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Thanksgiving 2012 : How to Cook a Turkey in 10 Different Ways

Typically, this time of year people young and old are focused on the three F’s: friends, food, and football. This week, however, most of us will probably only have one thing on the brain: turkey.

There are many questions to be answered regarding this beloved, seasonal classic: What size bird should I buy? How does one cook the perfect turkey? Which is the tastiest way to prepare the centerpiece of America’s favorite meal? How do we impress our friends and family with our culinary prowess? The list goes on and on.

First thing’s first: Figure out how many people you’re cooking for. Typically the rule is to prepare 1- to-1.5 pounds per person, depending on how hungry you suspect your guests will be. 

Next you must decide how you’d like to prepare your gobbler.

1. The Classic Roast Turkey: 

One of the more common bird-cooking methods, roasting can be a simple and easy way to prepare a turkey if the proper thawing and preparation practices are employed.

Cooking Time: 3.5 hours for a 16-pound turkey

Full Instructions: Here

2. The “We Mean Business” Turkey (Deep-Fried Turkey):  

An up-and-coming holiday favorite, deep-fried turkey often results in tender fall-off-the-bone meat that is succulent, juicy, and the perfect seasonal indulgence.

Cooking time: 41 minutes

Full Instructions: Here

3. The Flavor Saver (Smoked Turkey):


For those who love that smoky, straight-from-the-coal taste that is so reminiscent of fall, the smoked turkey is for you.

Cooking time: 7 hours for a 13-lb turkey

Full Instructions: Here

4. The Plane Jane (Steamed Turkey):


Looking to keep your indulgences to a minimum? The steamed turkey is the way to go. It manages to keep many of the flavors associated with the delicious bird, but without having to use any additional fats. The turkey retains more nutrients via this method as well.

Cooking time: 15 minutes if steaming turkey breasts

Full instructions: Here

5. The Grillmaster (Grilled Turkey):


When one hears the word “meat,” it is often followed by the words, “grill,” “grillmaster,” “BBQ king,” etc. This Thanksgiving may be no different. Fire up the gas grill with this easy recipe.

Cooking Time: 2.4 hours for a 12-lb turkey

Full instructions: Here

6. The Combo Crowd-Pleaser (Turducken):


The mother of all meats, the Turducken combines all our holiday favorites – turkey, duck, and chicken — into one creation. A time-consuming dish to make, Turducken is a high-risk, high-reward entrée simply because there are so many elements involved. This is a great meal for a seasoned chef to attempt.

Cooking time: 13 hours and 30 minutes

Full instructions: Here

7. The Savory One (Brined Turkey): 

To brine a turkey is to marinate it in salt for a few hours before cooking it in a style of your choice. Brining is a solid way to get more flavor bang for your Turkey buck.

Brining time: One hour for every pound.

Full instructions: Here

8. The Wet One (Marinated Turkey): 

Hate your turkey being anything but dripping wet with marinade? Soak up a number of fabulous marinade recipes this holiday season.

Marinade-making time: Varies

Full instructions: Here

9. The Spinner (Rotisserie Turkey): 

This type of bird preparation makes perfect sense for those who already own a rotisserie spinner. The spinner cooks turkey evenly and the end result is a golden hen with a crispy finish.

Cooking time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Full instructions: Here

10. Thanksgiving Roulette (Microwaved Turkey):

 

This means of cooking is for those of you who have no other option (the oven breaks, family surprises you at your apartment the morning of, etc.). Although not typically recommended as a way to cook such a large-portioned bird, microwaving a turkey is possible if it is smaller than 12 pounds.

Cooking time: 10 minutes per pound

Full instructions: Here

Whichever way you decide to cook your turkey this Thanksgiving, Mom, Dad, your special someone, and the rest of the gang are sure to feel the three S’s: surprised, satisfied, and stuffed.

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