Thanksgiving--other meat?

I host Thanksgiving for 15 at my home. This year, for the first time, an adult nephew is going to smoke a turkey, but he doesn't know if he can do a bird large enough for all of us. I don't want to compete directly with him (a competition I'd lose, in any case), so I'm wondering if anyone has thoughts on what other animal I might serve as an adjunct--poached salmon? A small bit of beef tenderloin? Other? (There will be options for the vegetarians at the table, and even the vegans--I'm just thinking of what fish/bird/mammal might play a supporting role.)

  • Posted by: Jennifer
  • November 10, 2017


Stephanie B. November 11, 2017
My family always does either lamb or venison (if they have luck during hunting season) along with the Thanksgiving usuals.
Potomac G. November 11, 2017
Roast a duck on the grill! Won't compete with other items in the oven. Be sure to use a drip pan nestled among the coals. Since there is a lot of fat the meat will be moist.
scruz November 11, 2017
i loved the year i did a capon for a holiday dinner. very flavorful, juicy and lots of meat.
MMH November 10, 2017
I think a boneless leg of lamb is always goo on the grill or in the oven.
Jennifer November 10, 2017
So many great answers--thank you all.
caninechef November 10, 2017
For Christmas for last 10 years or so we have deep fried turkey ( same issue--the fried turkey has a size limit) and leg of lamb. The fried turkey is traditional enough for the non-lamb eaters. If you are unsure about how lamb would be received though beef or salmon probably a safer option. If you do mange to turn up venison I made a venison ragu one year for Christmas eve to fill out a buffet.
Stephanie G. November 10, 2017
Porchetta would be lovely. There is a great recipe on this site.
amysarah November 10, 2017
I’d probably do a whole roast salmon filet – most people like it, it looks impressive but is easy to prepare. It also frees up oven space as it can be made ahead and served room temp (I actually prefer it that way.) Maybe glaze it with maple syrup and Dijon, for a seasonal spin. It also works for your Muslim relatives – I think Islamic dietary rules are fairly similar to kosher ones, so like pork, many Muslims don't eat shellfish.

702551 November 10, 2017
At least here in California, Dungeness crab is a recognized turkey alternative for Thanksgiving. The commercial Dungeness crab fishing season should start on the 15th (the typical date).

For meat alternatives, I would not bother with another poultry main. I would opt for beef or pork, like tri-tip steak or a center-cut pork loin roast.

But Dungeness crab would be my first option of choice.
scruz November 11, 2017
i'm looking forward to a good crab season!
Nancy November 10, 2017
Similar but for those who don't love smoked turkey: other poultry, simply roasted.
Chicken, duck, capon or Cornish hens.
Jennifer November 10, 2017
Thanks. I had one request for quail, but I don't know where to source locally. I had thought of duck but was told it was "controversial"--not everyone likes. But that seems okay to me, since the duck really has a supporting role. I wish I had a good source for venison--that seems awfully seasonal and appropriate. But maybe I'll go back to the duck theory and see how it goes.
Nancy November 10, 2017
Since the smoked turkey is already a departure (and some may not take to it), maybe save the duck for a another meal with people who will appreciate it.
Then, serve as back up or supplement to the smoked turkey something more familiar & reliable, like simple beef or chicken.
Figure that way everyone (traditional or adventurous) will get a taste of something they like.
Hazy C. November 10, 2017
A beef tenderloin would be a fairly easy, and tasty, supplement to the turkey. Especially if pork is off the table.

There's a lot you can do with it, but just giving it a nice sear and roasting it to medium rare will produce something that'll make most people pretty happy.
Jennifer November 10, 2017
Thanks! (For me it's a little sad about the pork, because it also means no bacon in the brussels sprouts. But so be it.)
BerryBaby November 10, 2017
Pork roast, Prime Rib would be my top choices. Both are very easy to make.
Jennifer November 10, 2017
Pork roast won't work for family members who are Muslim, but Prime Rib is a great idea. Thanks!
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