At the risk of sounding like your mother, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to do for Thanksgiving this year—even more so if you’re planning for takeout.
A holiday once reserved as a day for home cooking has increasingly become a day for opening wrapped packages of professionally cooked feasts and following simple reheating instructions even a frat boy couldn’t mess up. Thanksgiving takeout liberates us from that awkward procedure of extracting a plastic bag of giblets or, worse, finding a melted plastic bag of giblets. It guarantees we won’t end up eating a leathery, deflated football of a turkey like the Griswolds, and won’t spend half a day peeling potatoes and yams like a line cook. Takeout, unlike our own ovens, rarely lets us down.
Perhaps you tried Thanksgiving to-go for the first time last year, when restaurants pulled rabbits out of turkey butts to make up for lost profits resulting from the pandemic. But even before the transformation of takeout in 2020, Luby’s has been turning out meal packages for Black Friday Eve like a well-oiled machine for at least ten years. Its “Let us do the cooking!” slogan has become the ringing of a triangle dinner bell for everyone who doesn’t consider a day in the kitchen a desirable way to spend a holiday.
As Dan Solomon wrote four years ago in a Texas Monthly story headlined “In Defense of Just Eating Your Dang Thanksgiving Dinner at Luby’s,” the long-established cafeteria-style restaurant is “a place that fills many of us with various feelings, and none of ’em are bad.” The dine-in Thanksgiving Day special still costs less than $12, despite current inflation pressures, and for to-go dinners, the most affordable and traditionally Texan option on the list below is open for orders now.
We did mouthwatering research to find Thanksgiving takeout choices from around the state, including nontraditional selections like Chinese, Mediterranean, and Filipino feasts, and, of course, barbecue. These limited-quantity offerings do tend to sell out quickly, so if you’d prefer to stay in stretchy pants and watch the game in your easy chair this year, place your order soon—no blending, beating, or basting required.
Have you ever tried pumpkin hummus or honey pie? I haven’t yet, but the to-go dinner from Top Chef alumnus CJ Jacobson at Aba, a Mediterranean restaurant from Chicago that opened last year on Austin’s famous “SoCo” promenade, seems like a healthy choice. Offerings include beef tenderloin kebabs, crispy chicken thighs with greens and butternut squash, and black truffle orzo.
Meals are $59.95 per person for groups of two, four, or six. Pickup is November 24. Order via Tock by November 21 at 9 a.m.
Winner of Best Chef: Southwest at the James Beard Awards in 2017, Chilango chef Hugo Ortega has similar takeaway menus at two of his four restaurants in Houston. Pineapple-habanero whole spiral ham, a dozen tamales, or chocolate tres leches cake sounds like enough to lure any fan of Mexican food away from the American orthodox. Since it’s a day for more than one dessert, add a pumpkin pie with meringue and cajeta and a capirotada bread pudding too.
Ordering at Caracol and Hugo’s opens November 7 and meals will be available for pickup until November 24 between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. The last day to place an order is November 21. Family feast packages for eight to ten start at $225. Couples feasts are $95, and à la carte is also available.
Convenience West (Marfa)
Preorders are open now at Marfa’s best barbecue station, Convenience West, helmed by pitmaster Mark Scott. You’ll want the whole brisket for $140 or maybe three pounds of smoked turkey breast for $60. The renowned Carrot Dip-Dip with red bell peppers and pepitas also is available, as are cranberry-orange chess and cherry almond pies.
Orders should be picked up on November 24. Reheating instructions included.
Dai Due (Austin)
Texas’s most famous hog hunter, Jesse Griffiths, will offer Thanksgiving dinners to-go again this year at Dai Due with charcuterie options like nilgai antelope salami cotto and wild boar summer sausage. The organic Belle Vie turkeys have already sold out, but smoked wild boar hams ($75), ready-to-stuff quail ($8 each), and turducken sausages ($16 each) remain up for grabs. Sides like chicken fat mashed sweet potatoes and wild game dirty rice dressing will have carnivores licking their chops, and the goods are utilized even in the frozen pie dough made with butter and freshly rendered lard.
Order now for pickup November 22, 23, or 24. Many slots are already booked.
Evie Mae’s Pit Barbeque (Wolfforth)
The “crown jewel of West Texas barbecue,” Evie Mae’s, near Lubbock, is selling whole twice-smoked hams with a spiced sugar glaze for $70. Meat options continue with oak-smoked briskets ($160), turkey breasts ($50), and whole turkeys basted with spiced honey butter ($120). The gluten-free dessert menu consists of pumpkin and chocolate-pecan pies, as well as apple cobbler.
Vacuum-sealed hams, brisket, and turkey breasts are available for pickup November 23; get your hot hams and turkeys on November 24. Desserts available both days. Order here.
Feges BBQ (Houston)
Feges, by husband-and-wife culinary power team Erin Smith and Patrick Feges, is offering two staging areas from which to pick up your dining table centerpiece. Vacuum-sealed turkey breasts, sausage links, brisket, and pork ribs will be available at both of their Houston locations on November 23 and 24, and whole turkeys and bone-in rum-glazed smoked hams (both $135) fresh from the oven can be picked up on Thanksgiving morning from the Spring Branch location.
As reported in our Top 50 list, it’s the sides that steal the show at Feges, like the Korean braised greens, which “might be the best barbecue side dish in Texas.” A deep 9-by-12-inch pan of the greens is on the menu, along with other sides including the hog fat cornbread with cinnamon butter, and a rum raisin bread pudding for dessert (all $40). Orders can be placed here until November 17.
Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen (Houston)
Houston’s Jewish deli temple Kenny and Ziggy’s is your Thanksgiving go-to if you like pastrami and food wrapped in pastrami. Hors d’oeuvres like pastrami-wrapped pineapple and classic Jewish sides like sweet noodle kugel, kasha varnishkas, and roasted garlic and schmaltzed potatoes are on the comprehensive Thanksgiving à la carte menu, along with 32 cakes, cheesecakes, and pies from the bakery.
The complete meal includes a sixteen-pound turkey with gravy, two pans of wild mushroom and chestnut stuffing, cranberry-pineapple nut relish, two sides, and a Mile High Apple Pie for $295. Deadline for Thanksgiving orders is November 18, with for pickup on November 24. Order form here.
Landrace (San Antonio)
Landrace is the newest restaurant by James Beard Award finalist Steve McHugh at the Thompson San Antonio–Riverwalk hotel. Here, turkey takeout will be available on Thanksgiving Day. Choose from stuffed whole-roasted turkey with gravy and Parker House rolls for $96 or a sixteen-ounce wagyu beef Wellington ($150) that comes with bordelaise. Family-style sides include grilled cajeta glazed carrots and coal-roasted sweet potatoes ($25 each).
Orders must be placed by November 11 and pickup is November 26.
Lockhart Smokehouse (Arlington, Dallas, and Plano)
Mick Jagger’s favorite barbecue joint in Dallas will offer Thanksgiving takeout for the tenth time this year. Co-owner Jill Bergus says the Central Texas–style smoked turkeys ($79.99) and hams ($75) have always been hot items, but there are also the signature black-crusted whole briskets ($260) that will feed up to twenty.
Orders for vacuum-sealed meats along with classic barbecue sides in aluminum half-pans can be picked up November 23 or 24. Deadline to order is November 20 at 5 p.m. Order link here.
Loro (Dallas location only)
At Loro’s Dallas location, Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue and Tyson Cole of Uchi have whipped up a spread that includes toasted brioche stuffing with Thai-style sausage to go along with post oak–smoked turkey breast and gravy prepared with miso and sage. Finish the meal with a yuzu-peach cobbler with five-spice mascarpone.
The package is $190, feeds four to six, and is available for pickup November 24. Online orders can be placed here.
Marie’s Kitchen (Dallas)
In a small space but big on taste deli inside a Dallas office building, Marie’s Kitchen will offer a Filipino Thanksgiving meal pack for the second time this year. Anyone who’s already tired of turkey before Turkey Day will delight in the crunchy yet moist lechon belly that comes with arroz a la valenciana, the mother of paella, and pancit bihon, thin rice vermicelli noodles with Chinese pork sausage, shrimp, and more pork belly. Biko, Filipino sweet rice cakes with coconut milk, ginger and brown sugar, is for dessert.
The package serves four to five for $100, with additional quantities available for add-on. Call 972-234-8383 to place an order before November 19 at 4 p.m. Pickup is November 25.
Petra and the Beast (Dallas)
Butcher, chef, and queen of cheffy to-go fare Misti Norris will have farm-to-takeout box Thanksgiving feasts in sizes serving two to four or four to six. The main show is miso-glazed turkey breast and wings with smoked legs and a not-your-ordinary broccoli and cheese casserole with allium crunch. Forget unremarkable white bread rolls, she’ll have smoked beef fat focaccia with green Sichuan koji butter and chocolate pecan pie for dessert.
Check the website on Thursday, November 11 for the full menu, ordering instructions, and prices.
Slow Bone Barbecue (Dallas)
After having Slow Bone takeout for my quarantine Thanksgiving last year, I’d feel ridiculous trying to cook for the holidays again when sides as delicious as the joint’s perfect brisket are on sale. Pitmaster Jeffery Hobbs says his Top 50 joint “was conceived with an emphasis on sides,” and some have gone through many iterations, which is how it earned the paragon-of-sides status it has held in my heart ever since my family first fought over the sweet potato praline.
Along with a smaller package serving four to six for $135, the Whole Barnyard package serves ten to twelve with a whole smoked turkey breast, two pounds of brisket, a rack of pork ribs, and three delectable sides with honey butter cornbread for $285. Both packages can be ordered warm and ready-to-serve, or chilled, vacuum-sealed and ready to reheat.
Underbelly Hospitality (Houston)
Hospitality industry hero Chris Shepherd is offering Thanksgiving to go at Georgia James, one of seven concepts included in Underbelly Hospitality’s group. While I’m sure three pounds of smoked turkey breast sliced with butter ($42) will be good, it’s Shepherd’s family traditions like rum sausage links and old Underbelly classics like Vinegar Pie and Chile Tater Tot Casserole that have me putting the cookbook on my Santa list and considering a getaway to Houston for the holiday this year.
Online ordering closes November 19. Sides serve four at $27 each. Whole pies are available for $32, and a day-after-Thanksgiving gumbo base ($50) would be a solid way to help get rid of that turkey.