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10 Turkey Exit Strategies

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There comes a point when you just have to be real with yourself, and the Monday before Thanksgiving is prime time to do that when it comes to turkey. You've read everything there is to know about cooking a turkey and know there are no more secrets to be learned. You've looked at the million turkey recipes there are, knowing that you only have to pick one—but the job is just too difficult.

Does this scare you? That is okay!
Does this scare you? That is okay! Photo by Bobbi Lin

And you know, deep down, you do not want to make this turkey. And that's acceptable: Instead, make something that's equally showy and main-dishy and grand. It's not quitting, it's called pivoting.

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More: For traditionalists, here's the most classic Thanksgiving menu for you.

Here are 10 very delicious ways to get out of making a whole turkey:

Pork Loin

Pork Loin with Cider-Braised Leeks and Apples

Pork Loin with Cider-Braised Leeks and Apples by Cristina Sciarra

Bacon Wrapped Brown Sugar Pork Loin

Bacon Wrapped Brown Sugar Pork Loin by mtlabor

A leftover gem, just like turkey.

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A Turkey Part

Torrisi's Turkey

Torrisi's Turkey by Genius Recipes

Spicy Turkey Meatloaf

Spicy Turkey Meatloaf by Erin McDowell

It's still turkey!

Pork Shoulder

Luciana's Porchetta

Luciana's Porchetta by Aliwaks

Matilda, Maple, and Garlic Pork Shoulder with Crispy Skin

Matilda, Maple, and Garlic Pork Shoulder with Crispy Skin by ENunn

Cooked low and slow—and with crispy skin, just like turkey is supposed to be.

Vegetables

Alon Shaya's Whole Roasted Cauliflower and Whipped Goat Cheese

Alon Shaya's Whole Roasted Cauliflower and Whipped Goat C... by Genius Recipes

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps with Roasted Root Vegetable Risotto

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps with Roasted Root Vegeta... by Gena Hamshaw

Drop a whole cauliflower on the table and folks' mouths will drop.

More: An entirely vegan, gluten-free, good-tasting Thanksgiving menu.

A Whole Chicken

Barbara Kafka's Simplest Roast Chicken

Barbara Kafka's Simplest Roast Chicken by Genius Recipes

Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Bread

Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Bread by Aliwaks

You might even be able to fool a few of your relatives into believing one of these is a turkey.


Did someone say "Thanksgiving"? Our menu genie is here to help.