5 Best Ways to Prepare a Turkey for the Holidays

Ranking the different methods used to prepare this seasonal dish

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5 Best Ways to Prepare a Turkey for the Holidays

The process of deep-frying a turkey, which tedious and not worthwhile.

The process of deep-frying a turkey, which tedious and not worthwhile.

Morguefile

The process of deep-frying a turkey, which tedious and not worthwhile.

Morguefile

Morguefile

The process of deep-frying a turkey, which tedious and not worthwhile.

In honor of this upcoming Thanksgiving season, I decided to rank ways to cook a turkey from worst to best. This list obviously doesn’t include every method, but these are some of the more popular ones.

5. Deep-fried

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The process of deep-frying a turkey, which tedious and not worthwhile.

More and more people have been deep frying turkeys, but I’d argue this is the worst possible way to cook a turkey. This is probably the most unhealthy way you could cook it, but that isn’t even the worst part of this method. All too often, these turkeys come out extremely dry and the taste does not compensate for the dryness. I have seen many garages go up in flames in an effort to master this method. It does have a shorter cooking time, often hours shorter, but overall, if I had the choice and time, I would definitely not make this turkey for my family.

4. Turducken

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The turducken ready to plate after the long, tedious cooking process.

If you make this on Thanksgiving and you don’t have at least twenty guests, you’re doing too much. This isn’t the worst tasting, per se, but it requires too much effort for the end product. There are much easier, simpler options to make that will taste equally as good, but without all of the hassle of stuffing a bird into a bird into a bird. This method is undeniably good, but in my opinion, there are many more feasible methods.

3. Smoked

A turkey nearly done being smoked outside on the grill.

Smoked turkey is less common, and very good when done well, but it’s just hit or miss. If you mess up the smoke on a turkey, it tastes like old tree bark. On the other hand, if you get it right, it is amazing. I think there are better meats to smoke, like a brisket, but a turkey can taste good when smoked. A good dry rub can amplify the quality of this turkey as well. The reason this turkey places so low on the list is purely because of the inconsistency of the turkey.

2. Braised

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A tender braised turkey with a very unique plating style.

Braised turkey is unconventional, but is very tasty. There are different options, so this is a “versatile” turkey with lots of flavor. You have different options with flavor, plating, and others, so you can really add lots of elements to this method. Unfortunately, the process for making this is extremely long and takes a lot of preparation beforehand, but if you have the time, this will definitely be worth the wait.

1. Classic Roast

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A beautiful, recently finished roasted turkey in its full glory.

Everyone has had a roasted turkey, which is by far the most traditional method to cook a turkey. It is simple and doesn’t require a lot of effort compared to the other methods, allowing for family time throughout the day. It is fairly hands-off compared to the other methods, but still comes out tasting very good. Unfortunately, this turkey can come out a bit dry, but, if you use a meat thermometer, you can essentially guarantee a perfect turkey. You just can’t go wrong with the taste and flavors, especially when the brine is spot on.

What is your favorite way to prepare a turkey?

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