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Thanksgiving Alternative Meals – the Other Bird (Chicken)

November 16, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile turkey is a traditional meal for Thanksgiving there is another poultry that can do well instead. For those not ready or welcoming of leftovers or who don’t have many people to cook for anymore a roaster chicken or game hens works well as a holiday meal.

The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy compiled a taste test involving chefs and food professionals and found several of the rare breeds ranked the highest in taste and texture. The winner was the Dorking, with the Dominique close behind. These birds make a nice roasting bird.

For the smaller appetite the Cornish game hen at about a pound to 1 ¼ pounds is ideal for an individual meal. They can be stuffed just before putting in the oven with about a cup of stuffing.

A rotisserie or hot grill makes an ideal roasted chicken or game hens. Rub down with oil and seasonings to taste, then brush with barbeque sauce (commercial or homemade) periodically while cooking for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until meat thermometer in the breast or thigh registers 170 and juices run clear. Let set a few minutes when done after pulling off the grill.

You can also broil them or bake in the oven. Use the same preparation but instead use an oven set at 325F. Figure 25 minutes per pound for roasting birds but use the same thermometer test of 170F. Don’t guess – you want the bird done but not overdone and dried out!

These may be stuffed with breaded stuffing or wild rice or other stuffing. It’s an easy meal to make, economical and there’s less leftovers than cooking a big bird. People are familiar with chicken but less so in some ways with roasting a chicken. The popularity of friend or broiled chicken has caught on and the slower cooking of other types of chicken have largely been forgotten.

Another easy way to prepare either the game hens or a full sized is carefully setting the bird on an open beer can, as if the chicken was sitting on the beer can. Secure it upright and grill. Use caution when removing as the can and beer will be HOT.

Chicken offers a different option for Thanksgiving that need not be better or worse but just different. Enjoy the Thanksgiving day holiday!

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