NEW YORK (AP) – There won’t be any turkey for Patrick Bertoletti on Thanksgiving – he got his fill the day before.

Bertoletti, a 21-year-old culinary student from Chicago, won the annual turkey-eating contest at Artie’s Deli on Wednesday, eating 4.8 pounds of the holiday bird – a full pound more than the second-place finisher.

The eight contestants in the competition had 12 minutes to eat as much of a 12-pound turkey as they could manage. And their handling of the birds wouldn’t have won them any etiquette medals.

The defending turkey-eating champion, Sonya Thomas, known as the “Black Widow,” got her mouth too full of turkey to swallow as the contest moved into the homestretch. She was disqualified.

Bertoletti’s winning strategy had him starting his attack on the turkey breast. “It’s white meat and harder to eat. You want to get it out of the way first,” he said.

Bertoletti, who weighs 190 pounds, has won eating contests ranging from pizza to ice cream. But he said turkey was much harder, with all that chewing.

“My jaws are pretty tired,” he said after winning the contest. But his appetite hadn’t been sated. He and his friends were looking around for a spot to get some pizza before flying home.

By the way, he was planning to serve venison for Thanksgiving.


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