We’re well into November and the Thanksgiving season is on everyone’s mind. Of course this means family gatherings, lots of food and turkey.
If you are you looking for a different way to cook the ol’ bird this year, we’ve got just the list for you. Here is our top 10 list of turkey cooking techniques:
1. Stuffed turkey roasted in the oven
Everyone should try this at least once in life. For your first time, buy a fairly small compact bird – 10 to 12 pounds. Even then, it can take as long as four hours to cook properly.
Coat the outside of the bird with melted butter or vegetable oil and keep aluminum foil over the top as you roast. The last half hour, take off the foil so the skin sizzles.
2. Turkey roasted in a pan in the oven without stuffing
This is one of the easier methods, because there’s none of the mess created in stuffing the turkey. You can still have stuffing, but cook it separately.
The turkey will roast more quickly than a stuffed bird, but still needs basting.
3. Stuffed turkey in a cooking bag
Gourmets may find the idea of roasting a bird in an oven-safe plastic bag to be objectionable. But the bag speeds things up, eliminates the need to baste, and collects juices for delicious gravy.
4. Turkey that is spatchcocked (or butterflied)
The backbone is removed so the critter can be flattened and cooked skin side up.
Oven roast at a slightly high temperature so the skin gets brown, crispy and crackly. A 12-pounder takes 90 minutes, probably half the conventional roasting time.
5. Grilled turkey on the barbecue
You want the barbecue heated to medium-high. Then clean up the turkey, coat with oil, season inside and out.
It takes about two to three hours in a roasting pan, but be sure to check the internal thigh temperature.
6. Turkey on a rotisserie
You need a grill or kettle with a motorized rotisserie. No basting required — the turkey bastes itself as it spins. Truss the turkey with string. Roast at medium high heat, about 350 to 400 degrees.
The bird can take two hours or more depending on size.
7. Deep-fried turkey
This is my family’s favorite Thanksgiving bird. Buy an electric deep fryer with a temperature control ($100 to $200).
You’re going to fry the bird in high smoke-point oil — peanut, canola or sunflower. For complete instructions and safety tips, check out our how-to-fry-a-turkey-guide.
This is a turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken, stuffed with dressing.
You can buy the finished bird already put together, or do it yourself, which requires lots of boning and assembly work. You can also have the butcher do the boning as well.
One recipe we saw online calls for 30 hours of your time.
9. Braised turkey
There are loads of recipes online for braising turkey. Most call for cutting up the turkey and then braising the dark meat parts in broth or sauce or whatever. You could also roast the white meat parts separately at the same time.
According to those who do this, the dark meat is more flavorful.
10. Smoked turkey
You need a genuine smoker for this — not just a barbecue. You’ll be cooking the bird at 225 to 250 degrees for about 10 hours.
Fill the turkey with spices and baste every hour or two.
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