Turkey is wack. It tastes like mashed printer paper and prime-time CBS programming. Yet every year we find the bird back on our tables on Thanksgiving, in the refrigerator on Black Friday, on a sad-ass turkey sandwich on Cyber Monday and in the trash sometime after that.
Before you begin to raise your grease-stained paw to interject with, "My mama/grandmama/big mama/abuela/nnenne/babushka/guardian's turkey ain't dry” …
Yes, it is.
It's drier than a crackhead's un-Carmexed lips in winter weather.
There's nothing you can do to salvage the physical dimensions of the bird. The meat-to-flavor ratio is just too damn high. Chicken wings are delicious because the physical size of the wing allows for maximum flavor seepage. It's basic math: Density equals mass divided by volume.
Sadly, too many of you out there are trying to box with God. You simple mortals think that you can bend the fabric of the universe and make our seasonal flightless fowl as delicious as a chicken or a duck. People are attempting, beyond all good reason, to fight the inherent dryness of turkey by engaging in culinary practices that range from ridiculously time-consuming to absurd. Someone in your family is risking his or her time or maybe even his or her life by trying them.
There's nothing wrong with brining as a culinary technique. You get some seasonings, boil 'em up, sit your uncooked bird in the liquid, and hope that it absorbs some flavor into the blank and empty canvas that is its flesh. That all sounds good until you realize that it takes at least a whole 24 hours of sitting in the fridge to complete a good brine.
If you've ever been the head chef on Thanksgiving, then you know that time and space are of the essence. You've got this big-ass turkey in the fridge, taking up space, in a futile attempt to make it juicy, and now you're trying to fit the potato salad in there. You move the potato salad on top of Grandma's sweet potato pie, and everybody gotta eat smushed-pie pancake because of you.
Do you really want to add a whole day to prepping? Especially if you get behind schedule. Think about the orange juice you'll save and passive-aggressive complaints you'll dodge by getting your diabetic aunt fed on time.
Scientifically, anything fried is delicious. Go to any county fair across the country and you can get anything from Oreos to Kool-Aid battered, dipped in some kind of grease and fried up.
But are you really willing to sacrifice Uncle Reggie's life for some damn turkey?
First of all, you have to fry turkey outside because it could blow up your damn house.
Second, Uncle Reggie is neither a chef nor a professional chemist, and he really should not be handling a 10-gallon vat of flaming oil. Every year, there's a fried-turkey disaster. Do you want it to happen to your family?
Do you know how Uncle Charles died in “Tha Crossroads”? I don't know, either, but they never said it wasn't from fried turkey.
Plus, 7 times out of 10, it comes out hard as s—t.
This right here is an indication of desperation. On the Today show, a Mississippi woman presented a recipe that combines the wasting of a new pillowcase with the fun of a potential house fire. Her family has fought against dry-ass turkey for generations by placing it inside a pillowcase before cooking it. Only bland turkey meat that scrapes joy from their tongues year after year could embolden these people to place a piece of cloth inside an oven.
Don't do this.
Turkey is unsalvageable. Don't lie to yourself in an attempt to maintain tradition. I know your family dabbled with Islam during the '70s and your aunt still doesn't eat pork, but make a ham, people. Think about Uncle Reggie.
Brandon Harrison lives in New York City and has Hollywood stories that rival those of Rick James. He prides himself on staying righteous and knowing more about basketball than you do. Follow him on Twitter.