There is a very quiet debate going around my circle of friends about turkey. I say quiet debate because it never comes to a head, it’s more of a general discussion about what we prefer in a holiday meal. It includes questions like the following: Does turkey actually taste good, or does the taste depend on the quality of the gravy? Are we just using turkey as an excuse to eat a lot of Thanksgiving day side dishes, most of which are preferred over turkey? Who actually likes cooking turkey anyway?
My mom has been making Thanksgiving turkey for the family since before I was born. Thanksgiving turkey is so ingrained into my taste buds that when a friend of mine first claimed that they absolutely hate turkey, I was flabbergasted into silence. Thanksgiving dinner without the turkey? What kind of people do that?
I have grown since then. Different families have different traditions. If my friend’s family doesn’t make turkey for Thanksgiving, then they don’t make turkey for Thanksgiving. Different strokes for different folks, as the saying goes.
For those you don’t know, I spent a year in New Zealand, where the traditional turkey dinner down to the cranberry sauce is the staple dish for Christmas. There’s no Thanksgiving outside the United States and Canada. Sometime around the holidays, a friend asked me what Americans eat for Christmas if we already ate turkey for Thanksgiving. The question threw me off guard, not because it was insulting, but because I’ve never thought about it before. Christmas meals were always planned by my mother, and she’s so on top of the ball that my only concern about it was what time we ate. So it took me a moment to think of a small list of Christmas dinners I’ve eaten:
The thing is, those big Christmas meals my mother makes for Christmas also work as substitute meals for Thanksgiving. Well, any meal can be a substitute meal for Thanksgiving. Now that I’ve said that, I’d like to serve a Thanksgiving meal that’s nothing but pizza and garlic bread. But if you’re looking for something roasted or slow-cooked in an oven, similar to how a turkey is traditionally prepared but with less hassle and/or better tasting meat, I have a recipe for you to try.
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This recipe is dedicated to everyone who doesn’t like making turkey for big holiday meals. If you make it, I hope this substitute is so amazing that it becomes your next Thanksgiving tradition.
Orange Glazed Baked Ham
- One quarter Smoked Pit Ham from Glenn’s Market and Catering (approx. 4 lb.)
- 30 whole cloves
- 1/4 c. orange marmalade
- 1/4 c. brewed dark roast coffee from Door Country Coffee & Tea Co.
- 1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp Lakeside’s horseradish from Bay View Packing
- 2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary leaves
Preheat oven to 325°
Line a baking dish with foil and add a baking rack.
Insert whole cloves into the ham in a decorative manner.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until thermometer is 130°
In medium bowl combine marmalade, brown sugar, Intense Dark Coffee, horseradish, and rosemary, Microwave for 3 minutes on high, Drizzle over ham.
Bake for 1/2 hour more, The crust of the ham should be crusty and dark coffee brown.
Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.
Share your favorite alternative Thanksgiving meal in the comments!