How big will your bird be on Thursday?
A growing number of celebrants are opting for smaller turkeys for their Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, even turkeys are not immune from the trend of micro-everything, as 30-pound goliaths are making way for more manageable six-pound birds.
Prompting the small bird movement …
Smaller Family Sizes
Around 62 percent of American households have just one or two people. Single-parent and single-child families are a growing proportion of the population, which means fewer chairs around the table and fewer mouths to feed come Thursday. With smaller, more geographically spread out families, traditions like “Friendsgiving” are becoming ever more popular. And the food at these more casual friend gatherings might resemble more of a potluck than the Thanksgiving spread at Grandma’s.
New Health Demands
Free-range is becoming an increasingly popular option, and not keeping a turkey penned up makes for a leaner bird. Consumers are also more conscious today about portion sizes as well as eliminating food waste. You might also have a vegetarian or a vegan at your table, who will skip the turkey altogether. (For these guests, perhaps a smoked watermelon will entice their taste buds?)
The biggest threat to turkeys (or savior if you consider the turkey’s perspective) is eaters increasingly embracing new options at the table. So, while folks may prepare a small turkey for tradition’s sake, the real star may be black sea bass or a prime rib (you know you’re a real home chef when your turkey can compete with prime rib).
If you are sticking with turkey (tradition!) for Thursday, don’t forget to thaw it in time. And to achieve a moist, delicious bird, we heartily recommend our favorite dry brine recipe from Bon Appétit, which, we promise, is easy. Make the brine the night before, and then just be sure to apply it six hours before you put your turkey in the oven. And remember, cooking your turkey low and slow is a better guarantee that your bird won’t come out dry—just be sure to give yourself enough time!
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