I watched this episode when it first aired back in November 2000 and I've watched it a few times since then because I love The West Wing. And each time when it comes to the part where the turkey price is named, I always have the same thought....what kind of moron would spend almost 300 bucks on a turkey?? Well, now I have my answer. That would be me. I'm the moron.
So last May, I headed on down to the local feed store to buy a chive plant for my new herb garden. Nothing else was on my list. Just a chive plant. And for reasons I cannot even begin to explain, I walked out of that store with my chive plant and an impulse buy of a $2 baby turkey. Upon returning to The Homestead, the conversation went something like this:
The Husband: Whatcha got there?
Me: It's a baby turkey.
The Husband: Please tell me you're kidding.
Me: Nope. We're going to raise it for Thanksgiving. It's going to be awesome.
The Husband: It's not going to be awesome.
Me: It IS going to be awesome. By the way, I've named him "Lincoln" because we're going to assassinate him.
The Husband: What is wrong with you??
I set up Lincoln's new digs in the laundry room. My chicken lady (and now my turkey lady) at the feed store told me to keep him inside for about two weeks or so before I put him out with the chickens. He lasted 5 days. He was loud. He stank. And he kept escaping out of his home and using my beautiful laundry room as a toilet. So outside he went.
From May until Thanksgiving, Lincoln roamed the orchard with the chickens. He ate with the chickens, he slept with the chickens, and he believed with all of his little turkey heart that he was, in fact, a chicken. He also pooped. A lot. Everywhere. He pooped inside the coop. He pooped on top of the coop. He pooped in the waterer. He pooped on the chickens. And one time, in a complete act of defiance, he pooped on my foot. This was a turkey who didn't want to be pardoned.
He did only one thing more than poop. He ate. Like a beast. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, Lincoln had gone through around $275 in organic, non-gmo turkey food. And he was HUGE. After having bought Lincoln, fed Lincoln, and made my kids clean up after Lincoln, I gave the chore of "offing" Lincoln to The Husband. I told him I wanted no part in this and that I didn't want to see Lincoln again until he looked like he came from the grocery store meat department. The Husband enlisted the help of his dad who enlisted the help of his brother (The Husband's uncle) who was probably less than thrilled to be roped into this.
I won't go into the gratuitous dirty details of it all, but it did involve a hatchet, a burlap sack, and extensive YouTube watching. The Uncle supervised from a safe distance and The Dad-In-Law held onto Lincoln whilst The Husband "did the deed". Here's what they learned: Turkeys are actually similar to chickens in that they truly do "run around like a chicken with its head chopped off". And Lincoln would have done just that except my dad-in-law was holding him. Except he wasn't holding him so much as he was riding him like a bull at the rodeo. No 8 Seconds to Glory for this guy. He went a full 90 seconds while holding on for dear life.
After watching many YouTube videos on this entire project, it was deemed necessary to buy a blowtorch to help in the plucking. So now we're out $275 in feed and blowtorch money. Of course, none of them read the directions which said "Remove Directions Before Using" so as a fun surprise, they had bits of burning paper flying around near the garage where the gasoline and paint thinner are kept. I wasn't a part of this so I cannot speak as to what all happened out there in the garage, but an hour or so later, I was told, "It is done."
Lincoln was displayed on a table in the garage and he would have looked like a grocery store turkey if he didn't weigh over 45 pounds!! One look told me he was not going to fit in my oven. Upon hearing my dismay, my cousin quipped, "Lincoln's Final Revenge: You can kill me...you just can't cook me!" After going through The Five Stages of Grief, I finally arrived at Acceptance. Lincoln was not going to be a Martha Stewart turkey displayed in the center of the Thanksgiving dinner table surrounded by kale and grapes. So we cut him in half. One half went on the gas grill and the other half went into the newly purchased counter top roaster I had to buy because I still couldn't find a pan big enough for half of a Lincoln. (If you're keeping track, we're now out $275 in feed, blowtorch money, and now the money spent on the biggest non-commercial grade roaster on the market. We have surpassed the cost of a White House-worthy bird.)
We had a big ol' Thanksgiving dinner with family and everyone took home Leftover Lincoln. We ate on him for three more days and then the rest of him was divided up into dinner-sized portions and put in the freezer. A few days later, Chuckles went to get something out of the freezer and was darkly amused to see that I had labeled the freezer bags "Lincoln 11/2014".
The question I've been asked the most is "But how did he taste?"
He was tasty. ;)
The follow-on question is "Will you do this again?"
Not in a million years.
Below are Lincoln's Before and After and In Between photos: