Thanksgiving is getting closer, and with it, the stress of preparing the perfect turkey dinner. Everyone has their own favorite way to cook a turkey, and they’re often not shy about sharing it. If you’re new to the game, and searching for a solution, look no further!
Turkey, much like chicken, works well with different flavors and cooking styles. For someone just starting out, this can be both a blessing and a curse. There are a lot of different approaches you can take to cook a bird… almost too many! Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are three ways to make an unforgettable Thanksgiving turkey.
Tackling It in Smaller Pieces
If you’re not ready to take on the whole bird, try this out. Using turkey breasts may seem like an affront to the classic Thanksgiving meal, but if you’re hosting something more casual, it saves you time and opens a world of opportunities. You can buy turkey breasts at your local grocery store, then prepare and serve them. If you’re familiar with cooking chicken breasts, you should already have a recipe you can use. Looking for something a little different? Try braising your turkey first.
With braising, you brown the meat before cooking it in a broth or liquid in the oven. The advantage of this cooking method is that it keeps the meat moist. That’s right, the biggest complaint people have against a Thanksgiving turkey can be remedied by braising it. Even if you want a roasted turkey to keep the tradition alive, this is a great practice for making a backup bird.
Sticking with the Classic Roast
Sometimes, you just have to go traditional. A well-roasted turkey is pretty close to a perfect meal. With a great blend of spices and herbs, you can create a savory masterpiece. And with the right timing and heat, you can make a crispy, moist turkey.
There are many different recipes for roasting a turkey, but some are complex. If you’re new to cooking, you’ll want something that’s easy to master. In that case, we’ve reworked our roasted chicken recipe from “Leftover Cash: Winner, Winner, Double Chicken Dinner” for this festive occasion.
Roast Thanksgiving Turkey and Vegetables Recipe
For the Turkey
- 1 15lb whole turkey, thawed
- 1½ 4oz sticks of unsalted butter
- 3 cups of low-sodium chicken stock
- Kitchen twine
For the Vegetables
- 6 large carrots
- 24oz package of fingerling potatoes
- 1½ large onions
- 4 cloves of garlic, diced
- 2 cups of sliced mushrooms
For the Spices
- 2 tbsp of salt
- 1 tbsp of pepper
- 4 tsp of onion powder
- 4 tsp of garlic powder
- 4 tsp of dried rosemary
- 4 tsp of paprika
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Mince the cloves of garlic and dice the onion.
- Cut the carrots into 1-inch thick slices and the potatoes into 2-inch thick slices.
- Remove the package of giblets from inside the turkey.
- Put the minced garlic and half of the onion inside of the turkey.
- Loosen the skin on the turkey’s breast and spread eight 1-tsp dollops of butter between the skin and breast.
- Circling as much kitchen twine as you need around the turkey, tie the wings and legs down tightly to the body.
- Pour the chicken stock into a large roaster.
- Place the remaining vegetables into the roaster, then put the turkey on top of the vegetables, with the breast facing up.
- Mix the dry spices in a bowl, then evenly distribute the spices around the turkey.
- Place the roaster in the oven and roast the turkey and veggies for 3 to 3½ hours. Follow these times if you’re turkey is larger or smaller than 15 pounds.
- Melt the remaining butter and brush some over the turkey every 20 minutes.
- Once the turkey’s juices run clear and your meat thermometer reads 165°F, remove the roaster from the oven.
- Take the turkey and veggies out of the roaster and strain the remaining broth and pan juices into a saucepan.
- Heat the broth mixture over medium heat, stirring in flour until you reach your desired thickness for the gravy.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Allow the turkey to sit for 15 minutes before slicing and serving it with the vegetables and gravy.
Getting Your Fry On
Are you looking for a way to make a whole turkey, but want to avoid basting it? Have you ever thought about frying it? That’s right, deep frying fowl isn’t just for Colonel Sanders anymore! One of the key advantages of frying is how fast it cooks the bird. While roasting your turkey takes 20 minutes per pound of meat, frying it takes about 3.5 to 4 minutes per pound. Deep frying your turkey also creates a crispy skin with moist meat. In addition, it’s fairly easy. Simply season the turkey, and then dip it in the hot oil.
Keep in mind that frying a turkey presents safety issues. Make sure that you’re frying outside of the house, in case of oil spills or fire. In fact, be mindful of any fire hazards, like a wooden deck or flammable materials nearby. It’s also important to defrost the turkey entirely before starting, since frying frozen turkey is incredibly dangerous.
So, ready to give this cooking method a try? The WebstaurantStore created a great guide to frying a turkey for Thanksgiving. They’ll walk you through getting the materials and how to fry the bird safely.
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There you have it — three ways to make a delicious turkey that’ll be the talk of Thanksgivings to come!