Holiday diners increasingly seek tasty alternatives to the ever-present and always essential Thanksgiving Turkey. A recent survey revealed that while many carnivores who dine out on this classic holiday expect and look forward to an amazing Turkey presentation, they would also appreciate it if restaurants gave some love to alternative meat-centered meals.
Many diners use the entire four-day weekend to indulge in diverse and elaborate meal packages where they can broaden their palettes and give new higher-end cuts a try. As we’re currently one month away from this fun-filled time of year, let’s take a look at some tasty alternatives to offer your guests over the entire Thanksgiving holiday weekend at your venue this year.
The Classic Filet Mignon
Always a solid choice, it’s hard to beat an expertly prepared Filet’s, also known as a beef tenderloin filet, savory taste and aroma. This is a low-calorie, high-protein cut of steak that is as tasty as it is visually enticing. In fact, four ounces of low-fat Filet comes in at only 255 calories while offering a hefty 29 grams of protein.
This cut gives diners all the flavor they can handle and virtually no fat, with just 5 grams per serving, while also a great source of selenium, iron, and Vitamin B. Since Thanksgiving diners may have already eaten too many mashed potatoes, why not pair the Filet with some gourmet creamed Spinach or something creative and fun, like vegetable Kebabs? Filet’s low-calorie status means you can offer more side dishes and not risk filling your patrons up too quickly.
Try Dry Aged Cuts
While we’re on the subject of tender red meat dishes, go the extra mile and add dry-aged cuts to your holiday package this season. The dry-aging process’s increased tenderisation and flavor concentration give diners even more satisfaction, regardless of what meals you include these delicious cuts in. Dry aging removes moisture from the outer layers of the meat, leaving the inner sections to bathe in natural juices, resulting in a concentrated classic beef flavor that your guests will not be able to resist. Diners will appreciate this special treat and may even splurge on dry cuts more often moving forward.
Choose An Alternative Poultry
Not to brush aside red meat in any way, but many diners are locked into poultry dishes for Thanksgiving. Chicken dishes fit in nicely here and can still provide a memorable, savory experience after Turkey. You can roast chicken alongside its larger brethren, with stuffing and all the traditional sides, including cranberries, stuffing, and creative vegetable medleys. Take it a step further and go with a BBQ Chicken offering. Use your own take on classic barbeque sides like cornbread, biscuits, and gravy. Don’t forget the corn pudding for dessert.
If chicken is too routine for some diners, go off the beaten path and perhaps look at Cornish Game Hen or Duck if available. Many customers will embrace the chance to diversify Thanksgiving for a change especially when presented with these tasty alternatives to the usual Thanksgiving turkey.
Source Some Seafood
Seafood is often overlooked this time of year so why not surprise your fish-loving guests by offering this heart-healthy alternative? Seafood is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and B vitamins setting your guests up for a healthy holiday season. Salmon is perfect for oven-roasting and is usually ready in about 20 minutes at 450 degrees. However, the classic pan fry or searing method works as well. For sides, offer garlic-sauteed green beans, sugar snap peas, grilled Asparagus, or maybe a healthy broccoli and cheese pasta salad. Try a roasted cauliflower seasoned with your unique glaze or spice mix. It’s a healthy way to dazzle diners with your creativity.
Ham For The Holiday Feast
Often assumed to be the classic Easter Sunday meal, many families still look forward to Ham on Thanksgiving. This meat deserves to occupy a large section of the holiday feast table because its unique, savory flavor pairs well with the classic Thanksgiving sides. Who can resist a few slices of honey-glazed Ham alongside classic mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, deviled eggs, or collard greens?
Lamb: Delicious And Nutritious
Many diners try new dishes on Thanksgiving since it is a feast and you want to make sure you offer them something worthwhile. Rack of Lamb fits right in and looks impressive and flavorful as a centerpiece in its own right. A healthy alternative, this meat boasts an impressive list of nutritional benefits. Did you know 3.5 oz of Lamb only contains 283 calories vs. 256 with beef? Not a massive penalty while still providing a unique earthy flavor not found with beef and retaining the tenderness you expect from a younger animal. Side dishes usually found with Turkey pair up seamlessly with Lamb. Still, you can experiment and add Garlic to roasted Asparagus or offer rice pairings like Lemon Dill or Rice Pilaf for something a little different.
Be Thankful For Your Diners Embracing Culinary Diversity
So while Thanksgiving weekend will probably always center around the classic Turkey feast, it never hurts to diversify the table offerings and provide meat-loving customers with new ideas and healthy alternatives they can rave to their friends and coworkers about come Monday morning. Those amazing leftover samples they share at lunch will probably gain you some new and loyal customers come Christmas time; something you can be thankful for as well.