Takeout turkey: Let pros cook the bird

A boneless turducken — turkey, duck and chicken,

A boneless turducken — turkey, duck and chicken, plus cornbread stuffing — at Big Daddy's in Massapequa. (Nov. 1, 2012) (Credit: Johnny Simon)

As the Island picks up and rebounds from Sandy, it may yet be a challenge to think about Thanksgiving dinner. Still, the holiday is only two weeks away. While you might not be ready to tackle a turkey in your home oven -- if you still have one -- you may want to turn to professional chefs for help. (All these places were open as of press time, but be sure to confirm prices in advance.)

Many restaurants and markets can come through with the traditional roast turkey. Even so, you might be ready for something a little different. Think about surprising friends and family with such new American classics as deep-fried turkey, slow-smoked barbecue turkey or even that wild flight of excess, turducken (a chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey). All you need to do is place your order with a restaurant or market that has the right equipment and know-how.

At the places listed here, just order in advance and pick up the day before or -- sometimes -- Thanksgiving Day. Then, follow reheating instructions and accept the compliments.

And, of course, give thanks for the ability to accomplish all that.

NASSAU COUNTY

Big Daddy's, Massapequa

THE PLACE Popular -- and freewheeling -- Southern-Cajun-BBQ restaurant

THE BIRD From chef Craig Bedell comes a "traditional BBQ turducken" -- a chicken stuffed in a duck stuffed inside a semi-boneless whole turkey and layered with andouille sausage and cornbread stuffing; served with pan gravy and jalapeño and cranberry chutney, it serves 15-20 at $8.95 a pound for 18-25 pounds. There's also the more popular and completely boneless BBQ turducken, serving about 15 at $140 for 15 pounds. A BBQ smoked turkey, at 16-20 pounds ($5.95 a pound), comes with andouille cornbread stuffing.

AND MORE Holiday family package: 20-pound smoked stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes, sauteed vegetables or collard greens, jalapeño cornbread, gravy and cranberry sauce, serving 15-20 at $185. Customized a la carte or packages available on request.

ORDER BY Nov. 14

PICKUP Nov. 21, before 10 p.m.

Mara's Homemade, Syosset

THE PLACE Southern and BBQ restaurant

THE BIRD Chef-owner Mara Levi will be composing and slow-smoking turducken with andouille sausage stuffing. Buy uncooked at $95 or cooked at $150, about 15 pounds to feed 10. Also, Levi will be deep-frying turkeys injected with a Cajun marinade. Levi's infrared fryer doesn't use oil. It's $80 for a whole turkey, which also feeds 10.

AND MORE Among a la carte starters, sides and desserts: Pumpkin bisque ($20 a quart), string beans almandine ($12 a pound), sweet potato marshmallow casserole ($10 a pound), 10-inch pumpkin pie ($20).

ORDER BY Nov. 16

PICKUP Nov. 21, before 9 p.m.

Chichimecas. Farmingdale

THE PLACE Mexican restaurant, equipped with outdoor smokers, opened by veteran Mexican chef

THE BIRD Alejandro Gonzalez will be smoking turkeys, accented with Mexican spices and stuffed with a chili nogada mixture of fruits, pork loin and filet mignon or served with mole poblano. $68 for 10-14-pound turkey with stuffing or with mole, the thick, rich, chocolate-tinged sauce. It's also available unstuffed for $38. (You can get a taste of the chili nogada stuffing if you come into the restaurant and ask.)

AND MORE Mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, fried sweet potatoes, Mexican-style corn, about $3.50 a person for each.

ORDER BY Nov. 14

PICKUP Thanksgiving Day, before 4 p.m.

Swingbellys Beachside BBQ, Lynbrook

THE PLACE BBQ takeout and cafe

THE BIRD AND MORE A brined, 14-pound turkey with a sweet cornbread stuffing is slow-smoked over apple, hickory and cherry wood. $75 with a quart of gravy.

ORDER BY Nov. 19

PICKUP Thanksgiving Day by 1 p.m.

Grace's Marketplace, Greenvale

THE PLACE Italianate specialty market

THE BIRD A traditional roasted turkey ($5.50 a pound) is one way to go; a boneless turkey breast ($16 a pound) is another.

AND MORE Creative starters include a leek, heirloom tomato and ricotta phyllo tart ($9.50 each) and cream of butternut squash soup ($5.50 a pint). There are several kinds of stuffing, from sausage and herb ($8 a pound) to wild rice with chestnuts ($13 a pound). Among sides: grilled baby bok choy with roasted garlic and truffle oil ($9.50 a pound) and glazed yams ($8.50 a pound).

ORDER BY Nov. 18

PICKUP Nov. 21, before 5 p.m.

The Happy Hostess, Rockville Centre

THE PLACE A prepared food and home catering shop

THE BIRD Chef-owner Jay Post turns out rotisserie-roasted turkeys, 10 to 12 pounds (about $50) to 20-22 pounds (about $80); both served with gravy.

AND MORE Sides, such as grilled Brussels sprouts, spinach casserole (about $6.98 a pound). Post also features a complete dinner for 10 with corn or carrot pudding, sweet potato pudding, candied yams, string beans almandine, cranberry compote, stuffing and apple pie, $169.98 to feed 10 and $245.98 for 15.

ORDER BY Nov. 14

PICKUP Nov. 21, before 8 p.m.; Thanksgiving Day before 1 p.m.

Iavarone Bros., New Hyde Park, Woodbury and Wantagh)

THE PLACE Specialty food market

THE BIRD From the reliable catering department comes a roasted, all-natural turkey with 1quart of gravy, running $70 for 14-16 pounds to $100 for 24-25 pounds; a boneless turkey breast costs $65 for 5pounds; $130 for 10 pounds.

AND MORE A wide range of sides and other entrees available. Packages centered around roasted turkey: $189 for Gobbler, serving 10-12, includes stuffing, potato, cranberry sauce and dessert choices; $299 for Feast, serving 10-14, includes starter, such as autumn lasagna, green salad, two vegetables, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, plus pie for dessert; and Harvest, $369, includes all of the above plus a shrimp cocktail or antipasto platter.

ORDER BY Nov. 18

PICKUP Thanksgiving Day, before 2 p.m.

 

SUFFOLK COUNTY

Maple Tree, Riverhead

THE PLACE Food shop

THE BIRD Choose among several cooking methods: roasted; brined and roasted; smoked and half smoked (dark meat), half roasted (breast), then put together. Turkeys served carved or whole, with sides -- stuffing, turnips, cranberry sauce, gravy, vegetables and dinner rolls -- from $100 for a 12-pound turkey dinner to $200 for a 25-pound turkey dinner. A la carte options available.

ORDER BY Nov. 19 before noon

PICKUP Thanksgiving Day, before 2 p.m.

Roots Bistro Gourmand, West Islip

THE PLACE French bistro

THE BIRD Various complete menus available, ranging from $35 to $65 a person. In addition to traditional roast turkey, there are such nontraditional entrees as cassoulet, pressed pork belly, duck confit and pistachio-crusted rack of lamb.

AND MORE Starters include butternut squash and pear soup, kabocha squash risotto lollipops. Sides: pumpkin puree, Brussels sprouts with lardons. Desserts: banana tart tatin. Call or view website for details.

ORDER BY Nov. 14

PICKUP Thanksgiving Day, before noon

Babylon Village Meat Market, Babylon, 631-669-0612

THE PLACE Old-fashioned butcher and caterer

THE BIRD Lenny Popp is offering turkeys both all-natural ($4.99 a pound) and organic ($6.89) from 10 to 30 pounds. He seasons them with olive oil and lemon pepper and sells them uncarved. Or, he'll deep-fry a turkey for you, but the size limit is 14 pounds.

AND MORE Everything for your party, from hors d'oeuvres and soups to sides and desserts, plus turkey alternatives including prime rib roast ($29.95 a pound) and roast beef tenderloin ($39.95)

ORDER BY Nov. 18

PICKUP Nov. 21, before 6 p.m.

The Culinary Studio, Huntington

THE PLACE Venerable takeout/catering spot

THE BIRD For Thanksgiving, owners Justin and Mary Spoto stick to the basics. Their fresh Maryland turkeys are roasted with little more than butter and are carved and packaged for reheating. Sizes range from 10-12 to 22-24 pounds; price is $6.59 a pound.

AND MORE The Spotos usually sell about 300 quarts of their turkey-stock-rich gravy -- much of it to people who haven't bought one of their turkeys. With or without giblets, $9.99 a quart. Other classic favorites: mashed Yukon Gold potatoes with butter and sour cream, $7.99 a pound; chestnut-apple or sausage-herb stuffing, $8.99 a pound.

ORDER BY Nov. 19

PICKUP Nov. 21, before 7 p.m.

Whole Foods Market, Jericho, Lake Grove and Manhasset

THE PLACE Food market

THE BIRD AND MORE Classic dinner packages range from a turkey breast for 2 with sides (stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans with almonds, cranberry orange relish and turkey gravy) for $49.99 to a 14-16 pound turkey with the same sides to feed 12, for $199.99. Lots of a la carte starters, sides and desserts available.

ORDER BY Tuesday online, Wednesday in-store

PICKUP Thanksgiving Day, before 3 p.m.

Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace, Smithtown, Port Jefferson Station, East Meadow, Massapequa and Port Washington

THE PLACE A burgeoning chain of Italian-style specialty markets

THE BIRD AND MORE A complete dinner to feed 12 to 14 runs $299 and includes an 18- to 20-pound. Bell & Evans herb-roasted turkey on the bone or a 10-pound boneless breast, plus a choice of appetizers (such as stuffed mushrooms oreganata), choice of a pasta or soup, one vegetable, such as roasted Brussels sprouts, a potato choice, a stuffing choice and a choice of two desserts, such as apple, pumpkin or eggnog pie. A la carte options available, too.

ORDER BY Nov. 19

PICKUP Nov. 21, before 8 p.m.

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