Alternatives to Thanksgiving Turkey when Potential Shortage is Announced
According to the National Turkey Federation, over 90 percent of Americans have plans to feast on turkey this Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, however, Butterball - the US’s top maker of Thanksgiving turkeys – has announced a potential shortage of birds, which could force families to make other plans.
Butterball, which produces around 20% of the nation’s turkeys and 1.3 billion pounds of turkey meat a year, has told retailers that their orders for fresh turkeys 16 pounds and bigger have been cut by 50%. A 16-pound turkey, which feeds a dinner party of six adults and six children, is the average weight of turkeys purchased during the Thanksgiving holiday.
According to the company, a decline in weight gains on some of their farms has contributed to the shortage. “While we are continuing to evaluate all potential causes, we are working to remedy the issue,” the statement concludes.
What to do if you are planning to feed a large family this year? First, keep in mind that it doesn’t mean there will be no big turkeys out there to buy. Other manufacturers are likely to have them available. If you are a die-hard Butterball fan, remember that only fresh turkeys are affected; the company also sells frozen turkeys as well.
Another option would be to think outside the box for a splendid holiday meal. Bypass the traditional turkey and opt for one of the following ideas:
• Start your own tradition as did Top Chef Masters contestant Sang Yoon. He observes “Sangsgiving” and creates a lavish menu for family and friends which does not include turkey. "My perception is that turkey is no one's favorite part of the meal,” he tells Food and Wine Magazine. “Everyone talks about the mashed potatoes, the stuffing, the sides.”
• For the entrée, try a rack of lamb, a pork rib roast, or prime rib as a special holiday touch.
• Roast a chicken instead of turkey and add unique sides such as chestnuts. Or you might even try individual Cornish game hens for a festive touch, or even roast duck.
• How about a holiday seafood fest, such as oysters, clams or lobster?
• Another unique option is to “pardon” the turkey and all animals and go vegetarian. Gardein and Tofurky make wonderful “roasts” that do not take long to cook and are quite delicious.