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3 Ways to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey

5 minutes read Nov 20,2019
3 Ways to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey

While we're sad to see summer go, we can't deny our excitement for the holiday season. Even more exciting is the abundance of food coming our way with Thanksgiving. But if you're not seasoned, you may not know how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey. To assist you, we've rounded up three different ways to prepare a turkey.

Though Thanksgiving is still a couple weeks away, it's best to plan early to avoid the long supermarket lines. Plus, you may try switching things up with a unique twist on the classic Thanksgiving turkey. Gear up your kitchen and get ready for several turkey recipes that will turn your traditional bird into a modern classic!

Deep Fried Turkey

Different Ways to Cook a Turkey

1. Deep-Fried Turkey

Deep frying a turkey is a popular, yet unconventional way to cook a Thanksgiving turkey. This method creates an irresistibly juicy meat, while leaving the outside a crispy golden brown. Best of all, deep frying is simple and requires no extra ingredients!


  • One turkey, less than 15 pounds (thawed)
  • Deep fryer
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  1. Preheat oil to 400° F (200° C). The optimal temperature for deep-frying is 375°F (180°C). If the temperature is too cool, the turkey will absorb excess oil and taste greasy. Use a thermometer to ensure accuracy. The temperature of the oil will drop appropriately as the cold turkey is immersed.
  2. Using oven mitts and long-handled utensils, carefully lower the turkey into the oil. The turkey should be totally immersed in the oil to ensure even cooking.
  3. A 10-pound (4.5 kg) turkey takes approximately 35 minutes to cook. To check for doneness, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The optimal temperature is 170° F (80° C).
  4. At this point, remove your golden-brown turkey from the oil, ensuring that the oil is drained from the cavity. Place on a rack and cover with foil. Let the turkey stand for at least 20 minutes to allow the juices to set.
  5. Carve your turkey and serve immediately.

2. Turkey On A Can

Turkey can be a finicky bird to cook. Cook it for too little time and you'll end up with an undercooked mess. Cook it for too long and you'll end with a dry, stringy texture that'll ruin the holiday feast.

There's one trick that guarantees a perfectly moist and delicious Thanksgiving turkey every time. Cooking your turkey over beer creates a cloud of aromatic steam that acts as a baste, resulting in an incredible entrée. Though out of the ordinary, turkey on a can produces fantastic texture and flavor.


  • 12-24 ounces beer (in a can)
  • 2 teaspoons spicy mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ½ teaspoon ground smoked cumin
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 9- to 10-pound turkey (thawed)
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  1. Preheat a grill to medium (about 350 degrees F) on one side. Pour the beer into a turkey sitter (a ceramic stand that holds liquid). Alternatively, open the beer can, pour out a few tablespoons, and place in a beer can turkey stand.
  2. Combine the mustard powder, garlic powder, dried onion, paprika, granulated garlic, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
  3. Remove the neck, giblets, and excess fat from the turkey; discard. Rinse the turkey under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the cavity with 2 to 3 teaspoons of the spice mixture. Brush the outside of the turkey with the canola oil and place drumstick-end down on the sitter or stand. Rub the remaining spice mixture over the turkey.
  4. Place the turkey (on the sitter or stand) on the cooler side of the grill. Cover and cook until the juices run clear and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 185 degrees F and 170 degrees F in the breast, 2 to 3 hours. Carefully remove the turkey from the grill and sitter or stand and discard the beer. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let rest at least 20 minutes before carving.
Turducken Turkey Cooking

3. Turducken

A tur what? A turducken is a trio of birds: tur (turkey), duc (duck), and en (chicken)- tur|duc|ken. It's a dish consisting of a chicken stuffed inside of a duck, which is then stuffed inside of a turkey, so each bite is filled with flavors from all three birds.

While turducken may seem like a difficult idea, it's quite simple. Turducken, however, requires prep work, planning, and time. But if you're willing to make the investment, you'll craft a showstopping Thanksgiving turkey!

Borrowed from our friends at Food Network.



  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 gallon water
  • 18- to 21-pound turkey, skin intact and boned except for drumsticks
  • House seasoning
  • Cornbread dressing
  • 3- to 4-pound duck, boned
  • 3- to 4-pound chicken, boned
  • Paprika
House Seasoning:
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1 cup self-rising cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 7 slices white bread, dried in warm oven
  • Cornbread
  • 1 sleeve saltine crackers
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 7 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 5 eggs, beaten



  1. To make the brine: Mix salt and sugar with the water. Brine is ready when the mixture is completely dissolved. If the water is heated to quicken the process, make sure it's cooled to room temperature before placing meat in. Let the three birds sit in brine in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Preheat roaster to 500 degrees F.
  3. Lay turkey skin side down on a flat surface. Dust turkey with house seasoning and add 1/4-inch layer of cornbread dressing. Lay duck skin side down on top of dressing. Dust duck with house seasoning and add 1/4-inch layer of dressing. Repeat with the chicken.
  4. Begin trussing up the turkey at the neck. Insert metal skewer about 1/2-inch from the edge and up through the other side. Run butcher's twine between skin and skewer and tighten to draw both sides together. Continue down to legs. With every other skewer, draw together the duck and chicken skin. Tie together turkey legs to resemble standard turkey. Dust turkey skin with paprika.
  5. Roast turducken for 15 minutes. Then turn the roaster down to 225 degrees F to finish, approximately 3 hours. Remove turducken from roaster once the internal temperature in the chicken reaches 155 degrees F. Let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
  6. Cut across the middle of the breast completely through. Plate thin slices containing turkey, duck and chicken.
House Seasoning:
  1. Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. To make the cornbread, combine all ingredients and pour into a greased shallow baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  3. To make the dressing, crumble dried white bread slices, cornbread and crackers. Mix together and set aside. Saute chopped celery and onion in butter until transparent, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Pour over corn bread mixture. Add stock, mix well and add salt, pepper, sage, and poultry seasoning. Add beaten eggs and mix well. Follow instructions above to stuff birds.

We hope you enjoyed these three ways to cook a Thanksgiving turkey. If you plan to use one of these methods, share this post and let others know of new ways to prepare a holiday entrée!

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