Why the Butterball Turkey Shortage Won't Ruin Thanksgiving

Kemp Minifie

Relax, folks. The news that Butterball has far fewer fresh turkeys in the 16-pound and over category this Thanksgiving is no reason to panic. In fact, it could well be the best thing to happen to your holiday spread this year, and here are 5 reasons why:

1. A Smaller Turkey is Better Anyway
: Instead of one large turkey, we recommend cooking two smaller ones. They cook faster and provide more drumsticks to gnaw on, not to mention more crispy skin to sneak when no one's looking. Or, you could go with one smaller turkey and a turkey breast to ensure plenty of white meat for those all-important sandwiches.

See more: Thanksgiving Sides You Need to Make

2. You Don't Need a Big Bird to Serve a Big Crowd
: Roasting a turkey whole isn't actually the ideal way to cook the star of the Thanksgiving table, because the white and the dark meat cook at different speeds. Take a tip from chefs who crank out hundreds of servings of Thanksgiving dinners, and cook your turkey in parts. Buy only the parts that your family likes: If you're a white-meat family, go for a turkey breast or two (one for the big day and one for sandwiches the rest of the weekend). And if there's a serious dark meat contingent in your group, consider braising the legs or grilling the thighs.

3. Cooking a Smaller Turkey Leaves More Room in the Oven for Side Dishes:
And Thanksgiving is really all about the sides. Enough said.

See more: Everything You Need to Know About Thanksgiving Turkeys

4. Plastic-Wrapped Supermarket Turkey Isn't Your Tastiest Option:
Butterball isn't the only turkey producer out there. Check your local farmers' market; you may still have time to get a lovingly nurtured bird that actually had a name. If you've got access to a butcher shop, try one of theirs; butchers are picky about what they sell. Or perhaps this is the year to spring for a heritage turkey and see whether the taste is worth the fuss and bucks.

5. (Shocker Alert!) You Don't Actually Have to Serve Turkey
: Your Thanksgiving spread doesn't have to look like a Norman Rockwell stage set. Switch it up this year with a couple of ducks. Or try a capon (neutered rooster) or a large roasting chicken. Who knows, you may start a new tradition!

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