What is the Best Way to Cook a Turkey? That is the question. Thanksgiving seems to bring out the cooking anxiety in all of us.
The Best Way to Cook a Turkey – Roast
Jessica: I think one of the best turkeys I have had is one that my mom and I cooked a few years ago. We decided to combine tips and tricks from our favorite cooking shows and the results were fantastic! We used Alton Brown’s brine, stuffed the cavity the way Ina Garten does, and used Martha Stewart’s method of cooking the turkey with a cheesecloth soaked in butter and wine on the top to get the skin crispy and delicious. This turkey also came with one of my favorite moments when my mom and I spilled the turkey brine ALL OVER THE KITCHEN COUNTER! Next time I will skip the brine bag and buy a bucket.
Sarah: The first turkey I made was from one of Alton Brown’s Good Eats episodes. I watched the episode at least 5 times to prep & went all out with the brine in a 5 gallon (clean) Home Depot bucket. It turned out great & I was SO proud of myself. Anytime anyone asks me about cooking a turkey, this is the recipe I give them. I’ve made it with & without the brine & honestly, I can’t tell the difference. If you follow Alton’s instructions, it’s a no-brainer.
The Best Way to Cook a Turkey – Deep Fry
Sarah: Remember that Allstate commercial where Dennis Haysbert aka Cerrano from Major League tells us that 15 people set their houses on fire trying to deep fry a turkey? Deep Frying a Turkey is serious business & definitely above my pay grade. If your heart is still set on deep-frying turkey, here’s a Popular Science article on how to stay alive during the frying process. The Food Network has this video from Jess Roy if you want to go this route.
Jessica: I have always loved fried turkey, but I never made it myself. A few years ago my girlfriends and I hosted a “Friendsgiving” the weekend before Thanksgiving and my friend Rachel fried a turkey for us in her backyard. I was a little nervous, but she knew what she was doing and that turkey was sooo goood. I was very impressed! Just be prepared to spend a lot of money on peanut oil.
Sarah: My grandmother always had a deep-fried turkey that she ordered from Popeyes. We always enjoyed it & I didn’t realize she didn’t make her own turkey until I was a teenager. Pretty observant, huh? These guys reviewed a Popeye’s turkey last year & they were Really Into it. Our southeast friends may find a deep-fried turkey at Bojangles. Looks like Dickey’s Barbecue Pit sells deep-fried turkeys & they are located in 43 states.
The Best Way to Cook a Turkey – Smoke
Sarah: Growing up, my Dad smoked our turkeys. I remember the night before Thanksgiving was a long one for him because he was constantly going outside to check on the smoker. My dad prefers smoking a turkey because he loves smoked meats. He smokes the turkey with pecan shells which give the smoke a little bit of sweetness. His smoking tips are to fill the water tray with hot water only so you don’t lose any time (or moisture) waiting for the water to heat up. His other tip is to take a nap right after you enjoy eating your turkey.
Jessica: I love smoked turkey. My grandmother used to buy one from a lady who set up a whole turkey selling business during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Alas, I do not have the time, dedication, or grill space to make a turkey this way.
Sarah: If you don’t have a smoker, you can use your grill. The Food Network has a windblown Bobby Flay using his grill as a smoker.I prefer this video from the BBQ Pit Boys that includes step by step instructions for an Apple Cider Smoked Turkey.
The Best Way to Cook a Turkey- THE VERDICT
No matter how you cook your turkey, the one constant will be getting the bird to a temp of 165 degrees and we always use a digital thermometer. Seriously, this is the best way to ensure your turkey will be delicious & safe. This is our favorite digital thermometer.
At the end of the day, the best way to cook a turkey is your way. Cooking a turkey requires time, love, commitment to your family, friends and loved ones. The important thing is to be thankful for the time spent together, and stressing over the perfect way to cook your turkey is no way to spend your holiday. Eat, Drink and Be Merry! Now it’s time to get ready for Christmas…