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Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. You don’t have to worry about buying someone a gift, the weather usually hasn’t gotten so cold that your toes want to fall off, you get to spend quality time with family or friends, and maybe most importantly, you get to eat your way through lots of great food.
However, if you go to a Thanksgiving feast and the quality of the food is garbage, the holiday can feel somewhat diminished. I’m far from the only person who has been excited to see a plump turkey come out of the oven, only for it to be drier than the Sahara. It’s disappointing, especially if you’ve had out-of-this-world turkey from joints like Franklin Barbecue or from my uncle John.
Thankfully, for those of us in the New York area, we have some choices on how to make Thanksgiving go smoothly. If we’re in an apartment or house without a good kitchen setup, we can go out to eat at cool restaurants or order delicious food in advance from many of our best barbecue joints.
For those looking to dine in, two great BBQ joints that are actually going to be open on Thanksgiving are Hill Country Barbecue Market in Flatiron and Holy Ground in Tribeca. Hill Country will be offering all-you-can-eat pit-smoked turkey with pan gravy, beef brisket, pumpkin pie, and more for $60 per person. Holy Ground will be offering a special pre-fixe three-course dinner that includes smoked turkey, pumpkin soup, roasted sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and more for $100 per person.
If you’d rather pre-order food from some of the best BBQ joints here, you have quite a few good options. Here are your choices for pre-ordering Thanksgiving BBQ feasts (apologies if I missed any joints here):
Blue Smoke in Manhattan is offering two different packages: one that feeds up to 4 guests and one that feeds up to 10 guests. Both packages include turkey, mashed potatoes, biscuits, pie, and more.
Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue is offering a special package with either smoked turkey or a whole barbecue brisket, which is frankly awesome. You can also get collard greens, cornbread, mac 'n' cheese, and beans added on if you want.
Hamilton Pork in Jersey City is taking a limited number of orders for whole smoked turkeys weighing 10 to 12 pounds. You can also add on HP’s diverse sides to the order as well.
Hill Country in Manhattan is offering what they call the Rancher’s Feast, which includes pit-roasted turkey, cornbread, sides, and pie. You can also order a la carte and build a custom order if need be.
Mable’s Smokehouse in Brooklyn is offering up smoked turkeys that can serve 10 to 12 people. If you go with this, be sure to add on a side of Mable’s yams, which are uniquely suited for Thanksgiving.
Pig Beach in Brooklyn is offering a Thanksgiving feast where you can order either smoked turkey or a spiral ham, then add in two sides (like mac 'n' cheese or cornbread stuffing) and one sweet (like pumpkin pie or red velvet cupcakes).
All of these options are good choices, but if you don’t get your pre-orders in by Monday or earlier, you won’t be able to take part.
As for my own Thanksgiving this year, I’ll be spending it amongst close friends that are like family to me. I’ll be bringing homemade mac ‘n’ cheese made with my modest kitchen setup. My secret: a little more butter than the recipe calls for and a blend of three cheeses: sharp cheddar, colby jack, and smoked gouda.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Founder, NYC BBQ
EAT ALL ABOUT IT
Here are the top BBQ and food stories in New York area this week:
North Fork Bacon & Smokehouse, located in the Wading River section of Long Island, has closed after four years in business. “The lease was up and I was unable to renegotiate fair terms with our landlord,” owner and pitmaster Patrick Gaeta wrote on Facebookrecently.
Speaking of Long Island, a new BBQ joint called Smōk-hau̇s just opened its doors in Garden City this past Tuesday in Nassau. The joint mixes traditional American BBQ (ribs, pulled pork, brisket) with "international fare" (beef and lamb gyros, porchetta).
In a uniquely American story this week, Mayada Anjari, a refugee from Syria who lives in New Jersey, prepares to make her first Thanksgiving meal for her family. Thanksgiving dinner is a big task for someone who has never made it before, but Anjari is determined.
Four great New York City restaurants made Eater's list of 38 essential American restaurants. While none of them were BBQ, two top BBQ joints (one in Austin and one in San Antonio) did make the list.
Kim Severson of the New York Times writes this week about the rise and fall of turkey brining. It turns out that you probably don’t have to brine your turkey after all.
Here are the top BBQ (and related) food events coming soon to the New York metro area:
November 18: The Brooklyn Chocolate Festival will take place at the Aviator Sports & Events Center, and it will feature samples of chocolate covered bacon, fruits, toffee, honey, pretzels, pickles, and more. Early bird adult tickets run $10 and child tickets run $7. Buy tickets here.
December 1: The Brooklyn Whiskey and Craft Spirits Fest is happening Saturday, December 1 at the Brooklyn Expo Center. The event will feature more than 100 types of spirits, from whiskey to moonshine to mezcal. Meet the distillers, master blenders, and other experts. Buy tickets here.
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