Alturkeynives: Give thanks without the fowl
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    Photos by Trevor Seela / North by Northwestern

    Why waste hours at the oven roasting a bird that will spend weeks shriveling in the back of your fridge? Stuff your gut with a new beast this Thanksgiving. Here are four hearty recipes that cut the turkey out of Turkey Day but still give you what you want: enough meat to put you to sleep.

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    Hoisin and molasses glazed ribs

    by Caleb Melby

    Don’t let all that molasses fuel you. These aren’t your typical sweet wet ribs. This recipe uses everyone’s favorite faux/pan-Asian catch-all ingredient, hoisin sauce, to create a slab of rich, complex ribs that are the very antithesis of Aunt Mona’s dry-ass turkey.


    • 1 rack pork ribs
    • 2/3 cup hoisin
    • 2/3 cup molasses
    • 1/8 cup water
    • A dash of cinnamon
    • A dash of ginger
    • Cracked black pepper

    Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Clean all excess skin off ribs. Mix all ingredients together and pour over ribs in pan. Cover pan and cook for 3 hours. Remove lid and cook for 45 minutes, basting every 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then serve. Serves 2. Expert advice: prepare and marinate ribs the night before, this will make them even more tender.

    Pair these ribs with a good beer, and you’ll fill up fast. So opt for something light, like some wilted spinach. Drizzle some olive oil in a pan and a pile in a handful of spinach per person. As its cooking toss in a dash of garlic salt. Remove spinach when wilted. Serve with ribs.

    If you want to try and pair a wine with ribs, be our guest, but they’re best enjoyed with beer. As a rule of thumb, always match the flavor strength of your drink to the flavor strength of your food. That is, subtle foods get subtle drinks, and loud foods get loud drinks. These ribs aren’t subtle. Bitter beers and ones with roasted malt flavors are the way to go. Like bitter? Try an American Pale Ale. Roasted? Go with an Oktoberfest Lager. Running with an Imperial Stout is a perfect compromise.

    Bean and bleu burgers

    by Caleb Melby

    Who said you need to kill a good burger by dousing it in ketchup and mustard? Try bringing out a burger’s natural flavors by cooking it with these ingredients.


    • 2 lbs fresh hamburger
    • 2 cups mung bean sprouts, chopped
    • ½ cup tomato juice
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon basil
    • 1 chunk, thin vein bleu cheese
    • Instructions
      Mix all ingredients except bleu cheese. Form into patties and cook in skillet on stove at medium high. Allowing outsides to become charred will give burger layers of flavor. When cooked to your liking, remove burger, and serve with bleu cheese on the side.

      Serve your burgers with a cranberry vinaigrette salad. Toss some almonds and pear slices on top of a bed of dark, leafy greens, and drizzle your favorite cranberry vinaigrette on top.

      Mix things up by serving this burger with a sweet white wine, like a Riesling, which will help bring out the flavors under the bleu’s most prominent salty notes.

    Grapefruit Steak

    by Trevor Seela

    You’ve probably had steak with a heavy marinade before–that typical hearty dish stewing in a dark garlic marinade. This steak marinade takes a lighter approach to the typically heavy-handed flavors of steak.


    • 1lb steak (cheaper, rougher cuts will work best)
    • 1 grapefruit
    • 1 tbsp thyme
    • 3 tbsp olive oil or other oil

    Juice grapefruit into bowl and combine with thyme and oil. Mix. Pour over steak in a bowl and let it set overnight. Depending on the cut and thickness of your steak, cook it anywhere from 3-5 minutes or more per side, depending on how you like it cooked. Seriously, just Google cooking a steak.

    Pair this dish with a side of fruit, such as cranberry sauce, or a tossed salad with a light citrus dressing.

    Of course you could try and pair this wine with a nice red wine, but I enjoyed it more with citrus-flavored white wines. However, the best drink pairing happened to be Sam Adams White Ale–found in most of their winter multi-packs.

    Cheese-Stuffed Cranberry Hamburger

    by Trevor Seela

    If you’re looking for a dish that doesn’t weigh you down and leaves room for all those Thanksgiving side dishes, look no further. It’s a standard burger with a Thanksgiving twist.

    Ingredients (for one burger)

    • 1/4 to 1/3 lb hamburger (93% lean for the best results)
    • Two large chunks of cheese or about 1/8 cup of crumbled cheese, Muenster for a lighter flavor, Gruyere for a heaver. Any cheese will do.
    • 1/4 cup cranberries
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • cilantro
    • Bun

    First, make a sauce out of the cranberries. Put them in a sauce pan with water, boil them until they become mushy. Add the sugar and set that to the side–you’ll top the burger with it later. Next, flatten out your hamburger into a patty about twice the size you want. Put the cheese in the middle and fold it up. If you use a fattier beef, it will shrink an burst during cooking, releasing all the cheese into the pan. Next, heat up a pan on low to medium low heat. To assure the cheese gets melted without burning the outside of the burger, you will want to cook the burger on a low heat. Cook for 4-5 or more minutes per side, depending on how thick your burger is. While you are waiting, top one half of the bun with your cranberry sauce and a little bit of fresh cilantro. You can also garnish with tomatoes, onions, and pickles.

    The cranberry flavor in this dish isn’t overwhelming, but if you pair it with your standard cranberry sauce, it will definitely bring out the cranberry flavor in this book. Otherwise, pair it with your favorite dish–fries, yams, potatoes, vegetables and so on.

    I thought it would be great to pair this with a cranberry beer. However, every cranberry beer I tried tasted awful and bitter, so avoid them at all cost. Try it with a sweet wine to bring out the flavors of the cranberry sauce or with Sam Adams Boston Lager or Chocolate Bock (again found in some winter multi-packs).


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