4 Recipes That Will Forever Change The Way You Think About Thanksgiving Turkey

Transform your bird by making it the centerpiece of these inventive entrees.

Thanksgiving is just over a week away, and the internet is awash in recipes to achieve the perfect Thanksgiving turkey. We've got tips and tricks for cooking a classic bird, if that's your thing.

But maybe you're seeking something a little more unconventional—something that nods to the traditional poultry while turning it on its head. In that case, the following recipes break down a standard Thanksgiving turkey into its component parts and use each one to create a different unique entree. Trust us, they're all way more interesting than carved poultry heaped on a plate with gravy. See for yourself.


Note to desktop users: If you'd like to view this feature in a scrolling layout, you can narrow your browser window. You can also click "List Slides" at any time to see the full list and navigate to particular recipes.

Char Siu Turkey with Pumpkin Bao and Cranberry Hoisin Sauce

Celebrate things the way you want to, with the foods that bring you the most joy. If you need any further convincing after seeing the photo above, just know that this recipe for Char Siu Turkey with Pumpkin Bao and Cranberry Hoisin Sauce involves ultra-crispy turkey skin, which is just about as joyful as things get. It's a Thanksgiving bao with all the trimmings, and lends itself well to a buffet spread where everyone assembles their own perfect sandwich. Get the recipe for Thanksgiving bao here.


Dark Meat Turkey à L’Orange

Though you can adapt this recipe for any part of the turkey, dark meat devotees will be happy to know that this Turkey à l'Orange recipe calls for the legs and thighs of your broken-down bird. If you're not cutting up your own turkey for parts (which is 110% fine), you can buy pre-cut turkey sections, and if you can't find thighs, go for an all-leg l'orange experience. To make it a bit more magnifique, slather some duck fat or softened butter under the turkey skin. Get the recipe for Turkey à l'Orange here.


Turkey and Waffles

The Pennsylvania Dutch have been serving a simmered, herbaceous version of chicken and waffles since the 1600s, making it one of the oldest dishes in the American culinary canon. So at Thanksgiving, Turkey and Waffles seems like the perfect pivot. Turkey is swapped in for chicken, and cranberries are added to the gravy—but the best part is the waffle, which is made of instant mashed potatoes and brie. Who needs casseroles on the side when your main is this complex and flavorful? Get the recipe for Turkey and Waffles here.


Thanksgiving Hot Brown

Last but not least, we have the Thanksgiving Hot Brown, a "leftovers" sandwich that you don't have to wait until the leftovers to make. It starts with an entire split loaf of bread topped with a buttery spread that makes it taste like stuffing. Tender turkey is layered on next, followed by slices of canned jellied cranberry sauce, thick-cut bacon, and a dollop of Pecorino Romano cheese sauce. This year we'll all be thankful for the state of Kentucky and the Louisville sandwich that bears its name. Get the recipe for Thanksgiving Hot Browns here.