Falling in Love With a Man and His Turkey Butts
How many times have you heard that one?!
You may be shocked to learn that last year’s Thanksgiving story did not go over well probably because it celebrated turkey butts, a part of your Thursday feast that your bird will no longer have. This tends to be a relief because butts of all creatures that we consume are not particularly relished in our country. I will not blame the Puritans on this aversion to a body part they may have considered obscene, but I will note that their turkeys most definitely came with their butts attached. Nevertheless, I really wanted to cook them, but I couldn’t find a single butt in any markets within about a 25-mile radius of home. They were available at a fancy online meat provider, but by then, as the men in the family forcefully pointed out, Thanksgiving was over and I had to give the whole turkey thing a rest.
You may then imagine my joy when I recently came upon smoked turkey butts in a Caribbean food market near my sister’s house in Philadelphia! Three butts are now sitting on my kitchen counter, and I found a recipe so awesome that my husband won’t do his usual harangue about what I’m making him eat.
We have now, finally, arrived at the real heart of this story, in which I fall in love with another man. His name is Philly Boy Jay.
Why I am in love with Philly Boy Jay, other than he’s from my native city and seems to root for the Flyers, and will do practically anything to spend a lot of time in his kitchen:
He has a deep and abiding love for his family’s food heritage and recipes.
He generously shares them.
He is a great unpretentious cook from the school of “come on into my small, slightly messy kitchen and we’ll cook up real food with stuff all those professional cooks would gag on.”
He’s funny and down to earth, and I bet he gives the best hugs.
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Philly Boy Jay got his start around 2007 or so by creating videos of him cooking up his recipes. I watch them whenever I feel like I’m alone in the nonprofessional food world. On average, that comes out to at least once a week. He’s on all the other social media platforms, but video is the only way you will gain a true sense of his cooking power. His recipes are nothing the world hasn’t seen before but should be at the top of all our repertoire. You learn in the manner of standing at a good cook’s side, meaning you will steal his expertise with your eyes: he doesn’t give measurements and they require a familiarity with general cooking methods. This is a way that’s increasingly lost in our exact recipe world and it can be daunting. Some may be frustrated by Philly Boy Jay and be turned off by his ways. That’s okay. It just gives more of him for me to crush on.
Hey, folks!!! This ya boy, Philly Boy Jay!!! You may know me from YouTube or phillyjaycooking.com. I was born and raised in the beautiful City of Brotherly Love!!! I come from a family of great home cooks and certified chefs. Cooking is my passion... but what I love most is sharing my talents with the world and helping others improve their cooking skills in the process. I will be uploading tons of cooking tutorials onto YouTube and my website, showing you guys a variety of recipes and cooking everything from main courses, salads, appetizers, and side dishes to desserts, beverages, and more. My videos will help to improve the cooking skills of newbies learning how to make delicious recipes in a way that's simple and easy to understand! I have a unique, precise, and effective style of teaching. So if you're looking for a fun and fast way to honing your cooking skills, you've come to the right place.
There is no greater illustration of Philly Boy Jay’s deep knowledge and charms than his recipe for turkey butts.
There is another, in many ways more potent reason, why I love this man—he is a real person who unselfishly shares his life’s joys and trials. Readers of America Eats! know I’m a sucker for someone who talks honestly about his or her struggles with depression and anxiety. Philly Boy Jay has a lot of friends who care for him—and I will say it again, he must give the best hugs to so courageously allow us into his pain. That he has survived it and flourished is surely due in no small measure by inviting us to his table.
So I’m off to cook my turkey butts and serve them tonight without telling my husband what they are, nor my sons when they come over and wonder what are all those good smells smacking their senses alive when they open the door.
And the verdict:
Upon being presented with his plate, my husband warily asks, “this chicken?”
I let a beat pass before finally admitting, “turkey butt.”
We’ve lived together long enough for him to consider he’s stuck with me, so he grimaces and takes a hesitant bite.
“Good?” I ask.
“It’s fatty,” he says.
“Put some hot sauce on it,” I say.
He douses the meat with a good slap of the bottle and about a half hour later he takes his pretty empty plate to the kitchen.
“So what do you think?” I ask again because I think it’s pretty damn tasty.
“It’s okay,” he replies. “You’re going to have to give me a stomach rest for awhile.”
Judging results: His opinion centers on turkey butts being fatty—after all, they’re a big bird’s butt—but the meat is incredibly rich and pleasant smoky with the sauce adding a pronounce silkiness to the dish. As Philly Boy says, be careful with your salt and, heeding that advice, I’d cut back on the bouillon cubes. Other than that, turkey butts make a very fine and fairly cheap meal. The next time I make it for my husband’s dinner, I’ll add some kinds of bitter greens to the side and a hefty square of sweet corn bread to balance the meat’s lusciousness.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May you all take the time to put up your feet to enjoy the company! ~ Pat