Say No To Dry Turkey: Top 5 Thanksgiving Alternatives

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Thanksgiving: a day full of love, laughter, and some truly great food. It's one of the best days of the year...as long as you're not the one making the turkey. Because let's face it: cooking the turkey is a bitch (okay, so I never had to make it myself but even watching other people make it is a bitch -- truth!).

Maybe you're tired of it, maybe it always turns out dry, or maybe last year's emergency visit from the fire department just wasn't your idea of a good time. Whatever it may be, if you don't want the same old turkey, this list is for you.

(And for the turkeys. Here's to saving the turkeys of 2012! Sorry, chickens...).

Check out our Top 5 Alternatives to the Thanksgiving Turkey:

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Photo by Kanaka Menehune
Bonus: You can pick up a pre-roasted duck in Chinatown really easily.
5. Duck

Hold up! Did you know that the pilgrims may not have even eaten turkey on Thanksgiving? No one knows for sure, but they maybe, maaybeee had wild turkey in addition to a lot of other wild game and fowl -- including eagles, but we're not gonna go there.

So why the hell have I been fashioning popsicle stick and feather turkeys for the past 20-something years? You're telling me I made a Thanksgiving handprint turkey painting, every freaking time, when I could have been crafting paper-mache deer and or pipe wire swans? Way to be selfish, turkeys.

Since our entire lives have been a sham in which we've falsely honored one greedy, attention-seeking bird, why not make its younger, hipper cousin -- the duck -- the star of this year's meal?

And now that duck's on the table, the possibilities are endless: make it into a simple roast, try it peking-style, or screw it, just include the turkey, add on a chicken and turn it all into the giant clusterfuck that is a turducken.

4. Roast Beef

You know what also pairs perfectly with every single side you make on Thanksgiving Day and is probably going to be better than your turkey? Roast beef.

Know why? Because red meat rules! Drops microphone and walks away...

3. Turkey Roulade

Yes, I do realize that I have included turkey on a list of alternatives to turkey.

But in my defense, its staying because (1) I do what I want and (2) it's the perfect option for those who don't want to roast (read: know they are going to ruin) the full bird.

A turkey roulade is basically all your favorite Thanksgiving sides + the turkey rolled into one pretty package. That barefoot woman has a simple-to-follow recipe that is fantastic. Just stuff deboned turkey breast with veggies, dried cranberries and an herb-and-sausage stuffing, roll it up, and stick it in the oven.

And if turkey's still not your thing, no worries -- this works just as well with chicken or pork. How easy is that?

2. Vegetable Lasagna

Vegetarians unite! There's no meat here. And the best part? With a rich, creamy, fresh veggie-packed lasagna, no one will even miss it. Plus it's really colorful.

Layer the best of fall's harvest -- sweet butternut squash, yams, chestnuts, spinach, and whatever else you want to throw in there -- between layers of thick-cut lasagna, creamy Béchamel, fresh black pepper, milky mozzarella and sharp, nutty Gruyere.

Screw the turkey -- I want this now.

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These will be a part of my holiday...
1. Lobster

You guys! Guess what? Best news ever....According to the History Channel, the pilgrims may haven eaten lobster at Thanksgiving!

Lobstahhh fah Thanksgivin' dinnahhh!?!?!?!

Picture this: sweet, fresh corn on the cob, juicy clarified butter, tender, succulent chunks of lobster...and tons of napkins and bibs -- which, given our past, you should probably personalize with handprint lobsters. I think the best way to go about it would be to do the Vulcan Salute before dipping your hand into paint and then drawing on eyes and shit from there.

Best Thanksgiving ever right?!?! I can see it now - I'll rename it Lobster Day and host my very first Thanksgiving Day Lobster Boil where I play The B52's Rock Lobster on repeat until my guests and I get drunk enough to have a full blown pants-off dance-off. Ahh, traditions...

Full disclosure: This will only be happening in my head, as this year, I'm actually going to my cousins, who is actually making a turkey, which I am actually super excited for.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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3 comments
texmex01
texmex01 topcommenter

If I did not fry Turkeys for the entire family I would be ousted from the state....

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