5 Ways to Cook a Turkey
Thanksgiving tradition calls for a roast turkey recipe, and even with all the fun new ways to mix things up, it's hard to beat a classic. Roasting a big bird is also one of the easiest ways to feed a large crowd. We've got roast turkey recipes to try, along with the gear you'll need, ways to baste a turkey and how-to turkey cooking videos.
A true grilled turkey is cooked over direct heat to give it the charred, crisp skin beloved by grill enthusiasts. This cooking technique will also give your Thanksgiving a more laid-back feel. Break down the bird into breast halves, leg quarters and wings, since each of these parts cooks for a different length of time.
Deep-fried turkey is a bit of a misnomer. Don't expect the crisp crust of a fried chicken, since the turkey isn't battered. Do expect an extra-juicy bird whose hot-oil-seared skin locks in the moisture. And speed is on your side: It only takes about 45 minutes to deep-fry a 12-pound turkey. So in the time it takes to roast or smoke a single bird, you can deep-fry a few turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner. Frying can be enhanced by injections and rubs.
Smoking a turkey on an outdoor grill might be the least fussy method for cooking the Thanksgiving bird: Once the wood chips are smoking, throw on the turkey, shut the grill lid and rotate the bird hourly until it's done. Using a brined bird is well worth the effort in this case, since brining keeps the turkey moist during the long cooking time.
Turkey is a mild-flavored meat that easily dries out during cooking. Brining a turkey -- basically, bathing it in salt water -- seasons the bird and infuses moisture, particularly helpful with long-duration cooking, such as roasting and smoking.