A Thanksgiving Tale

Hello community. Just a heads up this is completely unrelated to glowforge and has no place on this forum. But some of you have enjoyed my humor before. Plus I’m pulling an all nighter which will be explained shortly (though not briefly) and I’m a bit bored. And I like you people, so I wanted to share here.

Tonight I come to you with a tale of Thanksgiving BBQ. You may find some of the following events hard to believe. You may think I’ve spent a bit too much time in 2020 and am starting to let it get to me. Or maybe that I’ve watched too much (or to little) of Bojack Horseman. All of these things may be true. But around this time of year, Christmas spirit seems to dominate the air and leaves little room for the wonderment of Thanksgiving miracles. I felt that since I experienced one firsthand, I should share. If you chose to read further, then buckle in, it’s gonna be a long and bumpy one.

Both central to the story and the reason I currently have time to sit and record recent events so they may retire into legend. There’s a serenity to a smoker slowly billowing on a wet fall night. But a discerning reader may wonder about the timing of this smoker running. After all Thanksgiving is still a couple days away and Turkeys only take a few hours to cook. Well, I certainly can’t get anything past you. The answer is we’re having our Thanksgiving on Wednesday instead of Thursday. But wait, you say, that’s still too early. Ok…you’re good. I guess I should back up a few days and start from the beginning.

I think it was Friday. We had the turkey getting ready to go. It was thawing in the fridge. But its 2020, and few things go according to plan. So late in the afternoon someone rings the doorbell. I look out the window and I don’t see anyone. Figured it must’ve been the Fedex guy dropping off a package or something, so I go to open the door and see if there’s a package. The dogs are going ballistic btw. Well there’s no package at the door. No Fedex truck in sight. Now, I understand that I’m about to lose a lot of you here. And I totally get that. I’m trying to process this myself still and I actually experienced it. But when I open the door, all I find is a cute, but angry looking penguin.

It wasn’t your typical Emperor penguin or whatever, but it definitely was a penguin. I’ve done a lot of googling and I’m like 90% sure it was a “Humboldt penguin”, but to be perfectly honest, I have no real knowledge of penguins. But if you do an image search for Humboldt penguin, then that’s what he looked like. If you’re still with me then don’t worry, it gets weirder. First of all, the penguin walks directly into my house as soon as I opened the door. And I know penguins aren’t known for their speed, but again…I was expecting a package and your first reaction to a penguin at your door isn’t to slam the door. He just started coming in. I kinda just got out of the way. The dogs weren’t helpful either, of course.

Now, I said he was angry looking. I’ve never actually seen an angry penguin before (at least before this). But there was just something in his eyes the way he looked at you. Trust me, this penguin was not happy. Ok, I don’t even know how to tell this next part without sounding insane. But it is what it is and there’s no real way around telling it if I want you to understand why I’m running my smoker right now.

If there was any doubt about the emotional state of this penguin, it vanished the instant he opened his beak and started tearing into me. Not physically assaulting me…I mean verbally attacking me. He spoke in pretty plain English (though he had trouble with pronouncing S’s…not a lisp exactly, but a distinct impediment. I think maybe cause they don’t have teeth). He spoke really fast and I was obviously taken off guard so please forgive me for paraphrasing. But he basically said he was the “Thanksgiving Penguin”. He said that like it was something I was supposed to know about. I tried looking it up afterwards and I couldn’t find much of anything. But he seemed to think that him being the Thanksgiving Penguin explained the fact that he was talking, and he refused to give any other explanation. Just got more and more annoyed at me not accepting his answer.

Also, if you’re like me, then once you get past the whole talking penguin thing, you may wonder why a penguin and not a turkey. I mean…Thanksgiving right? I tried to get into this with the penguin and let me just say, this was the biggest minefield I’ve ever wandered into. He seemed SUUUPPPPEEERRR sensitive about being compared to a turkey no matter how indirectly. The second I brought up the other bird, the penguin got really defensive. It seems turkeys don’t have a super favorable reputation in the bird world? I tried to tread light. I was still pretty confused about the whole situation and I didn’t wanna antagonize him further. He could talk, who knows what else he was capable of.

Anyways, I said he was verbally assaulting me. What about, you may wonder. Well ironically enough, the turkey in my fridge. Seems that despite their poor reputation in the bird community, there is still enough commonality to warrant defense of the bird’s life. Again, I tried to dig into this a bit and found myself with my foot in my mouth. I may have accidentally noted out loud the common ground that turkeys and penguins have in being incapable of flying (hypothesizing that this commonality is maybe why the penguin was so upset with me for getting a turkey on Thanksgiving). Ok, that one touched on two sensitive areas with our impassioned friend. In any case, I didn’t get a lot of answers, and looking for them was only causing more trouble.

He wanted to take my turkey and I could be wrong, but I got the feeling he wasn’t going to leave without it. Still, I paid for the thing and I wasn’t going to give it up for free. Well as illtempered as the little guy was, he wasn’t unreasonable and seemed to be well versed in this…whatever it was he was doing. He offered me what you see here.

An American Wagyu brisket from Snake River Farms. I’m not stupid and as unconventional as it might be, this was an amazing trade for my $.99/lb turkey. I did hesitate to take beef from someone I didn’t know. My first thought was “he’s a penguin, how did he even get a brisket”. But he was obviously a very capable penguin. He could both speak and was about to leave my house with my turkey. I have no reason to believe it was beyond his capability to acquire such a cut of meat. And like I said, I didn’t feel like he was going to leave without my turkey. So I accepted his trade.

He seemed satisfied, though definitely not happy, with the result of his trip to my house. I heard him mumbling something as he waddled out. I didn’t catch much of it. But it was something about a cow and it seemed tinged with romantic jealousy. It left me wondering if he really was the Thanksgiving Penguin or if maybe he’s just some random talking penguin with a grudge. I don’t know that it really matters much in the end. But I kinda like to think that he was telling the truth. I’ve given it some thought and it makes a certain amount of sense. I mean…how totally awkward would that have been if it really was a Thanksgiving Turkey, asking me for his brother’s corpse. And if there is in fact a Thanksgiving Penguin, then don’t you kinda think a begrudging attitude would be understandable if that job was just convincing people to not eat Turkeys on Thanksgiving?

So there. That’s why my smoker is running. And while it may not have the same pizzazz and flare as a Christmas miracle, I think my penguin visitor really was a little manifestation of Thanksgiving magic. So this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the hard and thankless work that the Thanksgiving Penguin puts in on behalf of his fellow flightless brethren. I’m thankful for the wonderful gift of wagyu he brought me. And I’m thankful for you reading this all the way to the end.


I await a photo of the Thanksgiving brisket at carving time.


Will do. Here’s an inprogress one to satiate you in the meantime.


That was a fun story.

Ever since we moved cross country and I no longer host Thanksgiving for family and friends, I learned several truths.

One-I have no idea how to make a holiday dinner for just 4 people, my brain is permanently hardwired to 15-20.

Two-after the first Thanksgiving of making enough food for 20 people, and only having myself, husband, and two small children, we realised that one day of holiday food was enough…eating it for every single meal for a week straight was a bit excessive…and…

Three-we don’t like turkey.

So for the next two years I bought a chicken and told the kids it was baby turkey so they could still fight over the wishbone, while I prepped a steak and some sides for the rest of the meal.

Then we realized it was just the 4 of us, so we could do whatever we wanted. Our first non-traditional Thanksgiving, we went to Vegas and ate at a Thanksgiving buffet before heading to the Grand Canyon.

Then we discovered that most people are with friends and family eating all day at their houses, but that theme parks were still open, and EMPTY. So we started going to Sea World, Knott’s Berry Farm, etc and enjoying crowdless lines.

Last year we flew across country and bought a car on Black Friday and drove it home.

This year we aren’t leaving the house…probably make sushi and veg out at home, it’s been a really long year, and we need a break.


Yay for bucking traditions and going your own way. I’m also not a big fan of turkey (perhaps obviously) and hate having tons of left over bird too. We live across country from my family and aren’t travelling this year. So it’ll just be me, my 3 year old, and my vegetarian-curious wife working on this. Clearly I struggle with portioning as you did. But I’d much rather have tons of left over brisket than turkey :smiley:.


You’re certainly a great story teller - I couldn’t stop reading!
Happy thanksgiving! Enjoy your meal.


Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. It was fun to write in my sleepless stupor.


Holy smokes, you musta knocked over a bank!

Thanks for the chuckle, and eat hearty.


:smiley: Not the cheapest source of meat admittedly, but in my area of the country, good BBQ is hard to find. I have been wanting an excuse to get a fancy brisket for a while and decided that I’d just pull the trigger. It’d be a shame to spend the money on a nice smoker and then never put high quality beef in it :slight_smile: .

The meat is resting now so I’ll be slicing soon. I’ll probably eat first but will upload the promised cut photos later.


You lost me at the penguin, but I did notice the brisket as the same exact one that arrived at my house this week. Those SRF boxes show up every couple of weeks, generally with steak, but this week it was a brisket. My husband loves his Egg and is always trying to find good sources for meat.

I believe he is cooking it Friday. Will share pics when it is finished.


It looks amazing! Thank you for entertaining us! Happy Thanksgiving!

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As promised to @dklgood here are the carving pictures. Sorry for the bad pictures. I’m no photographer and was hungry and eager to dig in.

This was my first Wagyu brisket and I was not disappointed. It was easily the best brisket I have ever prepared, perhaps the best I have consumed.


Thanks for the photo. That looks amazing!

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That looks amazing. I just discovered that there is a local rancher here in east Texas that grows and distributes wagyu beef…the hunt begins.


Dang that looks delicious!

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