Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for the people, things, and food in your life. The star of the Thursday night table is obviously the turkey, and there's no doubt that making it taste just right can be a challenge. If you're not sure how to approach your bird this year for (and possibly after) Thanksgiving, here are my official rankings of turkey preparations:
1. Loaded Leftover Turkey Sandwich on Friday
If you feel the same passion for sandwiches as Ross and I do, you have to agree with my #1 ranking. Load leftover turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing onto a roll. Then add lettuce, salt, and pepper, and maybe some mustard or mayo depending on your tastes.
Enjoy two of these for Friday lunch because, let's be honest, you’re exhausted from Black Friday shopping and missed having a food baby for the last 12 hours. You can also try this turkey sandwich recipe to help satisfy your craving any time of the year.
2. Fried Turkey
A turkey with a crispy outside and perfectly moist inside sounds just incredible. Try out Paula Deen's recipe and your turkey will take you down South in just one bite. Remember that Thanksgiving is a food holiday, so stop counting those calories for a day and enjoy this turkey in all of its fried glory.
3. Smoked Turkey
Make your dad as enthusiastic as Phil this holiday season by putting your bird in the grill or smoker out back. Now he'll have time for a couple of beers and football watching in between turkey checks. This technique makes for some pull-apart, moist meat instead of the usual dry and overcooked stuff, which will make for a happy family.
4. Alton Brown Turkey
If you count down the 364 days every year until the next Thanksgiving like this guy, put in the extra effort towards this science-based turkey type. My fellow Food Network enthusiasts and meat lovers understand that an Alton Brown turkey would totally be worth the pain.
This bird gets brined overnight and stuffed with aromatics for one of the most moist and flavorful turkeys you will ever experience. It may take a little extra preparation, but sometimes you have to go all out on the foodiest holiday of the year.
5. Whole Foods Turkey
Never really got along with ovens? Have an intense fear of turkey giblets? Has your family ever ended up at a Denny’s on Thanksgiving? Have no fear, Whole Foods is here. Take the stress and intense culinary preparation out of your special day and order a turkey online from a reliable source. They offer a plethora of options for turkey and sides that can turn your table into a true masterpiece.
6. Turkey Chili a Whole Month After
Thanksgiving doesn't have to end. Ever. String out the leftovers for as long as possible. If you have a smaller family, save half the turkey, tear it into smaller pieces, and throw it into a heartwarming chili to get you through the rest of winter. My personal favorite is with white beans and green chili. When the season is sadly over, you can buy ground turkey and whip up this recipe to solve your post-Thanksgiving depression.
7. Tofurkey? Soy turkey?
I have taken polls from vegetarians who have deemed these meatless options quite questionable. But if you choose to opt out of bird consumption and are still committed to the true Thanksgiving experience, then go for it. If you want to make your vegetarian holiday a little more enjoyable, try an alternative entree like one of these.
8. Turkey for Two (or One)
Have a romantic relationship with turkey like this guy but no huge family to share a 20 pound bird with? If you're not cooking for a whole family this Thanksgiving, this recipe is for one or two people and allows you to still experience the joys of one of the best meals of the year.
In the end, no matter what turkey type you prefer or who you celebrate with, have a Happy Thanksgiving. May all of your stomachs be grateful (and full) this year.