Tanner “The Hammer” Ulsh: GOING HAM

It’s simply incredible to me that somehow we have a holiday that is literally a single meal, and we manage to make a tradition out of a spread that ranges from mediocre to inedible. I’ve always hated Thanksgiving, but I’ve finally found a way to make it bearable: make food that you would actually want to eat. As a bonus, you get to avoid bruises from crotchety old ladies shoving you aside at the turkey bin.

All of these recipes are approximate; if you think there’s something stupid and awful about an amount I put down, feel free to change it. In fact, I encourage changing the recipe to your own tastes. Be the creative soul you know you really are, deep down inside.

If you hate me and think I’m a jerk and that my food sucks, go ahead and write me a letter at graphics@synthesis.net to tell me everything I do wrong. All e-mails can and will be publicly and ruthlessly mocked.





Right now, you might be saying, “Wait just one minute, that’s not a turkey recipe!”, and you’d be right. Let’s get real for a second: How many times a year do you eat turkey? Once? Only at Thanksgiving? Every year, millions of families across the US prepare their annual turkey, spending hours upon hours that culminate in subpar blandness. We’re going with a superior holiday roast here, one that you’d actually want on any other day of the year.

1 ham

1 large orange

some toothpicks

3 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp cinnamon

2 tsp ground red pepper

3 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp black pepper


Now, I’m not going to dictate what kind of ham you buy. Get whatever you want, it’s your ham and chances are I’m not going to be eating any of it, so I really have no reason to care.

Let the ham set out at room temperature for 30 minutes; dab the outside with a paper towel to make sure it’s damp or dry, not wet. Mix the sugar and spices in a bowl so that they’re evenly mixed. Place the ham in its baking dish, take the spice mixture and rub it into the outside of the ham.

Take your orange and cut it into relatively thin rounds. Use toothpicks to pin the oranges on the outside of the ham, aiming for even coverage. Try to get the toothpicks deep enough that the tips don’t char or smoke while baking. I’m not liable if you set your ham on fire here.

After this, just use the baking directions you got with the ham. Chances are, they’re going to be better tuned to the type of ham you got than any instructions that I can give you here.

Just make sure to baste every half-hour and ignore the packaged glaze…




Okay, I know this can be scary. We’re cooking sugar in a pan. Just pay attention and we’ll get through this together… unless you burn sugar on to your pan, in which case you’re on your own, sucker!

Juice of 1 orange, squeezed (not the one from earlier, please)

3 tbsp sugar

If you’ve never made a glaze before, I recommend looking up a video on YouTube or something. I really just don’t have the space to give you all the safety talks on working with sugar in a pan.

Wait until there’s about an hour left on your ham to begin this.

Put your juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Turn heat to low and simmer until it thickens slightly. Pour or brush half of the glaze over the ham when there’s 45 minutes left to bake. Baste the ham and add more of the remaining glaze every ten minutes.




Put away your french onions and soup, we’re skipping the absolute disaster that is Green Bean Casserole in favor of something edible.

1lb fresh green beans

3 cloves garlic, diced

. stick butter

Kosher salt

Put butter, green beans, and garlic in a pot or saucepan over medium heat. Season with a pinch of salt and let simmer in butter for two minutes. Add . cup of warm water, reduce heat to low and cover for 4-6 minutes. Uncover and let simmer until water cooks off.



Alright, I’m just going to assume you know how to make mashed potatoes here, and that you know how to adjust them to however you like them. All of these numbers are going to vary depending on the size of your potatoes and your personal tastes.

6 medium/large Yukon Gold potatoes

1 . cups shredded monterey jack cheese

4 cloves garlic, finely diced

1 stick butter

1 cup whole milk

Kosher salt

Black pepper

Hand mixer or stand mixer

Personally, I don’t peel potatoes for this recipe, but you can if you feel like it.

Cube potatoes into 1 inch chunks, or smaller. Put the cubed potato into a large pot, then fill with water until potatoes are covered. Put over heat and salt the water, then boil potatoes until they are soft when stabbed with a fork. Drain off excess water.

Put boiled potatoes into a large bowl and smash lightly with a fork. Begin to whip the potatoes with your stand mixer or hand mixer, while adding the milk, butter, cheese and garlic at regular intervals. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whip until potatoes are creamy and smooth.

Make sure that you never turn your mixer up to its highest speed, as whipping too fast or too thoroughly can cause the potatoes to lose form and liquefy.



Despite the insider trading and suspected icy-heartedness, Martha Stewart knows how to make a hell of a batch of biscuits, which is why I’m skipping the snark on this one and leaving it to her exact words.

You can preempitively throw out your other biscuit recipes, because you’re never going to want to make a different biscuit after this.

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder 

1 teaspoon baking soda 

1 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon sugar 

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces 

1 3/4 cups buttermilk, plus more for brushing 

Step 1 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few large clumps remaining. 

Step 2 

Pour in the buttermilk; using a rubber spatula, fold buttermilk into the dough, working in all directions and incorporating crumbs at the bottom of the bowl, until the dough just comes together. The dough will be slightly sticky; do not overmix. 

Step 3 

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. With floured fingers, gently pat the dough into a round about 1 inch thick, pressing in any loose bits. Do not overwork the dough. Use a floured 2 1/4- inch round biscuit cutter to cut out the biscuits as close together as possible. (Use one cut edge as the edge for the next biscuit.) 

Step 4 

Place the biscuits about 1 1/2 inches apart on an unlined baking sheet. Generously brush the tops of biscuits with buttermilk. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until the biscuits are golden and flecked with brown spots, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer biscuits to a wire rack to cool. 

There’s really just one correction I make to this, and that would be: line your baking sheets with parchment paper. You’ll thank me once you’ve tried it.

Source: http://www.marthastewart. com/315759/buttermilk-biscuits 


Ham & Cheese Biscuit Sandwich

Turkey and dinner roll sandwiches, eat your heart out. There’s a new Thanksgiving leftovers king, and that’s the ham & cheese biscuit sandwich. It’s so simple, but you’ll never deny its power once you have it.


Tear off a chunk of your leftover ham, assuming you have some. If you don’t, make another ham. Tear a biscuit in half, put the ham and some cheddar cheese in there, then heat it up in a toaster oven. Add cranberry sauce after heating if you’re awesome.



Cranberry Sauce in the Shape of a Can 

Somewhere along the line, it was decided that the most attractive presentation of cranberry sauce was to slither a can of pink gelatinous mass on to a plate and simply leave it. Whoever it was that decided this probably shouldn’t be deciding things.

You know what’s really much better? Actual cranberry sauce made with actual cranberries. Slightly less good, but still an improvement? Smash it up, put it in a bowl; really, just anything besides leaving that oozey tower in the middle of the table.

Green Bean Casserole 

I touched on this earlier, but this really warrants futher discussion. I’m really not sure who it is that makes green bean casserole, since I don’t think I’ve ever actually met someone who likes it. Somehow though, this Eldritch abomination manifests itself on to the dinner table every year, without fail.

If you’re all about the traditional American Thanksgiving, I can guarantee you that the Pilgrims and Native Americans sure as hell didn’t have Campbells Cream of Mushroom Soup. Even if they did have it, they probably wouldn’t have eaten it.

Fruit Salad with Marshmellows and Cool Whip 

Please, just think of the children.

Continue to PART 2!

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