Ten Tasty Alternatives to Turkey for Thanksgiving

Are you looking for something different to serve other than traditional turkey? Friendsgiving celebrations are a good place to try a new main and we have ten delectable ideas that will make your gathering into a feast. Your thankful guests will delight in these alternatives, all of which are perfect for the center of your holiday meal.

1. Go for the Goose

Let’s start with the obvious. The goose is the bird of first choice for special occasions in Europe. Make it yours for Thanksgiving. Perfect for roasting, the goose offers dark meat and a distinctive flavor that pairs well with fruits of the season.


2. Succulent Porcelet

Exclusively available at D’Artagnan, porcelet is the pork equivalent to veal; milk-fed piglets that offer succulent pork unlike any other. With a variety of cuts, including porcelet rack and belly, you can make an impressive main course for a smaller gathering. Try our porchetta recipe for a showstopper!

3. The Super Chicken: Capon

Try roasting a capon, smaller than a turkey, but larger than a chicken, and voted most popular poultry by Italian and French families who center their holidays around these tender, richly flavored birds. While you can roast a capon, you might also stuff it with foie gras and cook it au pot style, for savory results.

4. Game for Venison

Venison was most likely on the menu at the original feast of Thanksgiving and pairs well with the vegetables of the season: squash, pumpkin, chard, turnips, and any kind of potato. An oven-roasted venison rib rack looks beautiful on a platter, and a loin of venison will feed a good-sized group.

Cervena Venison Rack

5. Suckling Pig

An impressive choice for a holiday feast! Whole animal cooking is a lost art, but one that is being rediscovered in these food-obsessed, nose-to-tail-eating, DIY days. We consider this a wonderful culinary development, so we offer hard-to-find suckling pigs to the home cook. Choose one that will fit inside your oven, or use a big grill and roast the pig outside – it leaves lots of room in the oven for side dishes.

6. Glorious Game Birds

We are going broad with this category, with everything from Guinea hen to pheasant, and even our exclusive Rohan duck. Smaller birds take less time to roast, and can be served you can often serve one per diner, making each plate its own Thanksgiving meal. Try our exclusive jumbo quail or tender and tasty squab.

French Quail Cooked Deana Sidney Photo.jpg

7. Classic Heritage Ham

D’Artagnan hams are handcrafted from heritage-breed pork, seasoned with just the right touch of brown sugar and salt and smoked over real wood. You can truly taste the difference this treatment makes in every bite. Our recipe for the perfect ham glaze is easy and delicious.

8. The Best Beef Roast

Our Angus beef standing rib roast has three bones – and everyone knows that meat cooked on the bone tastes best. Because it comes trimmed and tied all you need to do is roast it in the oven and keep the center rare for a palate-pleasing experience. Make this roast the star of your holiday dinner. 


9. Luscious Leg of Lamb

Truly fit to be the centerpiece of a dinner party, leg of lamb is easy to prepare. Rub with herbs and pop in the oven, basting a few times. You’ll end up with a gorgeous centerpiece roast that will draw oohs and aahs.


10. One-Pot Party: Cassoulet

This is the original one-pot comfort meal. Our rustic cassoulet recipe is hearty, authentic, and easy to make. The casserole of preserved duck, sausages, and beans is the heart and soul of Gascon cooking. We offer a recipe kit with almost all the ingredients you need to make this epic dish – and in 2 sizes to accommodate a group of 4 to 6 people, or as many as 12. It might be a little untraditional for Thanksgiving, but cassoulet is always a hit.

Cassoulet in Cassole

Honorable Mention: Roast Duck

Don’t be intimidated by roasting a whole duck; it’s easier than you think. A roasted duck makes a festive meal for a small group of 3 to 4. We like to roast our exclusive Rohan™ duck, which has juicy, tender, rose-colored meat and a mild taste, which makes it adaptable to practically every duck recipe. Try this technique that allows the duck fat to render out while cooking, and save that liquid gold for roasting vegetables or frying potatoes.

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