A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

It’s all gravy.

My turkey gravy rocks. Ask anyone.

Follow this recipe and yours will too.*

May I present, The Art of Making Perfect Turkey Gravy, in four parts:

1.) The Turkey Stock

Sure, you could use store bought stock, but why would you when it is so easy to make it at home for pennies?

Early Thanksgiving morning, as soon as you are done chasing your little brother around while pretending the turkey’s neck is a big floppy penis, get out an 8 quart saucepan and fill it with the following ingredients:

  • the turkey’s neck and giblets
  • a halved yellow onion with the skin still on
  • a celery heart (keep the leaves!)
  • 1 scrubbed carrot (not peeled)
  • about 12 whole cracked black peppercorns
  • one clove
  • about 6 cups of water (you may need to add more)

Put it on the back burner and slowly simmer that mofo all day. Just before the turkey’s done, remove all the stuff out of the stock with a slotted-spoon and taste the stock for seasoning. Add some salt, to taste. Keep it warm on the stove near the burner where you are going to make the gravy.

If you like a meaty gravy, like I do, pick the meat off that turkey neck and chop it finely. Or, for funsies, hand it to your Mother-in-Law and watch her suck the meat off it while you and your sisters crack all kinds of inappropriate jokes. Chop up the giblets too. You can add all of that nastiness to the gravy and it will make it taste even more turkeyriffic.

2.) Preparation G

Now that your stock is simmering, get the rest of the gravy ingredients measured into separate lidded prep bowls. The French call this cooking technique mise en place. You see TV chefs doing it all the time because it is easier to chit chat while you toss premeasured ingredients into the pot. Trust me, when your kitchen is a flurry of chaos 30 minutes before dinner is served, you’ll be so glad you don’t have to stop, think, and measure the ingredients for your roux, which are:

  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. dry sherry

If you are serving a huge crowd like my family (22+ people), you will want to double this. Trust me. Better to have too much than not enough.

Next, assemble all the special gravy making tools you’ll need (see below) and just put them on the counter until gravy time. You may need your anal-retentive husband to sign a waiver indicating that he supports the new temporary pile of gadgets in plain view and that he promises not to put everything away where it really belongs the minute you leave the kitchen to do a shot of Sambuca.

3.) Harvest the Drippings

As soon as the turkey is done, pour all the drippings from the roasting pan into your handy-dandy fat separator (keep the spout stopper IN while you do this…it will keep the fat at the top so you can pour off the good juices from the hole in the bottom). Don’t have a fat separator? Sorry, you’re fucked. Kidding. Just skim off as much fat as you can. But seriously, buy a fat separator for next year, m’kay?

Now pour the defatted drippings back into the empty roasting pan and add 3/4 cup of water. Heat it up on top of your stove over medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom and sides of the roasting pan. Then transfer that juicy brown awesomesauce to a bowl. You’ll need it in a few minutes.

4.) Roux, roux, roux your boat.

Now’s the time you will need those premeasured ingredients I mentioned above. Hopefully you took my advice and they are all sitting in their own little lidded prep bowls, patiently waiting for you. If not, pray you’re not too drunk by now to measure things correctly.

Slowly melt your butter in your saucier or sauce pan. Pay attention and don’t let it burn, Missy! Now add your flour. Stir rapidly with a whisk to cook the gumminess out of the flour. Do this for a couple of minutes until the roux is golden and bubbly.

Rapidly whisk in your reserved juicy awesomesauce and about two cups of your homemade turkey stock (or 4 cups if you doubled the recipe).

Now cook and whisk until the gravy is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 5 minutes or so…I have no sense of time while I’m whisking…or buzzed).

Stir in the dry sherry and season with salt and pepper. Add in the chopped giblet and neck meat if desired.

Pour the gravy into a warmed sauceboat. Makes 2 to 2 1/2 cups (4-5 cups if doubled). And don’t be surprised if you catch your Uncle Cleofus licking the gravy boat at some point in the evening.

Now, even if your cousin Earline clogs your toilet and Aunt Patty teaches your kids new racial slurs, you’ll still have the best gravy in town. And after all, it’s all gravy.

*Disclaimer: I totally stole this recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen years ago, so you can trust it. But listen, beeyotch, I’m a comedy writer, not a chef. This is how I make my gravy every damn year. If it doesn’t work for you, I will not be held personally responsible. Follow this recipe and my tips at your own risk. 

Oh, like you’ve never chased someone with a turkey neck,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.


  1. Julie

    I love this! Can I link it to the bottom of my obnoxious know-it-all turkey tips?

    • The Bearded Iris

      Bitch, please. You know you’re my ninja. You don’t even have to ask. Link away! Now I feel bad though because I was planning on another Thanksgiving post tomorrow and was just going to link to your awesome turkey post without even asking! Holy rudeness, Batman. (Ahem!) Let me start over. Would you mind if I linked to your Turkey tips?

  2. Kristen Kotrlik

    I use the same recipe!!! And it’s NEVER enough… Of course, I could eat just stuffing and gravy…fuck the turkey.
    I posted on your Facebook about what we did with the turkey neck one year. Poor Great Gram.

    • The Bearded Iris

      We truly must be kin.

      I’ve tripled this recipe.
      Oooh, I bet we could mix it with vodka and do gravy shooters. You in?

  3. Ann

    I’ve never chased anyone with a turkey neck but I have placed one under the windshield wiper of my brother. My sisters were in on it, he didn’t find nearly as amusing as we did!

    Sounds delish but I’ll be at my sister’s house where she’ll do the cooking while I watch out the window to be sure no random turkey parts wind up on my car!

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING…gobble, gobble, gobble!

    • The Bearded Iris

      OMG, on the windshield? Really? I tip my hat to you, m’lady. I know you must make a mean pumpkin pie too. Save me a piece!

  4. Kathy C

    Ann is right. Our brother was not at all amused, but we thought it was a regular riot. Maybe that’s why he spends Thanksgiving with his in-laws now. When it comes to Thanksgiving Ann couldn’t possibly cook. She’s exhausted. By the way, does this turkey make my butt look big.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh Kathy. You two sound like TROUBLE, and me likee. If the turkey makes your butt look big, you should probably take it out of your pants. Works for me.

  5. Pricilla - Famous SpokesGoat

    I am a vegetarian goat but the publicist says she could drink gravy for breakfast. All she cares about is the gravy and potatoes.

    • The Bearded Iris

      WORD. I could live on the side dishes alone, especially the Fart Balls, I mean, Brussels Sprouts. I’m going to post my Corn Casserole recipe tomorrow. Crowd pleaser!

      • Pricilla - Famous SpokesGoat

        Now I LOVE brussels sprouts. Especially the stalk.

      • Trish the Dish

        I totally read that as “I’m going to post my cornhole casserole recipe tomorrow.” How Iris of me…

        • The Bearded Iris

          Bwahahahaha! Because what’s a Bearded Family Holiday without a rousing game of Cornhole?!

  6. Christy

    Oh Iris, I love you. If no one ever reads your replys to comments they are missing out. Thanks for the gravy recipe. Gravy intimidates me.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Aw shucks, Christy! Thanks!

      Here’s my best advice to you:

      Don’t Fear the Gravy (sing that to the tune of Don’t Fear the Reaper…with lots of cowbell)!

      Seriously. You can do it. All it takes is the right tools, premeasuring, and some good stock. Now go get your cowbell and make that gravy your bitch.

  7. Gina

    Now. I heard it said today (read online) that you really don’t need to hear an accent to know which side of the Mason Dixon you are from. Just tell me what you call it, stuffing or dressing. And ’round these here parts, it’s dressin’. I can’t make gravy for shit though. This recipe. I think I can do that. And my Mama does giblets in her gravy, along with chopped hard boiled eggs. Thinking I am gonna leave those two things out. Maybe neck meat will be good. Thanks Iris! I am sharing this post on FB with my frenimies so I will have it handy at the OBX where the Tainted woman and her offspring, and their offspring will be next week. All 12 of us. And in case you wonder, I only had 2 children. They are very fertile. At least my son and daughter in law are. Happy feasting!

    • The Bearded Iris

      True DAT! I call it stuffing. But I am a Yankee trapped in suburban North Georgia.

      And ew, hardboiled eggs in the gravy? This isn’t chopped liver. Forget the eggs, Mama!

      Yes, neck meat is yummy…at least that’s what my MIL says (slurp slurp slurp).

  8. Meili

    FART BALLS????? There is no way in HELL I’m eating anything called FART BALLS, Iris. No matter how cool you are, you cannot make me choke down a Brussel Sprout. No, Ma’am. But this gravy sounds highly possible. I’m off to the kitchen store tomorrow to buy a fat separator. Yee Haw!!! Gravy time!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Well now I have my new mission in life, Meili. Brussels Sprouts are my FAVE! Even more than kale. Seriously. But there is a right way and a wrong way to make them. Cruciferous vegetables are so good for you. And nothing says Happy Thanksgiving like igniting a fart at the table…dinner and a show!

  9. Allysgrandma

    Oh sweetie, I am way ahead of you……my husband does it, no does not chase me around with a limp turkey neck, he simmers it all day long and does the rest of the meal too. I know, I know all you beotches hate me……but hey I clean up!

    • The Bearded Iris

      We don’t hate you – we applaud you. Way to bag you an awesome man servant, girlfriend! We know the only “turkey neck” he chases you around with is far from limp. Again I say, you go girl!

  10. NanaBread (Jeanne)

    The one and only time liver EVER crosses my lips is Thanksgiving Day, when it comes in giblet gravy form. Unless, of course, you count that time when I had my neighbor’s… with a nice Chianti and some fava beans. *fvfvfvfvfvfvt*

    • The Bearded Iris

      The perfect complement for liver! LOL!

      Mmmmm, Chianti.

  11. By Word of Mouth Musings

    If I didn’t have a husband who is such a great cook that he could probable convince Paula Deen to whisper sweet nothings to him in a British accent … I would be right over!
    (turkey neck and a fly … was not where I thought you were going with that btw, but maybe you don’t call it turkey neck over here – wattle?)

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh you dear sweet exotic flower. No no no, not the wattle. That’s the red flappy thing. Or the loose flap of skin that appears under our chins as we age (remember Ali McBeal and the wattle obsession?) Either way, gross. I’m talking about the actual NECK of the turkey. It usually comes in the bag of giblets and you can’t miss it because it truly looks like a skinned penis. (Just guessing… not that I’ve ever skinned a penis. Gag.)

  12. Dawn@LightenUp!

    You had me at “big floppy penis.” But you lost me at “simmer that mofo all day.” Haha. Heinz gravy, .99 cent, here I come.
    You rock. I suck. Obviously.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Anyone who buys HEINZ anything is A-OK in my book, sweet thang.

  13. Jen

    Ok two things.

    1. this sounds like freaking fabulous gravy.

    2. I totally need a fat separator.

    • The Bearded Iris

      1. It is. You will not be disappointed!

      2. Yes you do. $15, tops. Get one. Totally worth it.

  14. emfine

    Yum! I’m gonna give this a try girl. Thanks for the recipe. Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving. It’s been a while since we were last in touch. Hope all is good. Seems like things are really taking off for you. Way to go! E

  15. Lisa Tognola

    Now we’re talkin’ turkey!

  16. Rebekah

    I’m exhausted just reading the directions for making your gravy. How can you possibly make anything else after all that work?

  17. Jamie

    I love gravy. I love it even more now that I see how hard you have to work to make it good. I’ll never do this but I will accept any dinner invitations your handing out!

  18. Sarah

    It’s been a sh*t week, but you have me laughing out loud. I might just love you.

    I asked the hubs what was on his ideal Thanksgiving menu. After 10 years of real-food, from-scratch cooking, what does he say? Canned cranberry sauce, canned olives, and gravy from a package. ?!?!? I will make his packaged gravy, then I get to keep the whole freaking pot of homemade for myself.

    And by the way, check out THIS fat separator:
    I’m picking one up at Bed Bath & Beyond tomorrow! (The more I think about it, gravy shots actually sounds kind of good. Ever tried gravy on your cranberry sauce?)

  19. Anne @ Domesblissity

    I feel like turkey now just so I can try this gravy! (Not a huge fan of turkey. It’s one of our less eaten meats here in Aus although it is becoming more ‘trendy’ to have because of the low fat content.)

    Anne xx

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