Thanksgiving ham was the main course. The pigs were butchered as soon as the coolness of November settled in.
Of course, the winters now are so mild that November isn’t the best month to butcher hogs.
Of course, that also assumes that people still keep pigs to fatten for their own use.
It’s now much cheaper to buy it.
Keep in mind that for centuries, the main source for red meat for most people was the hog. Hogs could be fattened on acorns or beechmast and table scraps.
In Medieval England, commoners were given the right to use the forest for their pigs in the Carta de Foresta. The practice of turning pigs out into the forest for forage is known as pannage. The rights laid down in that legal document provided a modicum of economic rights into the English common law. So the reliance of English peasants on the pig as a food animal was a major cause in developing the peculiar form of constitutionalism that would provide the basis for democracy and rule of law in the Anglo-Saxon countries.
They didn’t need to have large areas of forage to feed them, as was the case with cattle. Cattle were also necessary as draft animals and milk producers, so it was not a good practice to raise such a large animal simply to eat it.
In fact, it would not be until the development of the English longhorn in the eighteenth century that people would have a specialized breed of beef cattle.
Pigs fed us through the generations. If your ancestors were from Europe and were of the Christian faith, they most likely knew the taste of pork but never knew the taste of beef.
Of course, my grandpa told us that they used to eat ruffed grouse for Thanksgiving. Having eaten that particular bird, I can say that they taste far better than either wild or domestic turkey.
Of course, I don’t think anyone has ever bred ruffed grouse in captivity. They are often quite curious and easily-tamed birds, but their peculiar diet of buds is very hard to replicate in captivity.