Manly Thanksgiving Dishes That Aren't Turducken or Deep-Fried Turkey

If you think manly Thanksgiving dishes, you probably think right away of outdoor danger-cooking: deep-fried turkey. Or you think of meat overload in the shape of the ol' turducken. I even think of a traditional Thanksgiving favorite in my house growing up, since my father refused to eat turkey: rare filet mignon.

Let's step outside that for a bit. We're going to go through Thanksgiving meal course by course, and I'll throw out a few ideas for manly holiday offerings. This list wouldn't necessarily work well as a coherent Thanksgiving banquet (well...maybe...), but if you're the sort who is clicking on a Manly Thanksgiving Dishes link, it's likely that you're not the cook, but are considerately looking for a way you can contribute to the festivities.

These recipes are perfect, will impress the hostess, and please the host.

And, like men, most of these are beautifully simple.

Antipasto platter

First bit of advice. Don't load up the plate with bread and crackers. You might choose to bring a loaf of bread, but not on the platter. Don't rob these salty and ag├Ęd foods of their glory, nor suggest that it would be better to eat them on bread. Olives, cured meats, nuts, cheeses...these do not need panerific pandering.

And don't do the cute little deli meat roll-up thing. Any cheese you can roll up, as nice as it might be in another place and time, is not worth having on your Thanksgiving platter. And if you roll up the meat, well. You either cut the sausage too thin or you aren't showing the prosciutto's fat to full effect.

Suggested platter would include two or three types of each: olives, hard cheeses, soft cheeses, cured sausages, cured hams. Throw in bonuses of fresh figs, honey, pickled veggies.

Don't even worry about how the different cheeses and meats might combine. If you get a variety like that suggested above, that will take care of itself.

Finding a variety of cured sausages in one place can be annoying. Whole Foods or Earth Fare would be a good place to stop.

Epic Salad

This is The Guy Can Cook's Epic Salad. It borders on being an antipasto plate. If you look at the photo, you can see that we're dealing with a single serving. Since you'll be working in festal proportions, epic proportions, really, the recipe is easily adjusted. Just have proportionally more greens and onions when by the time you're done. The added size will win back the man points lost with added greens. After all, in the context of the meal this is a side salad.

The dressing is one I make often, involving dijon mustard, and is perfect for any salad involving boiled eggs. You might even like to add a touch of white wine. Lettuce (not iceberg, please, brother), onions, radishes, boiled eggs, sausages, dijon dressing. Epic Thanksgiving victory. Throw in some tomatoes or cucumbers, no harm done.

Cabbage with Apples, Onion, and Caraway

This is a New York Times recipe. I will urge you to to add lots of coarse black pepper to the dish, but see that every ingredient in the dish is manly: cabbage, butter, onions, apples, celery, caraway, scallions. Okay, maybe the scallions aren't manly.

Celery and caraway both have flavors that make you raise your head and straighten your shoulders. That is, they let you know that you're about to eat real food. This dish will do that, and will appease the slightly sweet requirement some people seem to have for their Thanksgiving tables.

I'm not a fan of cranberry sauce. It exists because New England and turkey. But is that reason enough?

I say no.

Therefore a bonus with this dish is that if you slow cook this bad boy, it turns into a reddish-purple German blaukraut mash that will fill the chromic gap left by getting rid of the cranberry sauce.

By the way, if my wife reads this bit about cranberry sauce, words will be had. I'm ready. Thanksgiving is a time of deep aesthetic division between the two of us.

Scalloped Potatoes

I've never been able to recapture the starchy creamy cheesy crispy lost joys of my sainted mother's scalloped potatoes. I have no recipe to share with you.

Just...just...go make some. And bring it by my house.

Man Log

This unfortunately named dish is a prize winner. Here's the recipe over at Recipe By Photo.

Gentlemen, this is a basket of bacon stuffed with sausage and cheese. Maybe too much cheese, but still.

Bonus from this dish: you will be able to hang with the ladies when they're trash-talking about their pies with latticed crusts. You just latticed bacon, after all.

And if you want to get truly serious in a man log direction, go medieval: do a pancetta bacon stuffed deboned rabbit wrapped in pancetta bacon.

This dude's Thai Lemongrass Chili BBQ Chicken

Here's one I've never done. Why don't you tell me how it goes?

This is the recipe, with lots of photo instruction.

It's made by placing the marinated chicken on a beer can, placing a small oil drum over the chicken, covering the oil drum in straw, and lighting the straw on fire. After fifteen minutes, it's ready. However, like the original recipe poster, I will not be held responsible if you set light to yourself your house, pets, etc. Or get food poisoning.


There it is, lads. A few manly ideas. Wouldn't mind it at all if you shared a few with me.

I'm very excited about the next two months. It's the most wonderful time of the year. May I wish you joy of the coming holy days, and many pounds gained as sign of that joy?