Chef Tom’s Turkey Alternatives

Not a big Roast Turkey fan. Never been. I do like the ceremony, though, a lot. Over the years I’ve kept the ritual of bringing something magnificent to the table and carving it, but I’ve replaced the bird – with beef or pork. These cuts are much more forgiving, way juicier, and still make for an elegant presentation.

Here are my two favorite go-to crowd pleasers for that Thanksgiving centerpiece.

NY Strip Roast

Roast New York Strip Loin with Garlic-Herb Crust

Serves 8

New York strip loin, also called top loin of beef, is a succulent, elegant roast. If you want a lot of leftovers (they are great for sandwiches), use a seven-pound roast and multiply the seasonings by 2. I’ve marinated it overnight, all the way up to roasting time.

Either way, have your butcher trim some of the fat, leaving about 1/4 inch for the best flavor. With this as your entrée, who needs a turkey.

Uncork a big red, like Cabernet Sauvignon, a luscious Cab-Franc, or a yummy Bordeaux.

6 garlic cloves

12 fresh sage leaves

6 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

6 teaspoons olive oil

3 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

3 pounds boneless beef loin New York strip roast, fat trimmed to 1/4 inch

Place garlic cloves into a blender and add the next four ingredients. Pulse until a thick paste forms. Add a bit more oil to get the ingredients moving.

Pat meat dry with paper towels. Rub meat all over with herb paste. Cover; chill at least 3 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place meat, fat side up, on rack in roasting pan. Roast meat 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Roast meat until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat registers 130°F for medium-rare, about 35 minutes (or 140°F for medium, about 40 minutes).

Remove from oven; let stand 20 minutes. Cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices on platter.

Roast Pork

Roast Pork Provencal with Onions and Olives

Serves 8

I found this amazing recipe in a little cookbook called Lulu’s Provençal Table. I’ve changed it up a little, including BOTH the olives and the pearl onions, rather than one or the other.

Soaking it milk overnight seems weird, I know, but the enzymes in the milk act on proteins in the meat to break them down and soften the muscle fibers. The recipe calls for a pork loin roast which, like turkey breast, if not handled right, can be tough and flavorless. But the overnight soak in milk, herbs and spices make for a juicy, flavorful main course.

Draping the final roast in savory oil-cured olives and glazed pearl onions makes for an impressive show-stopper.

The savory notes blend well with the herbaceous, slightly zesty nature of Sauvignon Blanc. This white wine is also higher in acidity, and it marries well with the aromatic notes of the dish. Pinot Grigio is also lightly floral and spritzy, and its subtle fruit notes bring out the savory herbs. A cool-climate Merlot has a more savory presence along with tart berries and earthy notes. It is an excellent match for roasted pork and roasted vegetables.


3 pieces fresh sage

2 pinches clove, ground

2 pinches nutmeg, ground

2 cups white wine

6 pieces fresh sage

1/2 pound pickling onions

1/4 pound oil-cured black ripe olives, pitted

1 tablespoon sugar

4 pounds pork loin roast

1/2 gallon milk


Press sage leaves into surface of roast in a deep dish casserole.  Sprinkle with cloves and nutmeg. Pour over milk to cover and hold overnight in a cool place.

Preheat oven to 450.  Remove loin from milk, pat dry, discard milk.  Press sage leaves into length of roast.  Salt and pepper surface of roast and place it in a heavy casserole and roast.  Roast for ten minutes later, then turn oven down to 325. 

Bring wine to boil and turn off heat.  Begin to baste the meat with wine, 1/2 cup at a time, every 15 minutes.  Roast 1 hour 30 minutes all together, or until instant read thermometer reaches 140 degrees.

While roast is cooking, place onions, sugar, salt and pepper, and butter in a pan large enough to hold them in a single layer.  Just cover with water and bring to a boil, covering pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove lid, turn up the heat and shaking pan regularly, reduce liquid to glaze onions to golden brown. Add the olives and stir to coat. 

15 minutes before removing roast, add onions and olives to the roasting pan.

Remove roast to carving board and let sit for 15 minutes.  Remove strings and slice into 1/2″ slices, placing slices onto a deep plate and spreading juices, olives and onions over the top.


Brothers Moving

Brothers Moving

As you know I am a fan of street music. I love raw, rough talent. Stumbled onto these guys and thought you might get a kick of them.

Brothers Moving is a Danish band formed in the streets of New York. While the band stuck to their roots and independence as street musicians, they quickly began gigging regularly in smaller clubs, at private parties and at fashion events in and around New York City.

In 2009, they passed auditions for the MUNY (Music Under New York) membership.

Although Brothers Moving didn’t get much attention in their home country, the band’s popularity has grown in other places. This is in large part due to a video filmed on a cellphone by a spectator in Union Square, NY, which captured the band performing the Cab Calloway classic “Minnie the Moocher” during one of their street sets (see BONUS TRACK below).

In 2016 they headlined their debut concerts in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, which appeared to sell out and were well received by the public. Later that same year, Brothers Moving also performed at Fusion Festival in Germany, and at Stereoleto Festival in Saint Petersburg.

Brothers Moving’s self-titled debut album was recorded in the spring of 2012, and released independently on July 18, 2012. The album contained mainly songs from their street set, along with a few original compositions.

They have continued to release singles and albums, releasing their second album, Autonomy, in 2018, and a single, “Talking to Yourself,” in 2020.

Here’s but a smattering of their work.

Train (official video)

Roxanne (The Police) @ Grand Canyon

In Danish, and in Boulder.

2014 July 2 – Brothers Moving – Pearl St. – Boulder, CO

City Lights


The vid that got them a lot of attention at the beginning. I like the bit at the very end.

Minnie the Moocher (@ Union Square – NYC) : The Back of the Busk


Remember this?

Melbourne Ska Orchestra – Get Smart (Official FULL Version)


Chef Tom is currently transitioning from Personal Chef to Private Chef. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at

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