“My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.”
I have been telling my wife and children a Christmas lie. Many years ago, I said my fondest memory of Christmas day was not having to go anywhere, but being able to stay home and play with all my new toys. I never wanted to travel to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, or to Auntie and Uncle’s house for dinner, because my new toys were all at home.
And so, to bring that same joy to my children, I would do as my mother had done, and make Christmas dinner, and others could come to our house for the feast rather than the other way around.
They bought it. Suckers!
You wanna stay home and play with your toys? Whatev. This is about me, and Daddy wants to get fucked up on Christmas day, so let’s do the math.
Not having to drive anywhere + making a mega feast for a bunch of people = license to Ernest Hemingway your B.A.C.
Besides, getting hammered does some Rain Man kinda shit for my timing, and when it comes to making a big-ass Christmas dinner for a lot of people, timing is everything.
The Motherfucking Turkey
Don’t cock this up.
I don’t care how much you romanticize that caveman bullshit, we live in land of modern technology. Although my mom is a helluva cook, she had this one failing and that was a firm belief in some “20 minutes per pound” fuckery that has led to more than one dry turkey I’ve had to choke down while my mom blubbered, “Oh! The turkey is dry!” And I was all like, “No, it’s not dry, Mom. It’s perfect. I like it this way. Can I have another glass of water, please?”
My parents split when I was six, and my father is an equally excellent cook, and he said, “Son, just get a meat thermometer.”
Actually, he probably said “fucking meat thermometer.”
Anyway: meat thermometer. You get one. Thermometer thermometer thermometer. Now it sounds weird.
Oh, and get a turkey too. Don’t cheap out. Cheap turkeys are gross. Fuck organic though. That’s paying a stupidity tax.
Fresh Butterballs are not too bad, but I usually go for the step up from there. I have done the “buy all the fresh herbs and chop them up and mix them into a paste with butter and smear it on the turkey” thing, and the turkey didn’t taste one bit different. Waste of time and money.
As for size, the rule of thumb is a pound per person plus a couple because turkey sandwiches are awesome. On average I cook for 15 people each year (one year I cooked for 21). When it’s 15, I usually get a 17-18 pounder and that means I get to have a couple sammiches. I love me some turkey sammiches.
Oh, the spice thing. Just shake a bunch of poultry seasoning all over the top of the turkey. It makes the house smell nice.
Also, and if you like, and you’re not kosher, because Jews eat Christmas dinner too or it’s a war on Christmas, lay a half dozen strips of bacon across the top of the turkey.
We will get to that thermometer shit later.
Feliz Navidad, motherfuckers.
I said timing is everything, but that means you want all the food to be ready at the same time. I never said you’d have a fucking clue what time dinner was going to be. And people get hungry, so before they start eating the candy canes off the Christmas tree you need to offer them some snacks. And yeah, you can put some shit out like potato chips, or some healthy stuff like a fruit and vegetable platter, but if you make motherfucking Christmas guacamole then it shows you got some swagger.
I make a lot, and it’s always gone by the time dinner is served. Here is what you need:
- Four or five avocados. Should be on the soft side when you squeeze them.
- One bell pepper that is either red, yellow or orange. NOT green.
- One medium-sized white onion.
- Half a tomato.
- Fresh cilantro, unless you’re one of those weird genetic anomalies for whom cilantro tastes like soap, then skip it.
- A generous dollop of sour cream.
- A few squirts of lime juice.
- This shit right here. Use quite a bit.
Put the avocadoes in the bowl first and mash those fuckers good with a potato masher. Chop the everloving shit out of everything else and mix it up but good. Serve with chips or just let people scoop it out with their bare hands cuz they’re paleo troglodytes or something.
If for some reason there are leftovers, you throw that shit out. Day old guacamole looks like you fed a golden retriever puppy habanero sauce and he assploded into a bowl.
This recipe is brought to you by my best friend, Craig. I may have stolen a few of his lines in his original recipe that he wrote for me 15 or so years ago.
- 2 loaves of whole wheat, whole grain bread
- 1 bunch of celery
- 1 onion
- Some brown mushrooms
- 1 cup of original Craisins
- ½ cup of wild rice
- Poultry seasoning
- That chicken OXO shit
- Olive oil
- Optional: dry summer sausage.
- Salt and pepper
Using a serrated knife cut all the bread into squares about ½ – ¾ of an inch. You’ll need to do at least two and probably three cookie sheets worth. Do NOT try and toast them all at once.
Take a third of the bread cubes and create a layer on a cookie sheet.
OH SHIT! I almost forgot! You should be drinking by now. Bottoms up, piss tank.
Anyway, one third of bread cubes on cookie sheet, drizzle with fairly generous amount of olive oil. Cover with a moderate amount of poultry seasoning. Put on a bit of salt and pepper. Then take that and put on the second highest level in the oven and broil (not bake) for about five minutes.
Muy fucking importante!
This shit will go from perfect to motherfucking burnt inside of 30 seconds. Keep close watch.
Do that two more times and dump all that shit into the biggest bowl you have.
Now, take that ½ cup of wild rice and put it in a big measuring cup along with 1 cup of water and a packet of the chicken OXO shit. Mix it up and nuke for about 3 minutes. When done, drain most of the water (leave a little) and dump into the bowl.
Do the exact same thing as you did with the rice with the Craisins. Speaking of Craisins, I know some people like to use apples instead. These people are known as heathens who don’t love Jesus, because Jesus told me it’s supposed to be Craisins.
Dice up the onion and celery and fry in a pan with olive oil on medium. When close to being done, throw in the sliced up mushrooms. When the whole mix is soft, throw into the bowl. Oh, I just realized I never told you to drain and throw the Craisins in the bowl. Duh.
Finally, if you want, take that dry summer sausage and dice it into small pieces. Don’t use too much. Cuz bum cancer. Well, more cuz it will overpower the taste.
Mix up like a mofo.
Now here is the line I stole from Craig: Cram it all up the poor bastard’s pooper who so valiantly gave his life so you could develop a food coma.
And here is the part where I tell some people to fuck off.
It’s just like those sauce shamers from my motherfucking lasagna recipe. There are stuffing shamers who say shit like, “Oh, don’t stuff the bird! You must bake the stuffing separately or the bird will get dried out. I prefer to deep-fry my bird because it’s just the juici—SHUT-UP-SHUT-UP-SHUT-THE-FUCK-UP!!!
This is MY motherfucking Christmas dinner and my tradition is that I like stuffing things inside other things because it makes me feel like a man. And I call bullshit on the drying the turkey out crap. My turkeys are always juicy because I don’t buy some shitty B grade inbred mutant turkey that was fed industrial waste to fatten it up.
Oh, and keep drinking. Remember, you’ve earned getting sloppy.
Anyway, grab a handful of stuffing and compress it like you’re making a snowball. Repeat until you’ve crammed as much in there as humanly possible. Ignore the dumbfucks who say, “Don’t overstuff the turkey because it will—just shut the fuck up. It will be fine.
Stuff both ends. I like to pin the flaps closed with bamboo skewers so shit doesn’t fall out all over creation.
Cooking the Motherfucking Turkey
Now that Elvis – Christmas turkeys are always called Elvis because when he comes out you get to say, “Elvis has left the oven” – is all stuffed up, that’s when you do the poultry seasoning bacon thing. Cover with a tent of tinfoil and bake at 325.
For a bird of this size it’s going to take at least four or more hours, so get your drink on.
Cook the bird to 170-175 internal temperature. Keep an eye on that meat thermometer, jammed deep into the tit, to judge the other shit that’s going on so you can have everything ready at the same time.
Oh, and basting is pretty useless, just FYI.
Listen, I like mashed potatoes and gravy as much as the next guy, but this is a better choice on Christmas day for one good reason: take them out of the oven and serve.
When you’re fucking around with forty-eleven other things all happening at once and you’re B.A.C. is approaching bar fight levels the last thing you’re going to want to do is mash and mix the potatoes. That recipe is for a forthcoming dinner I’ll write up in the New Year.
Anyway, get three or four big fat fucking yams. Peel and slice into ½ inch layers and boil with a bit of salt for about 8 minutes. Drain and cool.
Mix this shit all together. Amounts are a guess because I just eyeball this shit. Cuz I’m getting kinda drunk by this point.
- 1/3 cup of butter, soft but not melted
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup white flour
- ¼ cup maple syrup
Layer the yams overlapping in a big baking dish and smear the goo with a spatula over them. Drizzle some more maple syrup over the lot. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
When the turkey comes out, these go in for 20 minutes at same temp.
Twenty minutes. Clock is ticking, motherfucker. You better be fucked up at this point, because it’s the only way you’ll survive with your sanity intact. You have now achieved …
Motherfucking Critical Mass
Tick fucking tock.
First things first: Eat the bacon. Maybe give one or two away if you’re feeling generous.
Take the bird out of the pan and put it on the serving tray. De-stuff that fucker fast and put the stuffing into a big-ass serving dish and cover the dish to keep it warm. Cover the bird with tinfoil and let it sit for about ten minutes. Then call your friend Craig over to carve that sucker up, because you’ll be too busy doing other shit. Craig is good at it, and you suck.
Don’t fuck this one up. It’s what brings it all together.
Take the turkey drippings from the pan and pour into a decent sized pot, taking note of the approximate volume of liquid. After the bird has cooled for 10 minutes you’re going to transfer it from the serving tray to the cutting board and pour what dripped onto the serving tray into the pot as well.
Add three packages of McCormick International gravy mix for poultry, and one package of the same brand of their green peppercorn gravy mix.
Yes, four packages, because not having enough gravy is a hate crime.
Add in the appropriate amount of water based on total liquid content, whisk like a motherfucker, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to medium low heat. Add in just a tiny dash of red wine. Then have a big drink of red wine yourself. You’ve earned it.
And now, for the secret ingredient.
Trust me on this. Do this. Very important. You’ll not regret it.
Add in 1.5 ounces – one of those little airplane bottles worth – of Drambuie.
Whisk regularly and as you get closer to serving dinner turn the temp down as low as it will go.
Oh, yeah. You should have boiled some carrots at this point. That’s not hard. You can handle it.
Also, asparagus is a good add. One of those steamer things is nice to have. But don’t start too soon because soggy asparagus is gross. Not as gross as the way it makes your pee smell, but still pretty gross.
Put out the (whole) cranberry sauce and watch no one eat it. Cover and put back in the fridge for use in sandwiches the next day.
Buy some light, fluffy white flour buns that put Dr. Atkins’ grave on spin cycle. They’re awesome for mopping up leftover gravy.
Serving a Bunch of Motherfuckers
When the yams are done everything should be ready at the same time. Craig has finished carving the turkey, the carrots are drained and the asparagus is about two minutes from being done. The last thing you do is pouring the gravy into gravy boats. For 15 people it’s best to have two boats.
Buffet style is the way to go with that many people. And you get to go first, because chef’s privilege.
So grab a fresh alcoholic beverage, sit back and stuff food in face hole. When your gluttony is complete, stagger over to a comfortable chair, undo your pants, ask for someone to bring you another drink, and watch everyone else clean up the chaos you’ve left in your wake while they all praise how awesome dinner was.
Motherfucking Hangover Food
A great way to feel like you won’t die is to drink some Gatorade before bed.
But you’re still gonna feel kinda shitty. So have yourself a sammich:
- Spread cold gravy on one piece of bread. Don’t skimp.
- Mayo on the other piece of bread.
- Lots of turkey
- Then add lots of stuffing, compressed into a layer in your hands
- Add a bit of salt and pepper
- Put on some cranberry sauce – trust me on this
Then stuff that sammich in your hungover face, wash it down with a beer, and watch TV all day.
Merry Christmas, motherfucker.
James S. Fell is an internationally syndicated fitness columnist for the Chicago Tribune and author of Lose it Right: A Brutally Honest 3-Stage Program to Help You Get Fit and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind, published by Random House Canada. He also interviews celebrities about their fitness stories for the Los Angeles Times, and is head fitness columnist for AskMen.com and a regular contributor to Men’s Health.