Top Ten Ways to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey

Ha-ha, happy Thanksgiving Day. Prepare for tonight dinner now? You may be interesting in the following ideas.

Many of us are out looking for the big awkward bird that some don’t know how to handle properly: the turkey. Turkey is the quintessential Thanksgiving dish. This Top Ten will guide you in cooking those mammoth birds while making sure they are cooked to perfection. No matter what your cooking style is, you will find a technique that suits you. However, safety is an issue during this holiday. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2007, equipment used to deep fry a turkey on Thanksgiving caused about 1,300 home fires.

Roasting

The most traditional way of cooking turkey is roasting it. This is also the easiest way to cook turkey as long as you have a roasting pan and oven. Start by preheating the oven to 325 degrees, then pat your turkey dry with paper towels.

Place the turkey in the pan and lather it lightly with vegetable oil and add your seasonings. Place a meat thermometer deep in the thigh of the turkey. When the temperature reaches 180 degrees, it is done. Make sure to let the turkey sit for 15 minutes after you remove it from the oven so all the juices will not be lost.

Marinating

This technique will result in a juicy turkey with intense flavor. By adding different seasoning and letting your turkey rest in it for seven to 10 hours, you will end up with a moist, flavorful turkey. After you marinate your turkey, there are a couple of different options for cooking it. You can place it into an oven bag, roast it, grill it or smoke it. It all depends on what type of crispiness and tenderness you want for your turkey.

Brining

Brining is a technique foreign to most. It creates a juicy turkey because the technique calls for a lot of salt, which in turn makes the meat more absorbent. First you have to find a roasting pan your turkey can fit in and can fit in your refrigerator. Turkey brine calls for two cups of salt for every two gallons of water. When you make the brine, make sure the water is hot. You can also add other flavors and seasonings. The turkey has to sit in the brine for at least four hours, but no longer than a day. After the turkey has marinated in the brine, pour off the brine and wash the turkey with cool water. Let it dry, then get the remaining moisture out by patting dry with paper towels. Place the turkey in a roasting pan in the oven at 325 to 350 degrees until the turkey reaches 175 degrees.

Oven bag

The most convenient way to cook turkey is by using a turkey bag. Start off by seasoning your turkey with a dry rub or injecting with a marinade. Stuff the turkey with aromatic vegetables, and herbs like thyme and rosemary to add more flavor. Make six half-inch slits at the top, then tie the bag with a nylon tie. All you need to do is put the turkey in the bag and place in a roasting pan. Place a meat thermometer in the turkey through one of the slits on the bag. The turkey will be done once it reaches 180 degrees. Cooking time is approximately two to three hours, but varies depending on the turkey’s weight.

Smoking

Smoking a turkey doesn’t require seasonings because the smoke flavors the meat. The cooking equipment is significant to this technique. You will need a smoker. There are two different types: charcoal or water. When using a smoker, make sure to choose a good wood because that will be the primary flavor. Another suggestion to intensify the flavor is to soak the wood chips in wine prior to smoking the meat. This is one of the longer processes for cooking turkey; the suggested cooking time is 20 to 30 minutes for every pound.

Steaming

Steaming the turkey results in softer and more tender meat because of the over-moisturizing of the turkey. The common misconception of steaming turkey is people think the turkey is placed directly into the water, but it is suspended above the water. For steaming, you will need a pot of boiling water and a collapsible basket to place the turkey in.

First you will need to chop the turkey into small portions (turkey breasts are best for this cooking technique). To increase the flavor content, marinate the turkey the day before you cook it. When you are ready to steam, place the turkey in the basket and collapse the basket into the pot. When the turkey becomes opaque, you know it is done. The cooking process takes approximately 10 minutes.

Deep frying

This technique originated in the south and makes a moist and crisp turkey. To deep fry a turkey, a couple of irregular items are needed. For the frying process you will need a 40 to 60 quart pot with a basket to hold the turkey, a propane gas tank, a burner, oil and a thermometers (one for the turkey and one for the oil).

Corn, peanut or canola oils are best because they all have high smoke points. Before putting the turkey in the fryer inject it with some flavor and rub it down with your favorite spices. To fry the turkey, let the oil reach a temperature of approximately 325 degrees. Once that is hit, drop the turkey in. The time of frying ranges for the weight of the turkey. Three minutes per pound is suggested. When you think the turkey is done, it should have reached a temperature of approximately 170 to 180 degrees.

Grilling

Grilling turkey results in a crisp skin and a grilled taste. If you are into barbecue, this is the best technique for you. All you will need is a grill, some type of oil, and seasonings. Once the turkey is prepared, rub it down with olive oil or vegetable oil and your seasonings. Coat the rack of the grill with olive or vegetable oil so the turkey will not stick to the rack. Make sure to have the breasts facing up when you put the turkey on the rack. Cooking time varies for propane and charcoal grills, but it will take about two to three hours. Make sure to keep a meat thermometer on hand. Once the bird reaches 180 degrees, it is done.

Rotisserie

Rotisserie turkey is very similar to grilled turkey. The cooking techniques vary by one piece of equipment, which is a spit. The spit is a piece of equipment with a rod that goes through the turkey and makes revolutions around the grill. As the turkey spins above the flame, the heat is evenly distributed throughout the meat. This results in a very tender meat throughout the entire turkey.

Microwaving

This is a valid way to cook a turkey. If done properly you may make the best turkey you have ever tried. Most microwave units come with instructions on how to cook a bird because different settings have to be used to cook the bird fully. Preparing the bird is the same as any of the other techniques: remove giblets, clean turkey, pat dry with paper towels, lather lightly with oil, rub seasonings and stuff with aromatics or stuffing. After that is done, all you need to do is find a pan large enough to fit a turkey. Cooking varies depending on wattage. Generally, nine to 10 minutes per pound according to www.ehow.com.

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