The last thing you need planning the year’s biggest food fest is more advice. By the time the first leaf turns, magazine racks groan with recipes, Facebook feeds become waterfalls of family secrets (orange peel in the cranberry sauce! No salt in the pie crust!). Hosting means a clogged kitchen — competing in-laws, rival teams, to-stuff or not-to-stuff. For us, the best part is the day after: a man and his leftovers, no pressure, and no rules. But instead of a fridge raid — cold turkey, stale bread — let us offer a dollop of help. Upgrade your tryptophan-hangover helpers with these artisanal accouterments.
Sriracha Mustard // Green Mountain Mustard // Richmond, VT
Devotees of the cult-hit hot sauce know it works on everything from popcorn to peanut butter sandwiches — mixing it into mustard is a no brainer. But what sets this spread apart is the Sriracha within ain’t your typical mini-mart rooster sauce, but instead a hand-made mix of fresh Fresno chilies, garlic, vinegar, and Green Mountain’s house blend of mustard spices.
Spicy Maple Bourbon Pickles // Brooklyn Brine // Brooklyn, NY
Fresh green discs, perfectly crinkle-cut, afloat in an onion-and-spice-packed brine: It looks like a pickle, it sounds like a pickle (crunch), but it tastes nothing like the sour dills you know, thanks to a swirl of organic New York State maple syrup and a shot of Finger Lakes Distilling’s spicy McKenzie rye. Like a pre-made pickle back, try ’em in a sandwich and we promise you’ll reach for the whole jar next.
Maplewood Smoked Bacon // Broadbent’s // Kuttawa, KY
Broadbent’s century-old masters of Kentucky-style country ham — that’s salt-cured, aged, and lightly smoked, Yankee boy — obviously know a thing or two about good bacon. These salty, smoky, sweetly spiced slices, hand-rubbed with Broadbent’s secret dry cure, aren’t as show-stopping as a traditional hog leg centerpiece, but make for more manageable munchies, especially post-feast. Add to your turkey sandwich, and use the good-as-gold grease to caramelize some leftover Brussels sprouts.
Chili Spice // Oaktown Spice Shop // Oakland, CA
Leftover turkey screams sandwich — and there’s nothing wrong with going classic. But for a bit of a twist, turn that bird into a bone-sticking bowl of chili by simmering some slices with tomatoes, beans, a bit of garlic, and a dash of Oaktown’s special spice blend (Santa Fe or Regular). Got a bowl of mash at hand? Top a ramekin with a scoop or two of potatoes and bake to brown for a shepherd’s pie worth selling the flock for.
Good News Cashew and Coconut Granola // Hudson Henry Baking Co. // Palmyra, VA
Say you’re feeling peckish the morning after but want something a little lighter than a turkey sandwich breakfast — wake up your tryptophan-numbed taste buds with a bowl of tart Greek yogurt, a dollop of cranberry sauce, and a few scoops of this nutty sweet nosh, made with oats, cashews, and, best of all, where most granola swings into junk-food territory with sugars and fats, real maple syrup and healthy coconut oil.
Chef’s Cut Turkey Jerky // Chef’s Cut // Naples, FL
Spice up your snacking day-of or day-after with these protein-packed paleo munchies. Made from all white breast meat with no nitrates or corn syrup, and beguilingly spiced with a chef’s secret blend, including tongue-kicking horseradish, tropical sweet tamarind, and plenty of cracked black pepper.