Look, we understand your anxiety about Thanksgiving dinner.

It’s the turkey, right?

It takes forever to thaw, you have to cook it just right and – let’s face it – it’s kind of slimy and gross. (Giblets, anyone?)

pexels-chicken-picBut you’re not bound to convention. In fact, there are several meat-oriented Thanksgiving dinner options out there. And, of course, turkey is not the only bird in town.

Chicken makes for a fine Thanksgiving option for several reasons. First of all, you can buy a full bird, which is sort of like the turkey concept but with less stress in the kitchen. Also, all of your typical turkey sides go perfectly with chicken.

Sarah Ziegenbein (pictured above) and Ryan Reeber offer a nice classic roasted chicken recipe to go with their BeeWench Farm chickens, sold at farmers’ markets.

Of course, if you’re expecting a really big family gathering, you might need a few chickens. Or, well . . . maybe a turkey. (They do make the house smell terrific!)


Crock-pot version:

  • Place chicken in crock-pot, breast-side down.
  • Sprinkle liberally with herbs of choice and salt
  • Cover and cook on low – 4-5 hours for a 3 ½-pound chicken, 5-6 hours for a 4-pound chicken.

Oven version:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Slice one cube of butter and place between skin and breast meat
  • Season liberally with choice of herbs and salt
  • Place chicken, breast-side up, on rack, place rack in roasting pan
  • Optional: Place shallots, thyme sprigs and lemon in chicken cavity
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Then increase temperature to 450 degrees without removing the chicken.
  • Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in meaty part of the leg registers at 165 degrees.
  • Remove chicken from pan and let stand for ten minutes.


Find the BeeWench Farms booth at farmers’ markets in Arroyo Grande (Wednesdays, Smart & Final parking lot, from 8:30-11 a.m.); Morro Bay (Thursday, Spencer’s Fresh Market parking lot, 2:30-5 p.m.); and San Luis Obispo (Thursdays, downtown, 6-9 p.m.).