Meat Carving: A Holiday Guide to Manliness
As we all know, King Christopher Columbus traveled the ocean blue in 1772 in hopes to one day freely visit riverboat casino’s, blitz quarterbacks with inside middle linebackers, eat Baconators and grow swanky facial hair to support men’s cancer research. Through time, ALL of Chris Columbus’ dreams came true and to commemorate Nikolai Tesla, Benjamin Franklin and Pocahontas created the yearly event known as Thanksgiving where families and friends gather to get really hammered in the middle of the week and eat a huge home cooked turkey dinner the following day to cure their hangovers.
Since we’re all clear on Thanksgiving history and nobody really wants to check my facts, I wanted to shed some light on one of the most important parts of the Thanksgiving Holiday. No, don’t worry, giving thanks to Matt Lauer for properly showing his Ohio Bobcat pride every year at the Macy’s Thankgiving Day Parade isn’t on my agenda, today you’re going to get schooled on the proper etiquette and technique needed to carve the perfect bird … Welcome to Turkey Carving 101 with Team Tallsome’s slightly taller and frattier half.
Step 1 – Grab a drink
Every year since about the fourth grade I’ve tried to quit my family for one reason or another (most of which having to do with everyone hating on Star Wars). This year will be no different and the onset of Yuengling being sold in Ohio is a great way to make my early exit from the dinner table a little less stressful. (EDITORS NOTE: I have been trying to quit my family for so long I have finally devised away to get fired from the family. Fear not, I’ll elaborate on the execution of said plan at a later date.)
If you interact with us at the Bro Journey, you’ll know we take our beer very seriously and we feel that you’re turkey pops should also be chosen with as much guile as you took in picking the perfect bird for the day. I highly recommend any kind of local or holiday craft beer, anything that your weird cousin will drink with you (look for products with “Ice” in the title) or the timeless tradition of stealing some of Grandpap’s Schlitz. Either way, grab a drink and relax a little, you have a mustache and are in charge of carving meat…that is pretty damn manly, if you ask me.
Step 2 – Gather your supplies
By now you have hopefully recognized your colossal hangover and worked on your first hair of the dog, realized that you didn’t set your fantasy roster and your team is screwed (again), fielded about 32 mass “Happy Thanksgiving” texts from people who haven’t texted you since you had a Motorola Razr back in 2002 and you will now hopefully be coming to the conclusion that this year’s festivities rely on your ability to slice meat.
With that said, it would be wise to gather your food cutting utensils before the entire day is ruined and Grandma tells everyone she had better Thanksgivings during the Great Depression. If you use an electric cutter, you will need to make sure you won’t ignite the house if you tools are a little dated. If you are using an old school knife you will need to keep it out of reach of the little ones and please remember to put the post it note saying, “Sharpen Cutting Knives” in a strategic location because you are definitely going to finally get to that tomorrow. Translation: Put the post it note directly back on the knives when finished cutting, you’re not gonna sharpen those damn things. Next year is definitely the year though.
Step 3 – Pregame Preperations
The bird is your canvas and everything you do to carve and create the meal will be your gift to the pallets of those who you love, don’t screw it up. At the appropriate time take the bird out remove your bird from the oven and get situated for the most difficult part of meat carving…getting the damn thing out of that bag. What I’ve learned through the years is to keep the boiling hot juices because someone will undoubtedly make some kind of stew, broth oatmeal bath out of that and you will lose your right to seconds of dressing if you throw it out.
Please note, listening to your holiday playlist on Spotify will make this time much calmer and if you haven’t done so yet, get that awesome holiday sweater on your body immediately.
Step 4 – Take your perch
The moment has finally arrived. After hours of cooking, minutes of awkward conversation with your Dad about what you’re really going for to finish up your 14th semester at college and (hopefully) a few turkey soda’s down the drain of your gullet, your moment of glory is here.
When you prepare to slice your once-feathered friend, be sure to ask how everyone like their turkey served. Be sure to make some tiny slices for the little ones who might not have the chomping ability as your 357 pound Uncle who brought his own bucket for leftovers. A great way to avoid a holiday disaster is to NEVER toss turkey entrails, skin or any other by-product down the drain. It will get stuck. It will stink. And you will ruin everything. Don’t flush the stuff, just pitch it in the backyard (or in your sisters new car).
As you take the first plunge with your favorite knife (or saw) remember to go with the grain of the meat and always take your time. The only thing you have to worry about leaving is your girlfriend after she has had to actually interact with your kin and she now knows how long it took you to officially be housebroken and that most of the heroic high school sporting stories you told her are false and are actually from the book you read about Bevo Francis.
As you make your long and slow cuts take this time to think about the sacrifice Benjamin Franklin made when he and Pocahontas first had their turkey dinner together. Also take this time to reflect on how awkward old Benny Boy must have felt after John Smith showed up the following year wearing a headdress. The main cuts will be taken from the breast and will be white meat where the tiny cuts down a little deeper will be dark meat, everyone likes their meat much differently. Remember to take this time to remove the turkey leg and eat it immediately. Team Tallsome loves us some turkey legs. And finally, remember to wrap up the excess meat for the obligatory turkey sandwiches and toss some scraps to the pup.
Step 5 – Be sappy
All kidding aside, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to spend quality time with your family and friends. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that nothing ever stays the same and your expectations mean nothing to the universe, so take this time and enjoy the moment you’re in with those around you. This year, our family of friends at home will be without two of our closest members and it is going to be pretty tough. I challenge those close to the Bro Journey to not miss the opportunity to take this year to let everyone know how much they mean to you.
Step 6 – Comatose
After you cut up the bird, eat enough food to feed and entire village and devour some pumpkin pie, you are entitled to one of the best parts of the day … napping. If people ask you to help clean up you can always act like you’re going to play with their kids and run away from the kitchen as quick as humanly possible. By this point, the tryptophan will slowly be entering your blood stream and it will be a holiday miracle if you can even stand up.
Well friends, that about wraps it up. As this year’s Thanksgiving rapidly approaches remember to give thanks to those around you, only pick the strongest members of your family in touch football and know that there is ALWAYS room for Jell-O.