Alternative Ways to Cook a Turkey

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Roll up your sleeves, because it’s that time of year again — Turkey-palooza! That’s right folks, it’s time to figure out just how you are going to out-do yourself from last year and up your turkey-cooking game. Here are some twists on the old classic roasted turkey, that will make you the star chef at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Grilled

I have loved using this method in the past because not only does it give the bird a deeper, smokier flavor, it also frees up more space in the kitchen to prepare all of those side dishes. Just make sure you are prepared to grill a whole turkey by having enough propane, a person who is solely in charge of the grill who doesn’t mind being outside in the cooler temps, and plenty of stock or broth to baste the bird to ensure moistness.

Deep Fried

Having grown up in the south, I am well-seasoned on the flavors of the famous deep fried turkey. While the women would hang out in the house and cook up the delicious sides, the men would gather like the Freemasons and have their yearly rituals which included booze, fire, and peanut oil. Miraculously no one ever burned down the house. So if you want to experiment with this method it’s best to have lots of outdoor space, the proper tools to fry the bird, and a fresh turkey that is completely thawed and dried. And always make sure to have a fire extinguisher handy just as a precaution.

Smoked

Thinking of smoking a turkey for that sweet, moist flavor? Well then I highly recommend trying this method. In the past I’ve used a bourbon apple cider brine with my own homemade dry rubs and the crowd went wild. It’s a cooking method that requires a lot of love, so preparation is key. One of my best tips if you have a smoker is to practice with whole chickens or other proteins before the big day so you feel comfortable with the process. If you do not own a smoker and still want to give this method a shot, might I suggest the garbage can smoker? This is an inexpensive way to show off your MacGyver skills and be crowned king of the turkey. Here is a great site to help you set one up.

Braise

If you are not concerned with the presentation of your turkey and want to really test out your inner culinary master chef, then might I suggest braising the bird? This method is a sensational way to bring the most flavor without sacrificing moisture. Of course you will have to serve up this guy in pieces since he will be taking a bath in the stock and veggies. But then again, I’d rather enjoy the flavor of the turkey rather than that dried out bird that doesn’t even make for a good leftover turkey sandwich tomorrow afternoon.

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Kari Karch

Kari Karch is a 19-year veteran of the culinary industry, creator of Kiss the Cook, and the head chef and spokesperson for the Kenmore brand. She has made many notable appearances on ABC Morning News, on WGN, on the Cooking Channel and as a judge for the World Food Championships.

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