There’s More Than One Way To Cook A Turkey

Thanksgiving roast turkey, on a platter surrounded by apples and oranges, on a harvest table

There are as many ways to cook a turkey as there are cooks to cook them.  (How’s that for holiday alliteration!) But it never hurts to learn something new, right?

Until recently, I was devoted to my turkey cooking method.  I was a roaster, Southern-style, if you please, and didn’t see any reason to change.  And after the Great Turkey Disaster of ’99, I didn’t want to take any chances.

But there’s something to be said for stretching your wings (pun fully intended) and trying something different.  So a few years ago, after much cajoling by my DH, I let him grill a turkey.  It was the best bird I have ever tasted. Eveh!

Now he cooks the turkey, and I get to brag about my wonderful, smart and talented hubby.

So if you’re in the mood to cook outside the box this year, try one of the methods below.

5 Ways To Cook A Turkey

1. Brown Bag It. This is basically the same idea as cooking a turkey in a plastic bag, but more eco-friendly, since paper is biodegradable.  It will accommodate a much larger bird than many traditional roasting pans, so it’s a good choice if you have a large crowd to feed. Check out How To Cook A Turkey In A Paper Bag from Great Party Recipes.

2. Pre-Cook It.  Roast your bird the day before Thanksgiving and make gravy from the drippings. Then combine sliced, cooked turkey with gravy and chill.  On the big day, reheat and serve.  Get the deets at busycooks.about.com 

3. Bake it, Southern style. This is one of my favorite turkey recipe. In fact, it’s the way I used to cook my turkey.  It’s super easy and produces a juicy bird every time. Basically, you roast your bird at high heat for a short time to seal in those wonderful juices and crisp-up the skin.  Then you let it cook at a very low heat overnight. You’ll wake up to a perfect bird.  Get the recipe at CountryLiving.com

4. Grill It.  My new favorite way to cook a turkey! This is not the same as smoking, but if you think you’ll be sacrificing smoky taste, think again!  My husband, Jeff, has perfected this method.  He uses soaked applewood chips along with the indirect cooking method for a lightly smoked flavor.  He puts a few sliced apples and onions inside the bird to bump up the flavor even more. A good coating of olive oil and salt and pepper are the only other ingredients you’ll need.  It takes about the same amount of time as roasting, 3- 4 hours for an 18lb bird, but is much less mess.  Plus, it frees up the oven for other cooking.  Get another recipe for grilling turkey at allrecipes.com

5. Fry it. Yes, I said fry it!  You can use a traditional turkey fryer with peanut oil and season your bird with cajun spices to get a real New Orleans taste in your own backyard.  Be careful, though. If you’re a turkey-frying first-timer, please be mindful of the fire hazard of dropping a large, cold bird into a vat of boiling hot oil.  If, however, you want fried taste but want to skip the oil and mess that goes with it, try The Big Easy Oil-Less Infrared Turkey Fryer.  It uses Infrared cooking technology, and can cook a turkey up to 16 lbs. with ease.

So, there you have it, 5 ways to cook a turkey.  Maybe some of these ideas are even new to you.  Either way, why not try one out this Thanksgiving.  You might just find a new favorite.

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