Let’s be real: Nobody likes roasted turkey.
Screw the pilgrims and skip the turkey this Thanksgiving. Make a delicious crown roast of pork instead.
Roasting turkeys at Thanksgiving is a sad and pointless tradition that inflicts needless misery on tens of millions of diners, not to mention turkeys, every Thanksgiving.
Yes, people like Thanksgiving dinner, but not because of turkey. They like stuffing and mashed potatoes and creamed spinach and whatever other butter-laden sides their families make. Turkey, especially the white meat of the turkey, is dried out and tough at most American homes, and must be doused in gravy before consumption.
“But it’s good when you douse it in gravy,” turkey defenders routinely protest. This is not a defence. Anything is good if you douse it in gravy.
“But I have a great brining technique that makes my turkey moist,” you might say. Good for you. There’s a whole industry built around getting moisture into turkey meat. Williams-Sonoma has figured out that people will pay $US17 for a 9-oz. tin of salt, sugar and spices if you market it as a way to prevent turkey from being dry and horrible.
This only emphasises the sadness of turkey: With great effort and brining and salting and flipping and other kitchen jiu-jitsu, it can be upgraded from bad to unobjectionable. But even after all that effort, it doesn’t become awesome, just O.K.
This is why you should give up on the turkey and go for a meat that has a high enough fat content to be delicious on its own: a crown roast of pork.
The crown roast is 12 bone-in pork rib chops, tied into a circle. (You can get your butcher to do the trimming and the tying.) I’m partial to this recipe from Gourmet magazine in 2005, which involves stuffing the roast with more pork.
Which brings me to a key point: You can still stuff a crown roast and make gravy for it, in fact, that’s encouraged. But the stuffing and the gravy serve as pleasant accompaniments to the crown roast, instead of crutches without which the meat is unpalatable.
And a crown roast makes for a dramatic presentation at the table, much like a whole roasted turkey. But unlike with the turkey, the presentation of the roast is not followed by disappointment when people actually eat it.
Thanksgiving shouldn’t suck. And with pork, it doesn’t have to.
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