It was first performed during the Weekend Update segment of the season 18 episode of Saturday Night Live on November 21, 1992 as a duet between Sandler and Weekend Update anchor Kevin Nealon; it was originally intended to be a recurring Thanksgiving tradition with other cast members debuting their own original songs, but the next year, it was again Sandler, doing another version of the same song in the style of Bruce Springsteen. A live performance of the original song was recorded at The Strand in Redondo Beach, California on July 25, 1993. The version at The Strand was featured on Sandler's debut album They're All Gonna Laugh at You!, and is the commonly heard version, particularly on radio.
The song, which Sandler sings in a childlike, semi-falsetto voice, primarily revolves around the repetition of the word "turkey" in various two-line rhymes, many of which are non sequiturs; for instance, "Turkey with gravy and cranberries/Can't believe the Mets traded Darryl Strawberry!"
The song is a predecessor to Sandler's more popular holiday song, "The Chanukah Song" (also co-written by Maxtone-Graham and Sandler), and has a similar degree of popularity in radio airplay around Thanksgiving. Various radio cuts remove or edit one verse which states "my brother likes to masturbate with baby oil" but it is otherwise identical to the live performance at The Strand. The edits also leave in a portion of the performance where Sandler has to stop in the middle of a song due to becoming distracted with the audience's rhythmic clapping.