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9 Tasty Turkey Dishes to Get You Ready for Thanksgiving

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To take advantage of Chase Sapphire Preferred’s lucrative offer of 3x points on dining on the first Friday of every month — until January 2016 — we regularly round up the best in food and drink. To kick off November, TPG Contributor Betsy Mikel suggests nine of the best turkey dishes that will prepare your tastebuds for Thanksgiving. Note that this First Friday bonus will no longer be offered as of January 2016, so now’s the time to take advantage of those 3x points on dining!

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’re getting antsy for some turkey — and a single day dedicated to this dish is hardly enough. So why wait until the big meal on November 26 when you can get to gobbling today? Thanks to the following nine restaurants across America, you can grab a turkey burger, meatloaf, chili, pot pie and other scrumptious poultry dishes any time of year.

Photo courtesy of The City Tavern.
Colonial Turkey Pot Pie. Photo courtesy of The City Tavern.

1. Colonial Turkey Pot Pie
The City Tavern — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Take a seat and/or a bite at The City Tavern and you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time, since the entire menu here is inspired by authentic tavern fare from the 1770s. In fact, the original First Lady of the United States inspired Chef Walter Staib’s turkey pot pie. In Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery, she suggests serving turkey pot pie with a side of egg noodles — so The City Tavern does just that. You’ll even eat this savory pie out of a pewter dish, just as the Founding Fathers did.

Every pot pie is made fresh from scratch daily, starting with the roasting of whole turkeys. The resulting pie is chock-full of mushrooms, early peas, red potatoes and turkey that is tossed gently in a creamy sherry sauce and then covered with a flaky pastry crust. And hooray, it’s served for both lunch ($13.95) and dinner ($21.95).

Macaroni-and-cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy and a slab of classic turkey meatloaf — oh, my. Photo courtesy of Kitchenette on Facebook.

2. Turkey Meatloaf
Kitchenette — locations in New York City and High Falls, New York

For homestyle comfort food, look no further than Kitchenette. Take a seat in the brightly painted dining room at a tabletop constructed from a reclaimed wood door. Open up the menu to find an extensive offering of Southern-style dishes such as biscuits, chicken and waffles and the signature Kitchenette dish: turkey meatloaf.

Why is it such a popular menu item? Kitchenette owners Lisa Hall and Ann Nickinson, who’ve been serving meatloaf for 22 years, say that their classic meatloaf is “like a gray flannel suit that never goes out of style.” They attribute their particular ‘loaf’s deliciousness to fresh ingredients and a focus on seasoning and depth of flavor. Served with mashed potatoes and gravy, Kitchenette’s meatloaf is $17.50 at the New York City location and $16 at the High Falls restaurant.

Jumbo Turkey Leg. Photo by Robert C. on Yelp
Behold, Disney’s Jumbo Turkey Leg. Photo by Robert C. on Yelp.

3. Jumbo Turkey Leg
Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida / Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California

Described as “Disney’s latest megahit,” these jumbo turkey legs served at the entertainment conglomerate’s Florida and California theme parks have even made an appearance in the New York Times. Each ginormous, 1.5-pound drumstick is crispy on the outside with moist, tender meat inside. They’re available at various stands across the parks and prices may vary by a dollar or two, depending on where you snag a leg. At Toluca Legs Turkey Co. at Hollywood Studios, for example, a turkey leg with chips will run you $11.99.

It’s not entirely clear how the JTL became such a popular food item at Disney, but social media seems partly responsible — after all, who can resist an Instagram selfie with an almost comically huge turkey leg? If snapping a photo’s not enough to help you remember this tasty treat, though, be sure to pick up turkey leg souvenirs to bring back home.

Photo courtesy of Corkscrew BBQ.
A plate piled high with turkey by the pound. Photo courtesy of Corkscrew BBQ.

4. Turkey By-the-Pound
CorkScrew BBQ — Old Town Spring, Texas

Show up early to get your fill of CorkScrew BBQ’s wood-smoked barbecued meats. Because once they sell out for the day, not a shred of meat remains. Will and Nicole Buckman fire up the pit at 5pm to prep the next day’s brisket, pulled pork, link sausage, pork spare ribs and turkey. And every single day, it all gets gobbled up by hungry customers who wait hours to sit at CorkScrew’s giant communal picnic tables and feast on family-style plates piled high with the raved-about barbecue.

CorkScrew BBQ’s turkey is all natural white meat breast that’s smoked for five hours in their top-secret special seasoning mix. They’ll serve it up in almost any way you want. Grab a turkey sandwich loaded with a half-pound of meat for $7.75, or order it by the pound for $14 per pound. Everything — sauces, brines, seasonings, cobblers, you name it — is homemade daily. You won’t find fresher barbecue in the state of Texas.

Turkey & White Bean Chili. Photo courtesy of Slim’s Last Chance Chili Shack.
Turkey & White Bean Chili. Photo courtesy of Slim’s Last Chance Chili Shack.

5. Turkey & White Bean Chili
Slim’s Last Chance Chili Shack — Seattle, Washington

The real start of fall is that first time you have a taste for a hearty bowl of chili. The chili aficionados at Slim’s Last Chance Chili Shack can hook you up. The Georgetown neighborhood eatery has appeared on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and has been named one of the top chili spot by Bon Appetite, as well as having appeared on the Travel Channel’s Food Paradise: Chili.

Owner Celeste Lucas added the the Turkey & White Bean Chili to the menu because she wanted to create a lighter and leaner chili. But she still wanted to keep it traditional with ground meat and Texas-style chili peper. She says most leaner chilis use vegetables or turkey chunks.

Slim’s starts the chili off with sautéed chili peppers, onions and garlic, then adds fresh natural ground turkey, their in-house spice blend and organic turkey stock. It’s slowly simmered for at least 90 minutes to ensure a melding of flavors.

Slim’s serves cups for $6 and bowls for $9. You can order it served over jalapeno mac n’ cheese, cheesy grits or warm cornbread. Or, order “the works,” which includes all toppings: cheddar and pepperjack cheeses, whole grilled jalapeno pepper, sour cream, chives, tortilla strips, diced tomatoes and diced onions.

Turkey Burger. Courtesy of Epic Burger.
The Turkey Burger from Epic Burger. Courtesy of the restaurant.

6. Turkey Burger
Epic Burger — Chicago and Skokie, Illinois

Even if you’re off the red meat train, you can still bite into a mouth-watering burger. Epic’s Turkey Burgers are served on buns that are baked fresh daily, and they’re available at all seven Chicagoland locations. This delicious patty is made from all-natural ground turkey that’s been humanely raised and harvested on small family Michigan farms. “We believe that with all the care in raising the turkey, the flavor of the poultry really shines when we cook it perfectly,” says Aaron Langguth, the restaurant’s business administrator.

Epic Burger’s Turkey Burger Classic comes with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions and house-made Epic sauce. There’s a size for every appetite: $5.29 for a junior, $6.29 for a regular and $7.79 for a double. Add tasty toppings, such as premium Wisconsin cheese or a cage-free organic fried egg, for an additional $.99 each.

Turkey Dinner at Turkey Roost. Photo by Barbie M. on Yelp.

7. Turkey Dinner
Turkey Roost — Kawkawlin, Michigan

If you find yourself driving on I-75 and pass by Kawkawlin, stop at the Turkey Roost for a fast and hot meal. Inside, it’s always Thanksgiving — and it has been since the Turkey Root opened its doors in 1955. This local institution is known not only for their standout turkey dishes, but also for their reasonable prices, vintage charm and lightning-quick service.

Some dedicated fans swear by the $8.25 turkey plate, complete with dark and white meat, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cooked vegetables, coleslaw, cranberry sauce and a buttermilk biscuit. Others recommend the $6.25 hot turkey sandwich stuffed with dark and white meat and served with mashed potatoes smothered in gravy.

Turkey Chili. Photo by Deidre B.
Turkey Chili at Polly’s Pies. Photo by Deidre B. on Yelp.

8. Turkey Chili
Polly’s Pies — 16 Southern California locations

Polly’s Pies is a family-owned restaurant group that’s been in business for more than 40 years — and just about every menu item they offer is made from scratch.

At joints with this particular name, of course you’ll find several pies on each menu, but unexpectedly, one of the house favorites at both lunch and dinner is the turkey chili. Each serving has kidney beans, locally grown Foster Farms ground turkey and a mix of spices simmered in a hearty tomato base. The chili is then served over fresh-baked cornbread and comes topped with cheddar cheese, chopped sweet onions and sour cream. A cup is $4.79 and a bowl is $6.99.

Habanero Smoked Turkey Breast. Photo courtesy of Salt Lick Bar-B-Que.
Habanero Smoked Turkey Breast. Photo courtesy of Salt Lick Bar-B-Que.

9. Habanero Smoked Turkey Breast
Salt Lick Bar-B-Que — Round Rock, Texas

Head to Salt Lick Bar-B-Que to order up a plate stacked high with mouthwatering barbecued meats, all smoked over an open pit. Salt Lick is the only purveyor of turkey on this list that takes online orders and ships; order a three- to four-pound habanero smoked turkey breast or original smoked turkey breast for $49.95, plus shipping. To get 3x Ultimate Rewards with your Chase Sapphire Preferred, though, be sure to order today (or on the first Friday of December 2015).

If you live close by the Salt Lick, choose from one of their turkey plates ($13.95), a combo plate with turkey and another choice of meat ($14.95), a half-pound of turkey ($7.95) or a turkey sandwich ($8.95.) Note: Salt Lick’s Driftwood location is cash only, so to benefit from the Chase First Friday bonus, swing by the Round Rock location, which takes cards.

What are your own favorite turkey dishes at American eateries?

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