However — not naming any names — some folks don’t know their turkeys from a hole in the ground, let alone how to stuff it, smoke it or roast it. Past attempts may have resulted in undercooked, inedible birds (Why is still frozen on the inside?) or dry, overcooked birds (Hey, Ma, it tastes like jerky!).

The cook may wind up with a mental breakdown in the back bedroom while the guests rummage the fridge for frozen pizza and bologna sandwiches.

If your family insists you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, give ’em the bird! No, not the middle finger: the fancy-schmancy bird that will have them making inappropriate moaning noises at the table because it’s so darn delicious. You don’t even have to tell them that you had it made for you.

In fact, why stop at the turkey? You can have entire meals made by local chefs, so you are supporting local biz and saving your sanity at the same time. Score!

From the simple to the sublime, there’s a turkey and proper fixin’s just right for your dinner party. Make sure the establishment sends along heating instructions and take into account your appliances’ idiosyncrasies. Most eateries stop taking orders several days before T-Day, so in this case the early birds get the birds. Prepayment may be required.

DOWNTOWN 235-6262
They’re accepting orders through Nov. 20. Food is available for pickup Nov. 23, between 2 and 4 p.m. Meals start at $85 (for two people) Menu sample: Whole-roasted turkey with sausage, apple and cranberry stuffing, smoked pit ham with au jus, herb-roasted winter vegetables, turkey gravy, wild mushroom and haricot vert in a Mornay sauce with toasted herb breadcrumbs, whipped sweet potatoes with maple butter, pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust.

BRICKTOWN 232-7227
Tired of the same old, same old? Consider a Cajun-fried turkey from Pearl’s, available only at Crabtown. 24-hour advance ordering required. The restaurant uses a handson approach: They “lovingly rub” the turkeys with Cajun seasonings, followed by an overnight marinade. The birds are deep-fried until golden and crispy on the outside, sealing in the moist and tender meat. “Don’t worry,” its website stated, “they are not spicy. Most people can’t guess how they have been prepared!”

If a smoked turkey is more your style, Earl’s is taking orders at all metro locations. According to manager, Brad Boone, the 11-13 pound turkeys are smoked in-house and cost $39.99. “Sides don’t come with it, but customers typically add the baked beans, coleslaw and potato salad to their orders,” Boone said. If your family insists you’re hosting Thanksgiving, give ’em the bird!

9900 N.E. 23RD 769-8373
Have a turkey, just not a smoker? No problem! Spencer’s will gladly smoke that baby for you for just 20 bucks. Bring it in by the 21st to ensure you get it before the big day.

610 N.E. 50TH 528-7427
Why not give your guests a choice? The meat-lovers around the table could enjoy smoked turkey, brisket, chicken, ham or ribs from Bedlam Bar-B-Q. They are selling smoked turkeys in two sizes: 20-24 pounds for $69.99, or a 14-16 pound turkey for $39.99. They will also smoke your turkey for $20.

For dessert, consider bread pudding, carrot cake or cobbler. Place your order by Nov. 19 to pick up the day before Thanksgiving.

You’ll save so much time with the “order, heat and eat” approach, you may want to save this list for that other holiday feast approaching, too.

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