The Meat Guy Fieri Recommends Ahead Of A Looming Turkey Shortage

Do you remember how Elmer Fudd was always wandering around toon town with a firearm, looking for that elusive "wascally wabbit?" Well, turkey suppliers might be feeling rather Fudd-like this holiday season as they search for supply; global inflation and an "acute" case of avian flu have made turkeys, Thanksgiving's star fowl, rather hard to come by this year (per CNBC). The numbers coming from the USD indicate a 73% increase in the price of turkey this year over last, largely due to the bird flu that farmers were seeing way back in July.

If turkeys are harder to come by this year (and the ones you might get your hands on are far more expensive), then what's a Thanksgiving lover to do? The bird has been a tradition at the table since President Abraham declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863 (via Britannica). A turkey doesn't give milk or eggs, so it's a bird raised on farms today primarily for its meat, and one turkey can feed quite a crowd, making it the perfect choice for the family-and-friends-centric holiday. 

If your turkey day proves to be turkey-less, allow Guy Fieri to help you out. While there may be some foods to which Fieri gives a hard pass, the "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" host has a pilgrim's hat full of alternative Thanksgiving centerpieces and knows that there are worse things than a Thanksgiving without turkey.

Fieri offers main dish alternatives for Thanksgiving

"It was a bad day," Fieri told Eater about his worst Thanksgiving ever. It wasn't a turkey shortage that created the disaster, but a bag mix-up that led to a bag of trash being refrigerated overnight, while a bag of turkey became a midnight feast for backyard dogs. No matter what mishap leads to your plan B Thanksgiving, Fieri's got some advice for you. "I do think you need some kind of poultry," the chef told Eater. "You could cheat it with some chicken if you had to, but I think lamb is also an excellent option." While not exactly a feathered friend, lamb would certainly be a show-stopping Thanksgiving Day choice. "It would be a good stand-in for the turkey," Fieri explains, "and it's special because it's something you don't have very often."

Lamb might not be "traditional" for a Thanksgiving feast, but the holiday has certainly seen weirder entrees. Per USA Today, at the table of founding father Alexander Hamilton — the man generally agreed to have said, "No citizen of the U.S. shall refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day" — you'd find dishes such as stewed eel, turtle soup, and even hogs' ears. Fieri did say that "ham is always one of the must-haves on Thanksgiving for me," but nothing about ears, specifically. So why not break the (jello) mold this turkey day, and make it a lamb or ham Day instead?