Friday, November 18, 2005

Holiday Gone Bad

I'm inviting the bloggers who read here, to give us your best, Holiday Gone Bad story. Here's my first.
About ten years ago we invited relatives to Thanksgiving dinner here on the farm. We probably had twenty invited. My bride was going to be in Denver with her family and so I was going to entertain 20 people and run the kennel.
The plan was to smoke one fifteen pound turkey and bake one.
I was up and at it early. I needed to put the two turkeys on and get to the kennel to do about 45 minutes worth of chores and get back to watch the turkeys and work in the kitchen. What a great day. I love Thanksgiving.
I was set with the smoker. Water, chips, rack, turkey, put the lid on and plugged it in. (it's electric)
It kinda sounded like someone was welding underneath the bird. The heating element burned in two. Butterball, we have a problem. What to do?? I'll put it on the grill. Good thinking. I used a lot of coals. No time to mess around outside with all that company. Okay, coals on one side of the Weber, turkey on the other. The recommended 'indirect heat' method. (The pamphlet comes with every grill)
I went to the house and slid one turkey in an oven bag, and put it in the oven.
I went to the kennel. Did 45 minutes worth of chores in, oh, about an hour and ten minutes and raced back home to make sure the coals hadn't gone out. They hadn't.
Note:Cut back on the coals, or air, or something.
The turkey was done. One hour and fifteen minutes. It had diminished in size a bit. Okay, at least the bones hadn't fallen thru the rack.
Note: a fifteen pound turkey will yield approximately six pounds of jerky when cooked in this fashion.
Now how to keep it warm for three hours while waiting for dinner. Note: if I open a restaurant, as I've always wanted to, I need to work on timing.I took the jerky to the house, where the relatives are starting to get up. I try to act like I'm in control. The next 3 hours are spent putting my finger in various dikes that had sprung leaks. Finally dinner time was near and the turkey in the oven in that new fangled oven bag surely must be done. It was. As a matter of fact, it had apparently gotten done about the same time as the one outside, three hours ago. I slit the bag open to discover what looked like an archeological find. My proud robust turkey was done. So were the bones. It stood at least 3 inches tall in the pan.
Note: When Marilyn's going to be gone over a holiday, practice the following line, "I'd love to come over, can I bring anything"?
This is why men always cook the meat. We can't handle the other forty things our wives usually do and cook the meat.


Rachel said...

I don't have a story to share, but a story like yours should just make everyone appreciate those cooks who get it all done, and it's all delicious, all at the same time!

So here's to all the cooks (male or female) who manage to bring it all together like there's nothing to it!

Paul said...

I can see that happening. Indeed! Thankfully your house didn't implode.

Tbis is a great idea and I will canoodle my memory a little and see what come up. I'm sure there must have been one or two ornery pokes where I came from.

Thanks for the idea.

Miki said...

cliff, we do our turkey every year on the grill, but this is a better way. Get one of those throw away aluminum pans, put a rack in the bottom. put about two inches of water in the pan,cover your wing tips and drumsticks and stuffing with foil. Then turn your grill on as follows: one burner on low and the other on high, unless you have a medium setting, then put one on medium and one on low. You must check the bird periolically, but also baste with the water on the bottom of the pan, you have to do thid even if the bird is a self baster. You will need to add water to the pan bottom periodically too. This cuts off about an hour to an hour and a half of your turkey time. Your oven is free to do the rest of your goodies and your house is not as hot as the inside of your furnace!

Your story was hysterical, that is why I don't go away for the holidays.
Have a great Thanksgiving! Enjoy the family and the blessings that are bestowed upon you and your family!

Jerry said...

Great story! I want to come to your house for Thanksgiving sometime. The entertainment value alone would be worth the trip.

We've had so many bad holidays, it's hard to pick just one. I may just wait and see what this Thanksgiving brings. Our pent-up family hostilities may just result in a food fight this year!

terah said...

My Best Holiday Gone Bad Story

Last Thanksgiving I was making the entire meal with all the trimmings for 6 people. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but last fall I was really sick. Sick as in I wasn't allowed to work or drive and I was generally too weak to stand up for more than 20 minutes at a time. But I was bound and determined to make this meal.

The food turned out great. By the time it was on the table I was so totally exhausted that I could barely eat, but the thought of pumpkin ice cream pie from Cold Stone Creamery got me through 'til dessert.

At which time I practically collapsed and went to bed. I did manage to make an appearance when the guests were leaving and did a wonderful job of totally offending my mother-in-law (who didn't come back inside our house for another 6 months).

terah said...

Cliff, at least you used the correct brand of grill! :-)

Bossy♥'s YOU said... did u order a pizza..LOL..

I dont have any stories as wel always went to others for the that we moved away..we cook..but its just us..thank goodnes.

now wait..come Friday mornig I will have a story for you:)

Cliff Morrow said...

Rachel, Here! Here!
Paul, I'll be waiting for the story, I know it will be good.
Miki, thanks for all the tips, I now have a big smoker grill with the fire box off to the side. Also I now know better than to entertain that many people without my wife. Things just go better when she's here. You know us men, hard to do more than one thing at a time. I can cook pies but that's ahead of time.
Jerry, I assume you'll add your story next weekend. Especially if it turns into a food fight.
Terah, Sorry about the way your great dinner ended. I'll bet the food was good. I must say I was chuckling so loud Marilyn asked what was funny. I was reading your Weber grill comment. Very funny.
Christina, I'm not wishing you any bad luck but maybe if Servicemaster needs to be called again next Thursday, you could write about it.

Ralph's Homespun Headlines said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ralph's Homespun Headlines said...

No bad stories yet - we'll see how my relish tray is received in Tekamah on Thursday.

Jamie Dawn said...

Turkey Jerky sounds pretty good to me. I'm sure your guests were amused.
A couple of Thanksgivings ago, we were having the meal at my parent's house. My mom asked me to make mashed potatoes and a green salad. My salad was great and so were the potoates.... all ten pounds of them.
I wanted to be sure we had plenty, so I boiled the entire bag of potatoes. After I had them all mashed and whipped with butter and sour cream, I had to use a HUMUNGOUS bowl to put them in, and I ended up with another bowl left over that I kept at home.
Mom and I still laugh about that. When I walked in the door with that huge bowl of mashed potatoes, she about died laughing. I was teased mercilessly for the rest of the day. We certainly didn't run out of mashed. potatoes that Thanksgiving.

magz said...

hi! i'm back!
Near 20 years ago, my first maggie's farm horsetrainin place, I hosted a BIG BBQ Thanks All bash.Over 100 people on a 1 acre place! Featuring 80 lbs of genuine pit BBQed perfect beef, all handrubbed in spices and wrapped in homemade BBQ sauce n burlap. I burnt oak and mesquite for 24 hrs in a deep pit preppin coals.. added 3 huge foil wrapped chunks of meat, covered with an old truck hood and 50 lbs of sand. Cooked overnite in that nice slow oven, the party was going loud n lubed next day. Live music, horse demonstrations, and fun for all. I'd been braggin on pit perfection, but for the wimpy I did have a stack of mesquite and 20lbs of chicken to grill for after I pulled meat. Gettin close to time.. I walked around back to find every kid at the party standing around the pit, which had 20 ft flames shootin out of it! My perfect 275 degree slow cooker had just become an incinerator! (They said they were 'helping'.. since my fire looked out)
I think most of the guests got a measly drumstick.. the most ever found of my beef was a couple of charcoal lumps with burlap inmprints.. as I recall, it took more then a few beers to quit crying and start laffin..

Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

Cliffers, I'm laughing so hard @ this post, I forgot how much I like to savor drumsticks... Actually, stuffing is my favorite part. Enjoyed reading the others' contributions. I'm going to zzzz (early 4 me I know). Not sure I have any to contribute but I'll think on it.

Mike ( ex scientia, veritas ) said...

Thanx for the good laugh, Cliff. I've had a few dry turkeys before, but you've got this down to an artform. :~)

Paul said...

Cliff, I just referenced this great blog with my own holiday gone bad. Thank you for the inspiration. I'm glad I did it.

Peter said...

Can't say I've ever had one explode in my face like that Cliff, but we all have our little hiccups.

cassie-b said...

I just read your post any the comment section, and really enjoyed the stories. My holidays are reasonably sane, except that the children - usually about a dozen cousins and siblings are so loud that I go home with a big headache on Christmas.

No Holidays gone bad here.

Thanks for the laughs

Dan said...

Hey Ralph, Don't worry about your tray. I'm sure everyone will relish it.

Nora said...

Hello Cliff,
I'm an Indiana friend of Jerrys, and I've been enjoying your blog for months.
I have to tell you that your turkey stories made coffee come out of my nose.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Cliff Morrow said...

Nora, good to meet you and sorry about the coffee. Don't you hate it when that happens.
Thanks sooo much for the visit.

Marcus said...

I snorted while reading about your Turkey disaster. What a great phrase Turkey Jerky is, blogging brilliance.

My wife and I went to visit my grandparents in another state. They decided to take us out for lunch so we drove about an hour to Toowoomba,along the way my Pa got what he claimed was the only speeding ticket he'd ever had. We were intending to go to the lookout restaurant only to find they had just closed for the day. Toowoomba is a quiet town and a few laps failed to turn up any other eating establishments except for McDonalds. Being elderly they had never been to McD's and so the hamburger they ordered was hugely unsatisfying! We bought a BBQ'd chicken on the way home but when we got home the bag gave way because of the grease and the chicken fell on the floor. It would have been funny except that then my Grandmother slipped on the grease and she too hit the floor!
We didn't stay late that night!!

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