Due to a nationwide turkey shortage, our Thanksgiving tables may be a bit lighter without the 20-pound bird weighing it down. However, there are loads of delicious alternatives to turkey for Thanksgiving to choose from so that this year’s holiday menu will be just as filling and enjoyable as any other.
Explore Other Meats
Just because it seems as though turkey is synonymous with Thanksgiving that doesn’t mean you can’t highlight other meats on your menu. A decadent beef tenderloin is a great option. Tenderloin is one of the most tender cuts of beef, or pork, that you can find. It also cooks fast and looks festive sliced on a platter surrounded by roasted vegetables and herbs.
Baked ham is a classic main course around the holidays, and the nice thing about buying a ham is that most of the work is already done for you. Hams come pre-smoked, fully cooked, and spiral cut— all you have to do is add some flavorings and you’re ready to go!
This is the time to think out of the box for Thanksgiving dinner, so why not give seafood a try? Best for smaller parties, smoked salmon can be made with just a few filets and your trusty Green Mountain Grill. Go the extra mile and add a black pepper, teriyaki, and maple glaze before setting it in the smoker to cook for a few hours.
When all else fails, we can always lean on chicken. Mix things up and try grilled Cornish hens. Not only do they cook faster than regular chickens because of their size, but it also results in juicy tender meat.
Focus on the Sides
Some say the true hero of a thanksgiving feast isn’t the main dish at all—it’s the sides! The smaller bowls and plates that everyone passes around, scooping out morsels onto their plates, add up to become the perfect symphony of tastes and textures.
Pull off perfect mashed potatoes that are rich, creamy, and full of flavor. Tailgater tip: Use a blend of potatoes. Some people prefer starchy Russets or buttery Yukon Golds. But using a mixture strikes a great balance.
One-Pot for All
Now is the best time to bust out that crockpot you’ve been wanting to use. With no oven required, you can make a delicious green bean casserole entirely in your slow cooker. Simply whisk together the cream of mushroom soup, milk, and spices in the bowl, then fold in the green beans. Cook time can be between 2 and 5 hours, but the warm setting on your slow cooker will keep the casserole at perfect serving temperature until you’re ready to eat!
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as slow cooker short ribs, a simple dish that is full of comfort food flavor, and cooked until they reach fall-off-the-bone deliciousness. A basic braising liquid of sautéed onion, garlic, beef broth and Worcestershire sauce, with a fresh sprig of rosemary will do the trick.
Pasta as the New Main
Large pasta dishes like baked ziti or lasagna are great alternatives to the traditional turkey dinner, especially when serving a crowd. You can assemble it the day before so all the dirty work is done so you and your guests can enjoy each other’s company (or cheer on your favorite football team.) On the day of, slice it up in serving portions, and let everyone help themselves.
With all of these delicious alternatives to turkey for Thanksgiving your meal with friends and family, it is sure to be a hit if you can’t find a turkey at the grocery store.