6 Ways to Prepare Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Written by on 11/15/2016 7:44 AM . It has 3 Comments.

thanksgiving turkey

Whether this is your first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner for your family, or you’ve been doing it for years and you’re ready for something new, there’s a turkey recipe for every taste. Take a look at several popular ways to prepare your bird this Thanksgiving so that everyone ends the day with a full stomach and a long nap.

Smoked Turkey

When you smoke your bird, most of the flavor will come from the type of wood you use. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t season your turkey first. You can add dried or fresh herbs or brine your turkey before infusing it with the smoky goodness of whatever wood you select.

Grilled Turkey

Yes, really, you can grill a turkey. This is a great option if you have a small kitchen and a lot of side dishes to cook. The cook time takes longer on the grill and the chance of uneven cooking goes up. It’s important to use both a grill thermometer and a meat thermometer to make sure your turkey is cooked through.

Beer Can Stand

Using a beer can to stand your bird up isn’t just a good way to grill your turkey evenly, it’s also a great way to season your bird. Insert a partially full (which means you can take a swig or two first) 24 to 32 ounce beer can into the cavity of the turkey and stand it up on the grill, cooking over indirect heat. The meat will be infused with the steam from your beer giving it a great flavor and keeping it moist.

Turducken

Maybe this is the year you want a real challenge or maybe you’re trying to get more protein into your diet. Either way, instead of a turkey stuffed with cornbread, you can always stuff your bird with a duck and then stuff the duck with a chicken, known as turkducken. Don’t be surprised, turducken takes longer to cook, too.

Roasted

There’s nothing wrong with a good old roasted turkey on Thanksgiving. The important thing to remember is that you’ll cook your bird low and slow. Heat your oven to 325 degrees and cook the turkey for three to five hours, depending on the size of the bird. Roasted turkey is basic, easy, and universally liked.

What About a Fried Turkey?

Fried turkey is a popular method on Thanksgiving, but it’s also inherently dangerous. Fire departments across the country actually caution people from doing it at all because the risk of injury and fire is so great. The fryer can tip over, spilling oil everywhere. Even a small amount of oil touching the burner can cause a fire. And if you don’t use thermostat controls properly, the oil will continue to heat up until it combusts.

The danger to you, your family, and your home is great. The potential for liability problems if a guest in your home gets hurt is an issue, too. If you’re going to fry your turkey, make sure your bird is completely thawed. Don’t overfill the pot with oil. Watch the fryer the entire time, and make sure you use thermostat controls. And never fry a turkey inside your home - always take the fryer outside.

Thanksgiving is a time to visit with family and friends, cook big meals, and eat until you’re as stuffed as a turkey. The last thing you want to do is send anyone to the hospital or have to call 911 because of a fire. There are so many ways you can cook your Thanksgiving turkey other than frying. Try something new this year and stay safe.

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