A tasty way to break from holiday tradition

Published 8:49 am Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I like turkey.

I don’t eat a lot of it so Thanksgiving is right up my alley.

Typically, we smoke our Thanksgiving turkey. Jason usually brines our bird for about two days in a case of beer. I know what you’re thinking but it actually works really well.

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It doesn’t lend a lot of flavor to the bird, which is good for those of us who don’t like beer.

However, the salt and sugars in beer do a good job of penetrating the meat and making sure your Thanksgiving rock star stays juicy.

I know there are a lot of people who don’t care for turkey because it’s dry.

A brine will go a long way in keeping your turkey moist, regardless of how you cook it.

You don’t have to use beer. A 1-to1 ratio of salt to sugar mixture with enough water to cover your turkey is a perfectly okay brine. It accomplishes mostly the same thing.

But, for those of you who are totally against turkey on Thanksgiving for whatever reason, you have plenty of festive options.

Pork roast, hams, chicken and lamb have all recently found favor in November.

If you’ve got a large family gathering to feed, a pork roast is an affordable way to do it.

Here’s a simple recipe that is a pretty good substitute for you if you just can bring yourself to bring a big, juicy turkey to your dinner table.

You’ll need:

1 to 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

2 cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced

2 tablespoons dried cranberries or raisins

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the pork roast in a roasting pan or casserole dish. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir. Spoon the apple mixture around the pork tenderloin. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Remove the lid and spoon the apple mixture over the tenderloin. Return to the oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until pork is browned and cooked through. A meat thermometer in the center should register at least 150 to 160 degrees. Since weights of the roast will vary, temperature here is key.

 Tiffany Cannon is a field editor for Taste of Home Magazine.