulsiveness of the skin falling off and the orange pooping. I wonder if you'll be able to eat it at Christmas? Also the pink is just a result of the smoking. It is fully cooked so you don't have to worry about cooking it longer.

Anonymous said...

Oh my!! I feel your pain. I tried to cook a turkey once, I dropped it on the floor trying to get it into the pan. I just couldn't touch it. You see, we raised turkeys and chickens when we were younger. I see red all over the grass and that horrid smell of burnt feathers---I'm sorry--I JUST CANNOT DO IT!
Options: Pay the gentleman to completely smoke and cook your turkey, placing the meat gently in your tupperware bowls. However, I'm afraid the memory and smell may stay with you forever!!
I'll be praying for you!!

Mary (aka Muffin's Mama) said...

Love your story. Betcha Frank will eat that turkey no matter what! Muffin was glad to help with ours.

Anonymous said...

Let me dry My eyes! I was laughing so hard I had to stop to dry my eyes every few sentences! This is one of the funniest stories about cooking turkey I have ever heard! I do hope You will enjoy the smoked turkey come Christmas time! You deserve a good meal! Thanks for the great story and a good laugh! Laughing with You and not at You! You tell a great story!!
Linda, Sacramento, CA

Carey said...

Hey girl. I DO NOT like smoked meat. DH smokes meat and it always ends up pink. He says it is cooked but I just don't like the idea of eating pink meat. I bet my friend Frank was doing a dance trying to help you with it. DH also tried to feed the left over giblets, fat and skin all to Roscoe. I kept telling him it was really bad for a dog's digestive system. When he turned his back (Dean not Roscoe) I threw it away. This is a funny story. You are more than welcome to come over to Perryville to see Roscoe and me for a Christmas dinner. I think we will be be having carnitas which are a tradition at our home. Love ya girl.

Carey Rogers
aka Roscoe's mommy

Debbie Gordon said...

I had to comment that your story gave me a much needed laugh today. I am still smiling - so regardless how horrifying the experience may have been take heart in knowing that you lifted so many up with humor today. Merry Christmas!

Olivia said...

I have never laughed so hard in my life. You write so well and with so much detail (is that good or bad...). LOL
If you ever write a book, let me know. I will be the first to buy it.


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