T minus 20 – Beyond the bird, a bacon pig
November 4th, 2011
01:00 PM ET
Share this on:

There's only so much turkey a man can take.

iReporter, Grilling.com writer and Smoke in Da Eye competition BBQ chronicler and team member Clint Cantwell found himself having to gobble down waaayyyy too much of the bird. After roasting, deep-frying and smoking three different turkeys for Thanksgiving last year, he needed a bit of a palate cleanser. Naturally, he swung swine-ward.

Cantwell crafted a pig entirely out of pork as a Thanksgiving appetizer. "Pork E. Pigskin," as he was dubbed, had hot links for legs, a sausage body, ham ears, Vienna sausage nose, a pork rind tail and a bacon wrap.

We greatly admire Cantwell's ingenious spirit, but we also sympathize with the man. Though most of us aren't flocking about with multiple birds for a single holiday, turkey can still get a little tedious year after year.

Has that ever driven you to explore other options? Post your most creative alternative solutions - or passionate feelings about traditional poultry - in the comments below and we just might feature them in an upcoming post.

Previously - T minus 21 – Stocking up for the big day and all T minus Thanksgiving coverage

Got a Thanksgiving query or dilemma? Need techniques for roasting turkey or just looking for recipes to bust up your holiday rut? Wanna know what one of our anchors eats for T-Day? We're here to help. Post your question in the comments below and we'll do our best to assist.

Posted by:
Filed under: Bacon • Feature • Holiday • HolidayShopping • iReport • Make • Recipes • T Minus • Tailgating • Thanksgiving • Thanksgiving

soundoff (359 Responses)
  1. Scott Wallace

    If God didn't want us to eat meat he wouldn't have made it taste so good.

    November 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  2. MarlboroMike

    Duck Duck Goose!

    November 10, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  3. Binny

    Ummm... what's wrong with a pork roast?

    November 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  4. CEW

    Before I quit eating meat, I LOVED bacon. I still like the smell of it. But that? It looks like old roadkill sculpted into shape and then burned. Makes me want to hurl.

    November 10, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  5. ohsnap!

    LOVE bacon. But that looks plain nasty. Like a person who has 3rd degree burns (sorry).

    November 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  6. ummy

    This sounds amazing. Recipe please! Do you mix anything with the meat?

    November 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  7. SmokeInDaEye

    For those who were concerned, Pork E Pigskin still lives on in video form http://www.youtube.com/smokeindaeye#p/u/30/CRBExw8x1F0

    November 9, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  8. Carnivore

    2 words... Bacon Explosion (google the recipe)

    November 9, 2011 at 6:52 am |
  9. The Runaway Spoon

    I send my turkey to a bacon spa. It gets a salt scrub, a bacon butter deep tissue massage, a hand-woven bacon spa robe, some time in the sauna and a little tanning to finish it off. http://bit.ly/vT9Ivv

    November 8, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  10. Bill Waltman

    Growing up, we would usually have 20 people for Thanksgiving dinner. Sometimes we would do two turkeys or toss in a ham for variety, but turkey was always the mainstay.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  11. Tryna13

    Turkey is a nice tradition, but sometimes gets a bit old. We have ham every other year and its a nice switch up. But, that pig-thing is just DISGUSTING!! Never have I seen something that made me think of a heart attack so fast. Yuck!!!

    November 8, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  12. moe smith

    Vincent: Want some bacon?
    Jules: No, man. I don't eat pork.
    Vincent: Are you Jewish?
    Jules: Nah, I ain't Jewish, I just don't dig on swine, that's all.
    Vincent: Why not?
    Jules: Pigs are filthy animals. I don't eat filthy animals.
    Vincent: Yeah, but bacon tastes good. Pork chops taste good.
    Jules: Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfnkker. Pigs sleep and root in sh!7. That's a filthy animal. I ain't eatin' nothing that ain't got sense enough to disregard its own feces.
    Vincent: How about a dog? Dog eats its own feces.
    Jules: I don't eat dog either.
    Vincent: Yeah, but do you consider a dog to be a filthy animal?
    Jules: I wouldn't go so far as to call a dog filthy, but they're definitely dirty. But, a dog's got personality. Personality goes a long way.
    Vincent: Ah, so by that rationale, if a pig had a better personality, he would cease to be a filthy animal. Is that true?
    Jules: Well, we'd have to be talkin' about one charming motherfnkking pig. I mean, he'd have to be ten times more charming than that Arnold on Green Acres, you know what I'm saying?
    Vincent: [laughing] That's good.

    November 8, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • hehe@moe smith

      I know, that movie is the best! Gonna watch it tonight.

      November 8, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  13. sockpuppet


    November 8, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • Carnivore


      November 9, 2011 at 6:51 am |
  14. argh

    turkey sucks, why does one of the hardest meats to cook have to be tradition? Why couldnt they have chosen a meat that is easier for people who dont know what they are doing?

    Yay its almost time for a 10lb lump of dry overcooked protein. Thanksgiving has got to be the only day I wish I was a vegetarian.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  15. Tur-duck-en

    Turducken: A Turkey stuffed with a duck that's stuffed with a chicken.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Carlos

      Lol a pigeon inside of a pheasant inside of a chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey inside of a pig inside of a cow.

      November 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  16. queenSupreme

    Being italian, we ALWAYS have at least one kind of pasta or gnocchi at Holiday Dinners.
    Christmas Eve we do vegetarian and seafood in keeping with the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  17. TexasTwoStep

    I use to cook a turkey every year, but spending hours and hours defrosting, brine baths, roasting; then gone in 30 minutes was frustrating. Now every year I rotate between: gaming hens, duck, goose, hunters delight (venison, quail, boar) and the turkey makes a show every 4 to 5 years. Tradition is what you make of it. I like not spending 3 days worrying over an 18 pound bird.

    November 7, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  18. usy

    bbq ribs for me, every year

    November 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • argh

      I managed to talk my mom into doing ribs one year, that was by far the best thanksgiving. Usually I associate thanksgiving with a big mound of dry poultry

      November 7, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  19. I want da gold!

    That thing looks freaking amazing!

    November 7, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • JeffinIL

      Agreed! Tasty or not, it's an awesome food sculpture.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  20. Culinary Alchemist

    First and foremost, I must go on record as being a roasted turkey lover. While I do tend to think of Turkey as being quintessential to a Thanksgiving dinner, I have branched in the past by preparing Duck, Goose, Grouse and even Cornish Game Hens (12 of them). But as you can see, I kind of stick with the fowl theme. I feel that people should experiment with what works best for them. This is one of the reasons I hate the phrase "Turkey Day". It's really NOT about the Turkey, but about giving "thanks" for the abundance in your life. But let's face it, when you have a large family, (17) turkey provides the most full bellies.

    Christmas tends to be the more experimental holiday for me as far as a main course goes... Being either leg of Lamb, Rabbit, Ham, Roast Beef, Bison Roast or other some such large slab o' meat. Because after the Thanksgiving Turkey, I am really not into having YET another one on Christmas. Kind of overkill as far as I am concerned.

    I find Catwell's appetizer an interesting and fun idea. I would probably not attempt this myself but I have done other such things without zoo-morphing them. Such as Pork loin chops wrapped in Prosciutto and topped with a caper sauce.

    I see a lot of people freaking out in the comments. It's an appetizer for Pete sake. It wasn't a main course and I doubt that anyone is going to go on a carcinogenic overload from eating it once a year. Granted bacon is full of Nitrates and Nitrites, but there are companies whose products are devoid of these chemicals... same with the sausage. It just takes a little label reading.

    November 7, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  21. Cuso

    I am not a person for tradition but if there is no Turkey on Thanksgiving Then I ain't going to be there

    November 7, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  22. Bo

    Garnish with Baconators.

    November 7, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  23. Tara Kolassa

    The coolest Thanksgiving I ever had was with my husband, his sister and her husband and another couple. I was the only one of the six who even liked turkey, so we decided to have sushi instead. We spent all day making different sushi and that night when we had "Sushi Day dinner" we only managed to eat about half of what we made. It was fantastic and I wish I could do it again.

    November 7, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  24. TS

    Bacon is filled with carcinogens.

    November 7, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • SeanNJ

      I'm guessing by "carcinogens" you mean "the things that make food uber-tasty."

      November 7, 2011 at 11:38 am |
      • Karen

        That. Is. Awesome.

        November 7, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • CC

      Fowl meat is worst growth medium agent for Cancer cells making it a Carcinogen accelerator. In Labs fowl broth can be used as a nutrient agar/ growth medium to grow cells. Don’t believe me; ask your doctor or pharmacist. The more fowl (any) you eat, the more likelihood of multiplying cancer cell in the body. So in our household we stick to the most ancient of diet: fish, lamb or goat meat.

      November 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm |


    November 6, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • freewillys

      sounds. a-m-a-z-i-n-g

      November 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  26. Tom Turkey

    I and all my relatives heartily endorse this.

    November 6, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
  27. Domingo Antonio Becerra

    I do something similar in a way, my family and I respect the turkey tradition but instead of the regular stuffing which only 1 person likes we fill it with bacon strips, it gives the turkey more flavor and it takes away some of the dryness of it.

    November 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  28. Dr. Jantzen

    Turkey is custom, steak is better, pork WILL KILL YOU. Every doctor knows that you bacon lovers are eating BAD FATS. A stick of margarine is the same as eating 4 pieces of bacon. Pork in ALL forms whether, bacon, sausage, pork loin, whatever is horrible for your health. Smoking a pack a day is safer than clogging arteries with pig. Unclean meat.

    -Dr. J

    November 6, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • reallynow

      Margarine =100% chemicals. At least pork is a real food.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • June

      Bring it on!!!! And, I use REAL butter, Thank you very much. Much easier for the body to process. And, I also READ the label. All about paying attention to what you are eating. And, really? Once in a while won't kill you.

      November 7, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  29. Susan

    Since we now host Thanksgiving at our house we get to decide and we always have turkey BUT we also have some other meat. Maybe ham, buffalo or beef. We often have over 12 people so we need more than a single turkey and we like variety. I don't think we've ever had much in the way of leftovers. My problem is getting out of the rut of mashed potatoes, stuffing/dressing, gravy, carrots and Brussel sprouts along with apple pie, pecan pie and pumpkin pie. I need some new sides!

    November 6, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
  30. cpc65

    Sick of turkey? Are you mad, sir?!

    November 6, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  31. gager

    Wow, love bacon wrapped bacon....with a side of bacon/

    November 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Dr. Jantzen

      Only shortening your years on this Earth...

      November 6, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
      • TS

        Let them eat bacon... natural selection in action.

        November 7, 2011 at 12:34 am |
      • BaconFriedBacon

        Depends on your definition of life. If you would rather sacrifice some time to better enjoy life now by having a slice of bacon rather than "sacrifice" and never enjoy life and live to 105 on tofu, be my guest. I'd prefer to have the bacon and live life to the fullest (pun intended).

        November 7, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  32. T3chsupport

    The best turkey I've ever eaten came from a ranch in Eastern Oregon, Wish Poultry, run by one Mark Wishard. His turkeys are his own 'unimproved bronze' turkey, which are raised out in a big fenced in 250 acre field, and no where else in the country aside from a few scattered flocks here and there in back yards or colleges apparently. He raises a lot of them, but you still have to reserve a turkey months in advance, because they go fast. They are never frozen.

    I have never had any turkey even remotely as flavorful, succulent, tender, and just downright delicious, than from that one little farm.

    November 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  33. Marcheline

    One word. TURDUCKEN.

    November 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  34. sb52853

    If everyone became a vegetarian right now, what would we do with all the livestock? Let's take for example cows. Cows as we know them don't exist in nature. Would you turn them all loose? They would become feral and trample and eat all your bean fields. Would you kill them? If you kill them, what would you do with the carcases? Some of them would escape anyway and breed in the wild. They would become pests like deer have become. Eventually predators like wolves and cougars would become more plentiful and they would prowl in the suburbs, killing cats and dogs and even children. How everyone eats is their own choice and I'm not badmouthing vegetarianism, but I'm just throwing out some food for thought.

    November 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • ttony21

      ...I'm sorry but your argument is just plain stupid. It's like a clone of this classic: "if everyone in the world was gay, then humans would die out." I'm not even a vegetarian, nor do I ever plan on being one, and I know your argument makes absolutely no sense whatsofreakingever. In fact it's such a horrible argument that you single-handedly made all carnivores look stupid. Even the COWS are embarrassed.

      November 6, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
      • J.B.B.

        REPLY TO ttony21: You need to chill out, and you need to learn some manners!! This is an open forum for ideas and opinions ... not an open season on people and their comments.

        November 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
      • Jamie

        It IS true though, if everyone in the world were gay there would be no natural forces to keep the human population alive. We'd need intervention in the form of technology. Why use an example that disproves what you're trying to say?

        November 7, 2011 at 6:31 am |
      • Ryan

        Women who hate gay men are like men who hate little girls because they don't play football well.

        November 7, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • TS

      Cows take up a lot of space for grazing... we could use that space for more National Parks for all the animals that are being driven to extinction.

      November 7, 2011 at 12:35 am |
  35. Gozer the Gozerian

    IGNORE THE VEGGIE-VORES! They should be on our side! Farm animals like pigs and cows and turkeys all contribute to "global warming" because they exhale carbon dioxide. Every animal eaten saves tons of greenhouse gases over what would have been its lifetime.

    Save the planet! Eat meat!

    November 6, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Dee

      Wrong. Factory farming conditions create greenhouse gases. Allowing animals to be raised naturally on the pasture would eliminate this problem. You need to research the facts before posting.

      November 7, 2011 at 5:47 am |
      • Dano558

        Dee, sorry but Gozer is correct. Facts or no facts eating meat saves the planet!

        November 7, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  36. lefty avenger

    It's scary pictures like this that have made me a vegetarian. Try a Tofurky, that pork will kill you young, dudes.

    November 6, 2011 at 8:01 am |
    • Gozer the Gozerian

      I refuse to slaughter helpless tofus. The turkey shall snuff it this year.

      November 6, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • T3chsupport

      I ran out of tofurken, so I just ate watered down packing peanuts.
      Was about the same. Needed salt.

      November 6, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Ryan

      My favorite thing about turkey besides the eating part is taking the neck, organs and hiding them in place like the toilet, shower, and under pillows. hahaha

      November 7, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  37. Trilby

    I usually make a very large turkey in order to have leftovers and send some home with friends and family. I also make two kinds of stuffing – one in the bird and a vegan one. The stuffing can end up as a meal in and of itself. Besides the sauteed onion and celery I've added different things like tart apples, baby corn, pecans, crumbled bacon, chopped cilantro, mandarin oranges, slivered almonds, dried cranberries or cherries, water chestnuts, etc. and have also tried apple juice or other liquids instead of (or in addition to) broth as a binding agent.

    We've had everything from Rock Cornish game hens, goose, tempura, ham, duck to crown rib roast for Thanksgiving in the past. I always try to make a turkey at some point in the year though, because we love the traditional fixings and having extra for homemade turkey sandwiches and turkey enchiladas.

    We serve our turkey from a platter and don't make a presentation of the whole bird. When I'm preparing it I use whatever spices I think will complement the bird's stuffing as a rub and then cook it upside down and covered in order to keep it moist.. I uncover it the last hour or so and then let it brown and baste it. This method doesn't make for a pretty bird but it does make for a delicious one.

    Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

    November 6, 2011 at 2:54 am |
  38. Blessed Geek

    Anything other than turkey is sacrilege.

    Except if it is tofukey.

    November 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
  39. r

    That picture almost makes me want to go vegan.

    November 5, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  40. brian

    http://amzn.to/aV2dQa Funny, touching, memorable short Thanksgiving stories about holiday disasters, family & friends.

    Enter the sweepstakes at
    http://apps.facebook.com/sweepstakeshq/contests/158067/entries/new?referral_feed_id=47364908 for a chance to win a free copy of *the* Thanksgiving book! Perfect gift for your Thanksgiving Host(ess)

    November 5, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  41. Clark Nova

    It's not Thanksgiving at my house until we've all watched the video of William S. Burroughs reciting his 'Thanksgiving Prayer'.

    November 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  42. ralk

    I will do this...then give it to the moslems...force feed them you know...LOL!

    November 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Clark Nova

      I have something I'd like to force feed to you. I just made it this morning when I got up.

      November 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
      • Maya Da B

        Bacon and eggs?

        November 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
      • Maya Da B

        Bacon and eggs perhaps?

        November 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
      • Maya Da B


        November 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
      • Tom D. Turkey

        A Clark bar or a Baby Ruth?

        November 5, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Jessie

      Can I help? Please????????

      November 5, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
  43. john1960

    I love veal, baby cows are the best

    November 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Ryan

      Yup, when I go to an Italian restaurant, the veal Parmesan is my first choice. Second is gnocchi.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  44. Dee

    Grosser than gross, and cruel.

    November 5, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Maya Da B

      Your face is cruel. BOOOOYYAAAAAAHHH!

      November 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Ryan

      They kill em first before baking them. I bet you like lobster, and they get boiled alive.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
  45. Bartek

    I like this Piggie a lot. Lets see, I do eat bacon. I eat bulk sausage with eggs for breakfast or as a sandwich at times. I eat Vienna sausages when hunting and working in remote area's. I eat ham slices. I eat Polish Kielbasa at Fairs and we grill it too at home. Nothing wrong with a bag of Pork Rinds either, great snack. So I defiantly making this pig, adding olives for eyes, and maybe a Slim Jim beef stick curled up with toothpicks. A slice of this pig, little mustard on brown bread is going to be the hit of any tail gate party. Thanks! (by the way- been eating all these items for 59 yrs of my life)

    November 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  46. saxophone31

    We have turkey and usually ham. The turkey has to be there... but only when my dad makes it... and not my grandparents... who seem to have an aversion to flavor...

    November 5, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  47. Ernie Bennett

    A pig? That is just grose. Vegetarian communities have known for a LONG time that a pig, no matter what the heck you do to it, is bad for your heart. And if people knew how these pigs, turkeys, etc, was raised, they would never eat another piece of meat again.

    November 5, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Tom Rankles

      Nah... you know what's grose? Mispellings. [sic]

      And of course this is bad for vegetarians. That's why you need to build your body's defenses by eating a variety of foods, including meat.

      November 5, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Gozer the Gozerian

      I know how they were raised, how they were slaughtered, and how they were processed.

      More bacon, please!

      November 6, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Ryan

      Vegan food is bad for your tongue.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  48. monah_ltx

    Yuck, it would be like taking beef and making it look like a cow. I personally don't want to eat beef, chicken, pork, etc. that looks like the animal it came from. I have never bought a whole chicken. I just buy the boneless chicken breasts. At least it doesn't resemble a chicken.

    November 5, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Clark Nova

      Cowards like you should never eat meat.

      November 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
      • Ian

        What??!! You mean meat comes from animals??!! Like, grose! Wouldn't they have to kill the animals? Or do they just, like, harvest pieces off them?

        November 5, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
1 2 3 4
| Part of