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Feast Like a Cowboy With This 'Yellowstone'-Inspired Thanksgiving Menu Full of Dutton Approved Ranch-Style Dishes

Recipes from ‘The Unofficial Yellowstone Cookbook’ add Wild West flavor to your holiday meal.

The Thanksgiving meal has been a staple of TV shows for generations. In these special holiday-themed episodes, all the main characters gather around the dining table — usually laden with enough mouthwatering dishes to feed the entire cast and crew — and realize that the thing they're most thankful for is one another. Not on Yellowstone, though.

While the Dutton family table has set the scene for some of the show's most memorable moments and interesting conversations, in  seasons, it has not once played host to a Thanksgiving meal.

"The Duttons are not really holiday celebration-type people. They're more likely to have big get-togethers for spring branding than for any of the traditional holidays," says award-winning food photographer and recipe developer Jackie Alpers, author of The Unofficial Yellowstone Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by the Dutton Family Ranch.

In anticipation of the release of the series' final episodes — along with everyone's favorite food festivity — Alpers has put together the perfect Yellowstone-inspired Thanksgiving banquet. Comprising recipes from her new cookbook, available Oct. 24, this flavorsome feast will transport you to the rugged mountain ranges of Montana.

"This menu is a way for fans to celebrate the show rather than a re-creation of dishes that the Duttons themselves would eat at Thanksgiving," Alpers says. "While I can't speculate on what specifically they would have for their Thanksgiving meal, I expect that Gator would go all out with a very large whole smoked turkey finished on the grill, with all the traditional fixings, including mashed potatoes made with bacon grease and lots of gravy, maple-glazed carrots, perhaps a wedge salad, and a berry cobbler for dessert."

A Cowboy Spread

Alpers' Yellowstone-inspired meal includes 11 scrumptious dishes that elevate hearty turkey and mashed potatoes to fare fit for modern-day cattle barons. Courses range from a simple charcuterie plate to a duo of sweet treats that will keep family members and guests in their seats until the last crumb is consumed — something that rarely happens during Dutton family sit-downs.

Jackie Alpers

Alpers begins with the Wild West Meat and Cheese Board, an artfully arranged selection of sliced wild game, crumbly aged cheese, nuts, breads and crackers. Serve it as a pre-dinner happy hour nosh while you catch up on repeat episodes of your favorite Western drama. If past years are any indication, Paramount will be airing a Yellowstone marathon over the long holiday weekend.

When it's time to ring the chuck wagon dinner bell, bring out all the dishes and let guests dig in. "The Duttons tend to fill the table with all of the dishes all at once rather than have salad or soup served first," Alpers says.

Jackie Alpers

Alpers includes two salads — Dr. Safford's Prostate-Friendly Salad with Fruit and a classic wedge salad — that offer fresh, crisp bites to balance the chorus of starch, salt and fat.

For proteins, Alpers suggests two birds: Crispy Doves, seasoned and air-fried doves or quail served with charred lemon slices; and Cider-Braised Turkey Thighs. This delectable dish is courtesy of James Beard Award-winning Oglala Lakota Sioux chef Sean Sherman.

Jackie Alpers

Side dishes are Sweet Grilled Acorn Squash, "Trilobite" Hasselback Sweet Potatoes, and Smoky Mashed Potatoes with Sausage Gravy. And, of course, no holiday meal is complete without some warm carbs to sop up all the juices. Alpers' pillowy "Mmmm, That's How You Make Biscuits" Biscuits are buttery and flaky.

Finally, if you've made it through your main courses without anyone storming off or being stabbed in the leg with a butter knife, it's time for dessert. Scoop up a spoonful of the gooey Triple Chocolate Flourless Cake with Fudge Frosting, or enjoy a slice of Americana with the sweet, nutty Maple Pecan Pie.

Setting the Table

For a complete Yellowstone experience, don't neglect the tablescape. "Dinners tend to be formal, with serveware such as oyster forks and teaspoons set out traditionally," Alpers says. "There are water glasses as well as wine glasses."

In an interview with Set Decorators Society of America, set decorator Carla Curry notes that the Dutton dining room showcases "antiques mixed with heirlooms." Centerpieces are simple yet colorful bunches of fresh-picked wildflowers.

For dishware, the Duttons tend to alternate between two different patterns. The most easily recognizable and Western-looking is the distinctive cattle brand-and-rodeo patterned Westward Ho mugs and plates made by Tucson, Arizona-based HF Coors. The other is a classic porcelain service that was introduced in 1775.

"The china is Royal Copenhagen, which has been made for over 100 years to reinforce the feelings of generations before ...," Curry says in the SDSA article. The sumptuous blue-and-white pattern with a delicate hand-painted floral design is known as Blue Fluted Plain.

While the fate of the Dutton family remains up in the air, one thing is certain: Your Yellowstone-inspired Thanksgiving meal is destined to become a family tradition — something that John Dutton, and perhaps even Beth, Rip and Kayce, would approve of.

Recipes for all the dishes mentioned and nearly 100 more can be found in Alper's Unofficial Yellowstone Cookbook. Two sneak peek recipes — Crispy Doves and Maple Pecan Pie — are included below.

Crispy Doves

Jackie Alpers

Prep time: 15 minutes

Wait time: 8-10 hours

Cook time: 15 minutes

Yield: 1-4 servings


  • 4  doves or quail
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil or olive oil spray
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 4 lemons, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 4 small pats of butter


  1. Place the birds in a non-reactive lidded container. Spray or brush the birds with olive oil, then sprinkle them liberally all over with sugar, salt, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Heat an air fryer or outdoor grill to 375 degrees F. Remove the birds from the marinade and discard liquid. Cover the inside of a grill-safe pan or air fryer basket with a layer of sliced lemons.
  4. Lay the birds breast side down on top of the lemons, spray them with olive oil and cook for 7 minutes.
  5. Flip the birds breast side up. Give them another spray of oil, lay a small pat of butter on each side of their breasts and cook for 7 minutes longer or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the birds reads 165 degrees F. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving with charred lemon slices.

Maple Pecan Pie

Jackie Alpers

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Yield: 8 servings


  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 2 sheets of refrigerated pie crust, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. salt

Special equipment

  1. (3-to-4-inch) maple leaf cookie cutter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Toast pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet until browned, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Line a 9-inch pie pan with one sheet of crust. Pierce the bottom of the dough with a fork, then crimp the top edge.
  4. Gently whisk together the eggs, sugar, maple syrup, melted butter, vanilla and salt, then stir in the toasted pecans. Spoon filling into the pan.
  5. Unroll the other crust and cut out a maple leaf. Refrigerate the leaf for 15 minutes before placing on top of the pie.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, then cover the pie with aluminum foil and cook for 35 to 40 minutes longer or until set. Let cool for 1 hour before serving.

Tips from the trail: If you want to make your pecan pie look even fancier, finish it off with a light dusting of powdered sugar.

READ MORE: The 30 Best Thanksgiving Movies Streaming on Netflix For Your Cozy Holiday Bingeing